Turkish playmaker Nuri Sahin looked like the transfer of the summer last season, getting swooped up for a mere €10 million following an absolutely dominant season with German champions Borussia Dortmund. The actual season though was disappointing for the midfielder who saw very limited playing time, appearing just four times in league play.
Despite his masterful passing ability, he simply cannot break into the starting eleven. He's shown glimpses of greatness in his playing time like this Xabi Alonso-esque assist to Jose Callejon, but that hasn't been enough. What does the future hold for the 23-year-old Turk?
The initial transfer of Sahin was exciting.
It very much looked like Real Madrid had gotten a steal for a genius player much like they had done the previous summer in securing Mesut Ozil. Here was another young maestro to add to an already dominant field of young players. In spite of not playing anywhere near as much as he would have liked, Sahin has expressed his commitments to the Madrid side, stating this year will be his season.
He could very well be right.
Unless you believe the rumors that he's destined to play for the likes of Tottenham and Inter Milan, Sahin should see more playing time this season, likely displacing Xabi Alonso for a least a portion of the regular season.
Alonso, despite having a marvelous Euro performance with Spain, is aging, turning 31 in November. And while Alonso's play seems to only get better as he ages, it will be in Madrid's best interest to give him rest. Fatigue was a problem for Los Blancos last season, hopefully manager Jose Mourinho will recognize that.
Troubling for Sahin right now are the rumors that are abounding involving Tottenham star Luka Modric.
The Croatian midfielder has been one of the English Premier League's best, and despite a lackluster showing for Euro 2012, he's still very coveted target for several major clubs. Madrid, as of late, have been favorites, with some sources suggesting he's already been signed. While a Modric signing might puzzle Madrid fans who are already dazzled by the number of world class midfielders sitting on the bench, for Sahin, such a transfer would be entirely heartbreaking.
Modric has playing time working in his favor, having played in 36 regular season matches last season.
The Croatian is also young, and if dubbed Xabi Alonso's successor, all hope for a career in Madrid would be lost for Nuri Sahin.
So what does the future look like for the Turkish star? At best he will make a case for him splitting starts in midfield and eventually take the reigns in Madrid's midfield. At worst, he will be lost in the immense midfield depth and see his promising career cut short.