Real Madrid: 5 Ways Jose Mourinho Can Use New Signing Nuri Sahin
Some might like him, and some might not, but there is no doubt that "The Special One" is a tactical genius.
Having brought a player of Nuri Sahin's quality to Madrid's midfield surely Mou must have a plan for him.
And while we wait to see what Mourinho has saved for him, these are some alternatives (ranked from worst case scenario to best) he might have prepared for the ex-Borussia Dortmund man in his tactical notebook.
5. Warming the Bench
This is the place Sahin will most likely land when he arrives at the Bernabeu.
If raw talent is the thing we go by, we have seen Mourinho isn't scared of having world-class players sit beside him on the bench if he has no need for them.
This season alone he was frequently joined by the likes of Kaká, Benzema, Higuaín and even Mesut Özil in some of Madrid's games.
It is up to Nuri to get out of this situation and see some playing time, but all things considered, this seems his first and most obvious landing spot.
4. Xabi Alonso's Substitute
This season, when Xabi Alonso wasn't in the starting 11, Madrid have suffered.
Even without Cristiano Ronaldo things kept going, but without a ball-playing midfielder, Los Merengues had lots of difficulty hanging on to possession.
Lass, Khedira and even Granero failed to fill the Spaniard's shoes, and Nuri will be a fitting and willing substitute if (and when) Alonso decides to go down or take a break.
3. Mesut Özil's Substitute
Özil has won his spot as the playmaker in the Santiago Bernabeu in his first season there.
However, Kaka, Granero and Sergio Canales have failed to live up to the test and haven't even been suitable replacements for the German maestro.
Sahin is more comfortable in a more central midfield role, but has some of the passing skills that make Özil such a good player.
And with Mourinho's defensive mentality of late, it wouldn't be surprising that he would like to keep more stout players at back, while moving the talented (like Sahin) to roles up front.
2. Starting Alongside Xabi Alonso
The most offensive of choices in this list, this would compromise a midfield trio of Xabi Alonso, Nuri Sahin and Mesut Özil as a playmaker all at the same time.
Given Mourinho's defensive mindset it might be far-fetched, but Nuri is more of a fighter on the ball than what he seems at first glance and "The Special One" just might have this setup prepared as a surprise for all those critics that seem to think he is only committed to defending.
1. Starting Instead of (and Replacing) Xabi Alonso
A polemic decision given Xabi's status as a star and idol at Santiago Bernabeu, there is a simple truth behind my reasoning: Nuri Sahin might be a better player and compose a more dynamic midfield with Khedira and Özil than Xabi Alonso ever will.
Alonso sometimes shies away from going forward and prefers to sit back in a deep lying playmaker stance. This makes him a little bit of a difficult player to fit into a system because he isn't great at either defending or attacking football and needs to be paired with one (or two when paired with Gerard and Mascherano at Liverpool) midfielders that complement his style.
Nuri doesn't need to be complemented, and like Khedira is more of a box-to-box midfielder that can both attack all over the field and press defensively to get the ball back.
Think of it as a midfield that might look a lot like what Germany had in the FIFA World Cup with Schweinsteiger, Khedira and Özil.
And in Sahin, Mourinho just might have found the replica of Schweinsteiger he needed for Los Merengues' midfield to work to its maximum potential.