The player himself has publicly proclaimed that his preferred choice of team was Arsenal yet, for one reason or another, a deal between the two parties could not be struck and Liverpool stole a march.
Some media voices suggested that the player was not what Arsenal needed; others believed that Arsenal were merely overpowered by Liverpool during contract negotiations whilst the remainder claimed that Wenger was reluctant to sign a player for a single year with no buy-out clause after the deal was up.
Whatever the reasons may be, Sahin is a player of imperious quality – you’re not crowned Bundesliga Player of the Year then secure a move to one of the Spanish giant clubs for nothing – but is owning a player for such a short period of time beneficial or disruptive in the grand scheme of things?
Liverpool have not been able to scale the lofty heights of Europe’s biggest competitions for some time now. Because of their disappointing decline, they have also struggled to attract the types of names that they need to recapture the glories of yesteryear. That is until this shrewd piece of business by Brendan Rodgers. Now, Liverpool can openly boast a player with experience at the highest level that will certainly boost the club’s likelihood of success a notch for the season. Sahin has ‘been there, done that’ in both the German and Spanish uppermost echelons within a matter of two years – a valuable compilation of know-how that will stand him in good stead in the Premiership and hold him in high esteem amongst his peers and colleagues.
He could, ultimately, turn out to be a valuable cog in the Rodgers machine if all works out. The plan will ideally be to use Sahin’s talents to elevate the club into a Champion’s League berth so that they will, once again, be able to attract players of his class to push on for the foreseeable future. This goes without saying – you loan a player to aid your cause – but, so near is that cause in Liverpool’s case that signings of this ilk will go a long way to realising it.
Whether Sahin affects the play on the pitch or his knowledge proves invaluable around the club, he could become a major influence on some of the younger players who were not so advantaged enough – owed largely to their youthfulness – to personally encounter the likes of Alonso, Mascherano, Hamann or even Fernando Torres. Sahin, even whilst still in his relatively formative years, is a player who can boast playing with big names and is a player with that aura of exclusive prominence; that impression that all the world’s top players give off, that the younger group can aspire to. Rodgers will be hoping that the youngsters don’t view this as arrogance whilst learning and are impacted constructively.
Conversely, there is - in an unsystematic existence – such a thing as a signing working out too well. Preferably, Liverpool will want Sahin to just add a little more to what is already there; maybe a little more guile or creativity rather than taking every positive game by the scruff of the neck and making it the ‘Sahin Show’ as Gerrard used to do for the team in the past. If he does turn out to be too integral to the Merseysiders’ plans, then his departure could be extremely unsettling, potentially nullifying any effective system the team had in place whist he was available.
This is not just a fear if he returns to Madrid – it’s also a fear that could be recognised if he incurs a lengthy injury. Remember that Sahin was sidelined for the first three months of his career at Madrid which has effectively put him in the unfavourable position he finds himself in today. Liverpool will be praying that he isn’t just another expensive liability and that he is capable of playing the entirety of the games he is required for.
Liverpool cared little about the costly stipulations of Sahin’s acquisition and it’s definite that they have already planned for how he will be utilised and how they will cope once he is gone. At the end of the day, with players of Sahin’s eminence, one year is better than nothing whilst Rodgers has already proven – with the attainment of Allen – that when he does push the boat out, it’s because he sees something special in front of him. And hey, you never know – Sahin just may endear himself so much to the club that he decides that his future lies at Anfield, and not the Bernabeu. Stranger things have happened.
image: © peterfuchs