PONFERRADA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 13: Nuri Sahin of Real Madrid gestures during the round of last 16 Copa del Rey first leg match between Ponferradina and Real Madrid at Estadio El Toralin on December 13, 2011 in Ponferrada, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
The rumours around Arsenal's apparent raid on La Liga are intensifying. We've covered the Santi Cazorla rumours on the site already -- the Malaga wingerwould be a great signing for Arsenal but not really a player Chelsea should be getting involved with thanks to both his age and our overload of attacking talent. I'd rather the Gunners not get him, of course, but there's not a whole lot we can do about it if Malaga are indeed going to sell. But the rumoured loan of Nuri Sahin? That's an entirely different story.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Nuri Sahin story, he's a 23-year-old midfielder who led Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga crown in the 2010/11 season before being sold to Real Madrid that summer. A combination of injuries and... odd team selection from Jose Mourinho meant that his appearances in La Liga were far more limited than they should have been based on his obvious talent.
I don't think I've played up his talent enough, so here goes:
He was the best player in the Bundesliga as a 22-year-old. If Josh McEachran ever has a season like that, we'd be screaming for him to be knighted (or possibly canonised). Sahin is really, really, really good at football.
And unlike Cazorla, he's a player Chelsea should be seriously looking at acquiring, if indeed Madrid are open to moving him on. Although the club has reinforced heavily this summer, bringing in Oscar, Eden Hazard and Marko Marin, there's still an obvious hole in the centre of midfield. The Blues had trouble with midfield control last season, and although Oscar may eventually transition into deep midfield, expecting a 20-year-old to switch from the hole to the pivot while adjusting to life in the Premier League is silly.
With Frank Lampard presumably unavailable to play in every match, Ramires ' and Raul Merieles' quality as deep-lying players rather dubious, if Chelsea fail to reinforce the centre they're essentially relying on the continued development of Oriol Romeu as well as the return to form of Michael Essien next season. Obviously, Roberto di Matteo and company can gauge that far better than the fans, but until we see some real evidence that either is ready to make significant contributions to the team next year... well, there's reason to be worried.
So, back to Sahin. The rumour is that Madrid want to send him out on loan for a year, and that Arsenal will be the takers. There's some chat that Sahin is slightly frustrated that there's no purchase option at the end of the loan spell, as well. So... why can't Chelsea match that offer?
Taking Sahin on loan helps the team this year, giving us a world-class midfield control player without spending real money. If he's great and Chelsea are forced to buy him, he end up blocking Josh McEachran and company, which is only a problem if you're more interested in the prospects getting into the first team than the team being really super good. The acquisition of Oscar doesn't make a Sahin loan any less sensible or the need for a deeper-lying player any less severe, and I can't think of many reasons we wouldn't be able to hijack this one if we tried.
So why not try?