Do the Gunners really need Nuri Şahin?

With Arsène Wenger’s revelation earlier this week that the Arsenal expects to sign two more players, the anticipated Nuri Şahin loan-deal from Real Madrid has since veered wildly from various media sources claiming that he had finally inked the deal with the Gunners to another twist by finally signing for Liverpool. Well, it looks like Liverpool has stolen a march over the Gunners for this young Turkey player’s signature, but I wouldn’t be fazed by it despite my hope that Wenger would make good his statement of intent of reinforcing the squad.

I question the need for this acquisition not because I have doubts of the quality of the player nor his footballing skills, but more of whether this deal represents a sound investment by the club.

To begin with, “the Only One” Jose Mourinho had somewhat derisively threw the midfielder’s future up in the air by claiming that it doesn’t matter which club his player eventually ends up with for the season. It was understood that Wenger had wanted a permanent deal rather than a loan arrangement, which predictably irked his Real Madrid archnemesis and probably astounded the player as well. Perhaps Wenger is used to getting his own way as far as other matters are in concern, but Mourinho had wanted his young ward to get some invaluable Premier League experience, indicating that “the Only One” did foresee some future for this player with the Spanish giants. There are other reasons to consider as well –

1. Mercenary: If “the Only One” is reluctant to sell, then the player is also not likely to leave. I do see the merit of bringing in a player on a one-year loan like in the case of Yossi Benayoun who contributed quite a fair bit in helping the Arsenal finish third and agree that testing a player out first before committing for a purchase is the better way to go. At least, like the Julio Baptista loan, if things don’t quite work out, the club is free to dissociate themselves from any further dealings with the player.

That being said, the reason as to why Şahin was eager to join any interested club on loan is to work on his development and is clearly not happy to sit on the bench for Real. Arsenal might be a good choice for him, but I’d not be happy to see a reluctant player sign for the club for a purely self-serving motive, even if only on loan. It’s not like the Gunners are desperately short of midfielders even after the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona. I mean, (let’s speculate well into the future) if his presence really benefitted the Arsenal team come the end of the season 2012/2013 and had grown too reliant on him as being part of the way they play, the club would have to seek for another replacement either way. So, the club might as well start tying down a long-term player for this season rather than the perpetual annual transfer fuss. That’s probably the reason why Arsène is so keen to tie the Turk down on a permanent move rather than to engage in another season of scouting and drawn-out negotiations. Still – no dice there, M. Wenger.

2. Saturated midfield: As explained above, Şahin and his current employers are eager for him to sign for any club where he would be guaranteed reasonable playing time. But with a midfield packed with the likes of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby, Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong, Aaron Ramsey (why is he still here anyway?) vying for two of the centre midfield positions, this is quite a big ask. Sure, no one could guarantee that Diaby would last an entire season uninjured and whether Jack would also make his long-awaited comeback but Şahin surely just can’t walk straight into the club and push the existing names off the roster even if the club might need to urgently replace Alex Song. I’m not betting on either Coquelin or Frimpong to impress this season but as it is, a Şahin deal is not going to go down well with these two fledglings.

3. Other options to consider?: It is clear that Nuri Şahin is a talented player judging by the interest emanating from the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool and how these two clubs had been earnestly vying for his signature for the past two weeks or so. However, there’s still time (about one week or so) for Wenger to go shopping as I don’t think that the Turkey midfielder is the only player that the manager was eager to sign. However, the long-winded episode starring Stade Rennais midfielder Yann M’Vila has spiraled into a hopelessly boring and tiresome affair and I really hope that the manager had lined up other potential reinforcements instead. I mean if the Gunners are truly committed to signing the French international, they would have tabled a more serious bid after Alex Song has left the club but all the noises seemed to have come from the French club instead. Ki Sung-Yueng of Celtic might also be also out of reach at time of writing, so whatever the manager decides to do, he needs to do it quickly and decisively.

The latest fable involving Spanish winger, Jesus Navas should be taken with a pinch of salt, though. I doubt that we really need a winger at this time, especially with Gervinho doing a rather good job last weekend but I think that it’s more of a story spun out of Theo Walcott’s contract situation to entertain the masses. I love it, however, when Spanish players (mostly from Valencia CF however) seemed to react with customary ‘calm’ness over some exciting transfer stories involving themselves. For your ease of reference, here are the other gems of calmness exuded by rotten Man Ure David De Gea, David Silva (now Man City), David Villa (now Barcelona) and more recently, Jordi Alba (also at Barcelona now). Well, deep inside, these players could be trying their level best to bottle up their emotions or it could be a way that their respective agents have instructed their clients to behave in front of the media when angling for a move to a bigger club. It’s like an indirect manner of screaming out ‘Of course I’m interested’ – duh!                             


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