There’s quite a bit more to this Nuri Sahin deal than we all imagine and certainly more than we know.
For example, if we take Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho at their word, we know that Real Madrid are willing to let Sahin go and Arsenal are in a small line of suitors for the player, but Jose is stalling. Now, why Mourinho is stalling is the topic of much debate.
Earlier in the week, Mourinho named names and made a public statement that he doesn’t care if Sahin goes to Arsenal. It was a bit of footballing diplomacy designed to quell the very strong rumors that Jose hates Arsene and won’t let the player go to Arsenal. This rumor is always married with the second rumor that Arsenal are the preferred destination of the young Turk, owing to the fact that Spurs and Liverpool (his other two suitors) are not in the Champions League.
I want him to play, for him to go somewhere to play. The Premier League could teach him new aspects of his game but I don’t mind where he goes. It’s not at all true that there’s any one club to which I would prefer that he went. It doesn’t matter to me, I just hope that it’s sorted for him soon. It’s absolutely fine with me whether he goes to Arsenal, Liverpool or Tottenham.
What everyone assumes is that the deal is hung up on some personal animosity between Wenger and Mourinho, after all, Mourinho did brand Wenger a “voyeur” in 2005 for “always talking about Chelsea”. I’m sure there is a personal element to this deal and I’m sure that Mourinho, being as competitive as he is, doesn’t like the idea of Wenger taking Sahin and making him into better player — something Mourinho has obviously failed to do.
Sid Lowe, who covers Spanish football for the Guardian and whom I consider a trusted source, is convinced that the deal is being hung up entirely by Mourninho who doesn’t want the player to leave permanently and who doesn’t want him going to another Champion’s League team. So, as personal as it seems, the hold-up in the deal between Wenger and Mourinho could just as easily be philosophical. And what could be more philosophically opposite than defense first Mourinho and offense first Wenger?
And there’s one more thing about the reports of this Sahin deal that makes me wonder: according to the press, Sahin makes £100-120k per week, Arsenal are paying a loan fee of several million and Sahin’s buyout clause (if there is one!) is in the region of £12m. We have also been told that Alex Song was making a “mere” £55k a week and demanded an upgrade on his salary no less than six times before he started throwing a temper tantrum on the training ground. And finally, we were told that Barcelona paid £15m for Song’s services.
Now, if we accept these figures as truth I have to wonder how desperate Arsenal were to get rid of Song. In Alex Song Arsenal had a player who was Premier League tested, who had a well developed understanding of the Arsenal system and his teammates, who was the team’s leading playmaker, and who had three years left on his contract. Just in salary alone, Arsenal are willing to pay Nuri Sahin 120% more than they were Alex Song. And if the idea is to sign him up long term, the club are looking set to outlay more money than they recouped on the Song sale to bring in an untested player who will take time to bed in.
How much did they want to be rid of Song? So much so that they are willing to pay a premium to bring in an unknown quantity in Nuri Sahin.
Or maybe they aren’t and this whole thing is just a dream in the mind of some journos, and me. Either way, I will be frantically pressing F5 all day today hoping for news that Arsenal have signed Sahin, Niang, and The Unknown Striker from some tiny league somewhere who will score 20 goals a season. Should be a very productive day.
If you’re in the same predicament, take time out of your F5ing and have a listen to me, Chris Toronyi, and Matt Law talk about Arsenal’s transfers, Sunderland, Stoke and so much more, all for free over on the Arsenal America Podcast. Where else are you going to get a detailed analysis of Stoke’s offense?