by Dave Usher
Germanborn Turkish international midfielder Nuri Sahin arrived at Anfield on what was supposed to be a 12 month loan deal from Real Madrid in the summer of 2012. The Reds had beaten Arsenal to the player's signature and it was seen as something of a coup.
Sahin had made his name as a youngster at Borussia Dortmund, helping them to their first Bundesliga title in nine years in 2011 when he was also named the league's best player. Real Madrid swooped to sign him up on a six year contract, but his first year in Spain was a struggle due to a combination of injuries and being unable to dislodge the likes of Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira from Jose Mourinho's midfield.
The arrival of Luca Modric from Spurs pushed Sahin even further down the food chain at the Bernabeu and Madrid were keen to loan him out to help him regain form and fitness. Arsenal thought they had a deal tied up for him but at the last minute he opted for Anfield.
His first appearance ironically came against the Gunners, but it wasn't a good experience for him as he struggled with the pace of the game and Arsenal ran out comfortable winners. He'd been thrown in at the deep end and was clearly not ready for that kind of intense game, but he started showing glimpses of what he could do with three goals in the space of four days in late September.
He scored twice in a League Cup win at the Hawthorns and added another in a 5-2 rout of Norwich at Carrow Road. He'd shown a knack of arriving late in the box, which was a trait that had been lacking in our midfield for some time.
It was looking good for Nuri at this stage, but that was as good as it got for him as he was never able to nail down a regular place and often found games passing him by when he started. He complained of not being used in his correct position, which is as a deep plying playmaker. There is some merit to that, but from Rodgers' point of view how could he select him in that role when our midfield became weak and easy to slice through when he was deployed there?
Sahin's pedigree and quality was never in question, but his suitability to the English game and to Rodgers' system certain were. His lastappearance for the club came in a Europa League clash in Udinese, when he was forced off with a broken nose after just 12 minutes.
That sidelined him for a couple of weeks and he was never able to re-establish himself in the side and when the transfer window opened inJanuary, his loan was cut short by mutual consent and Madrid sent him back to Dortmund on an 18 month loan where he would see more playing time than had he remained at Anfield.