It wasn't supposed to be like this for Nuri Sahin.
The Turkish midfielder starred for three years at German side Borussia Dortmund, finishing with 17 goals and 36 assists. In the 2010-11 season, his best of the three, he led his club to the Bundesliga title and earned league Player of the Year honors from Kicker magazine (h/t Goal.com).
But since that annus mirabilis, Sahin's career has spiraled at an alarming rate.
He signed with Real Madrid in May of 2011, but made only 10 appearances before his subsequent loan to Liverpool 15 months later. He did have one moment in the sun for the Reds, scoring both goals in a 2-1 Capital One Cup win over West Brom, but other than that, zilch.
And now the Sahin saga appears to have reached its inevitable end. The Daily Mirror reports that Liverpool wants to cut short his loan and send him back to Madrid. Per the article:
Sahin did not even make the squad for Sunday's FA Cup tie at Mansfield and has struggled to adapt to the pace and physical nature of English football.
Liverpool need Sahin and Real's agreement to cancel his loan and both are likely to acquiesce because the player and the Spanish club need him to play regularly.
The benefits of parting ways with Sahin are two-fold. On the one hand, it will save the club money. They've been liberal spenders this month, and with the rumor mill continuing to spin, its possible they aren't done. Why keep Sahin—and his weekly £70,000 salary—on the wage bill if he's not seeing the pitch?
More importantly than fiscal reasons, however, would be the discharge of a bitter personality from their clubhouse.
Sahin took to complaining about the Liverpool system in December, claiming that he wasn't being utilized properly by manager Brendan Rodgers. The Mail quoted him as saying:
I’ve played my whole career deeper—that’s my position. But I have played as a No 10 here. It was new for me but I tried my best. If I could choose a position it would be holding, as I feel more comfortable playing deeper and can give my all.
Those qualms may or may not be well-founded—it's hard to say. Maybe he would be better playing a different position, playing under a different manager than Rodgers. All the more reason for him to leave Anfield.
Regardless of the veracity of those complaints, however, statements like those are best kept in-house—as far away from The Mail, The Mirror, and Bleacher Report as humanly possible.
In time, Nuri Sahin might be able to recapture the magic he possessed at Dortmund. But in the here and now, he's sucking the life from Liverpool's clubhouse, as well as their wallet.
If he and Real agree to him leaving, what good reason is there to keep him?