Forget Real Madrid and Liverpool, Nuri Şahin is heading home for good

Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that they have activated a clause in Nuri Şahin’s loan contract to make his move from Real Madrid permanent.

This has not come as a major surprise, as the gifted Turkish midfielder has shown his best form during his time at Dortmund and struggled to settle in other environments.

The gifted playmaker joined the Signal Iduna Park youth system as a teenager in 2001 and became the youngest player to feature in a Bundesliga fixture upon his progression to the club’s first team as a 16-year-old in 2005.

A loan spell where he flourished at Feyenoord aided his development, before Şahin returned to his boyhood club as the poster child for a generation of exciting young players promising to revitalise the (then) sleeping giant.

Under Jürgen Klopp, Dortmund have been reinstated as one of Germany’s top clubs and Şahin played a significant role in the side’s early development.

A starring role in the 2009-10 campaign with Dortmund finishing fifth saw the Turk score four goals and provide eight assists. In 2010-11, Şahin was the driving force behind a memorable title win for the club and was duly named Bundesliga player of the season after his seven goals and eight assists.

Şahin was plucked from an up-and-coming Dortmund outfit as the brightest of a glut of stars, with Real Madrid snatching the midfielder away and promising to make him a world-class player.

However, it never got close to materialising for Şahin in Spain with injuries and fierce competition for places meaning he only played four La Liga games for the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu side over the space of 12 months.

Nuri ŞahinA loan switch to Liverpool was touted as ideal for all parties in August 2012, but Şahin failed to establish himself at Anfield. Fleeting glimpses of his ability were on show, but the player failed to win over Brendan Rodgers and left after only six months and seven Premier League games.

Once touted as one of the most promising midfielders in Europe, successive failures at two of the continent’s most historic clubs threatened to derail Şahin’s career.

However, a tremendously sensible decision followed, with a return to Dortmund on an 18-month loan in January 2013 agreed upon. At that point it seemed like an inevitability that the Turk would return to North Rhine-Westphalia for good.

Although failing to hit the heights that he managed in his first stint at the German club, Şahin has been consistent and a player that Klopp can trust.

Where Şahin was the major star for a young Dortmund side a couple of seasons ago, he is now in the company of top-drawer players and established internationals all over the pitch.

This season he has been an important man for Dortmund, especially given that İlkay Gündoğan – Şahin’s replacement after leaving to join Real Madrid – has been injured for the majority of the season.

The roles have hence been reversed, with the Turk essentially covering for the man who was bought to fill the gap he left.

Just why it didn’t work elsewhere is something of a mystery given Şahin’s ability, but given more time he surely would have been able to turn the tide on foreign soil.

Klopp’s management and the air of familiarity will certainly be key factors in Şahin’s continued role as a prominent member of Dortmund’s squad.

Whether Şahin regrets leaving Dortmund in the first instance only he will know, but there is every likelihood that this Signal Iduna Park youth prodigy will now spend the rest of his playing career with his boyhood club.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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