Was Nuri Sahin the biggest Premier League flop of 2012/13?

Liverpool loan signing Nuri Sahin may have ended the season as a Champions League finalist, but his spell in England was distinctively underwhelming.

As this summer's transfer sagas enter full swing, it gives us a chance to reflect on a name at the centre of one of last year's most drawn out switches.

Nuri Sahin is this summer one third of a way into an 18-month loan at Borussia Dortmund, whereas last year he had his sights set firmly on the Premier League.

After one disappointing season at Real Madrid, he was made available for loan by manager Jose Mourinho, sparking a transfer tug-of-war between Arsenal and Liverpool.

Many fancied that the Champions League football Arsenal would be able to offer would be preferable to the player, but whether it be enhanced first team opportunities at Liverpool, or the Gunners' reluctance to get involved with the complexities of Real's demands, Sahin ended up at Anfield.

Somewhat inevitably his first match for Liverpool was against Arsenal, and it was a 2-0 away win for the Gunners, with Sahin overpowered by Abou Diaby in midfield.

As it was his first game for months, thrown straight into the deep end at a new club in a new league, not much was read into his lacklustre display, but a failure to blossom at Liverpool certainly was a big disappointment.

He would only play seven Premier League games in total, scoring in one of those in a 5-2 rout of Norwich City in his second performance, creating another, and showing real promise which only heightened the anticipation he would go onto become a force to be reckoned with.

Another impact performance to score a brace in a Capital One Cup win over West Brom confirmed everything was on track, but then he appeared to go backwards.

Not once did he play 90 minutes in the Premier League, with Brendan Rodgers seemingly having concerns over both his fitness and how best to use him.

By the time mid-November rolled around, he had played what would be his final Premier League game, used there-on-in, during Europa League matches with 'B' players such as Joe Cole or a number of youngsters.

So when the transfer window re-opened, Liverpool quickly managed to 'get out' of the deal, cancelling his loan contract with them which Borussia Dortmund gladly took on and later extended.

For Sahin it was a fantastic decision. He started to show glimpses of the form which took him to Madrid at his old club, and played a part in their Champions League journey and progression past Real to the final against Bayern Munich.

He would later blame his Liverpool woes on the manager, uttering the unforgettable words: "Thank God I have left Brendan Rodgers.

"I did not fail at Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers wanted me to play as a number 10. But I do not play behind the strikers.

"I talked to him and asked him why he was playing me there. It is not my real position. The coach could not answer me."

But while Sahin may try to save face by saying he did not fail at Liverpool, very simply put he did not live up to the expectation and hype surrounding him.

The way he performed subsequently at Dortmund shines more of a spotlight on Sahin's poor spell at Anfield, and for that both Liverpool management and the player should share the blame.

While it has been suggested elsewhere that the entire QPR squad, Adam Johnson, Marko Marin or Scott Sinclair were the biggest flops of the 2012/13 season, Sahin's quickly forgotten spell, combined with the hype around his arrival, should see him well in the mix for the unwanted unofficial 'honour'.


image: © peterfuchs

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