Signed last summer for a fee believed to be in the region of €10 million, Nuri Sahin was touted as the break-out star of 2011/12. He was coming off the back of a fantastic season with Borussia Dortmund in which he was voted the best player in the Bundesliga, and in joining Real Madrid, many believed he could be the catalyst for a renewed era of Real success, but just one year into his six-year contract with the capital club the Turkish midfielder has been told he is free to leave the newly crowned La Liga champions. The news barely came as a surprise, Sahin only featured in 10 matches for Los Blancos last season and with Jose Mourinho stating his desire to "complete" his squad by signing an extra midfielder (widely believed to be Luka Modric), it’s clear that first team opportunities are going to be hard to come by, this season at least.
A number of clubs are interested: Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal; even Chelsea have been linked with the talented playmaker, although at current it appears as though the Gunners are leading the race for his signature. Whether he signs permanently, or merely on a season-long loan doesn’t particularly matter, especially as in Arsenal’s case, the move depends on a number of factors. One of those factors is Alex Song, with Wenger reportedly waiting to see if Song leaves the club before making a move for Sahin. Considering Barcelona are the only team "interested", wouldn’t it make far more sense to abandon this "pursuit" of Song and instead turn our attention to Nuri Sahin?
For a start, how often is it that a player of Sahin’s calibre becomes available on the market for such a low price? Assuming Real are willing to do business as long as they get their initial outlay back, Sahin is a steal at €10 million, and it makes him over €5 million cheaper than Alex Song, not to mention over €20 million cheaper than Javi Martinez. Admittedly, Martinez is the more versatile player; capable of playing at centre-half as well as defensive midfield, but the €20m saving would comfortably pay for a top-level centre-half.
Barcelona’s search for a replacement for Seydou Keita has got them nowhere, and if it does, it appears as though Alex Song is the only candidate. At €15 million (or above), it would mean that Barcelona are paying more for a replacement for a bench player than they did for their new left-back, who is expected to fill that position for the next 6-10 years. Not only that, but it would make Song at least three times more expensive than Gerard Piqué, and if he truly is Keita’s replacement, it means that Barcelona have spent €15 million on someone who will effectively warm the bench.
With that in mind, should Barcelona be searching for Keita’s replacement if it excludes the very players who fit their philosophy best?