Liverpool have today confirmed the loan signing of Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid for the 2012/13 season. Whilst his last campaign was blighted by injury (he only appeared four times in La Liga), in 2010/11 he was the Bundesliga player of the year as his Borussia Dortmund side won the title.
WhoScored posted some of his stats from that season earlier this week, and they compare very favourably with those of his new teammates at Anfield.
For starters, and perhaps most importantly, Sahin played 104 key passes in 2010/11, more than any other player in the German top flight. In England last season, Luis Suárez was the Reds’ most creative player, though he only managed 61 key passes, and even the league’s top performer in this regard, Luka Modric, ‘only’ managed 92.
56 of Sahin’s key passes that season came from set pieces (again, the highest figure in the Bundesliga); by comparison, the whole Liverpool squad only created 65 such chances last season, and that was from the side that crossed a higher percentage of their set plays than any other in the Premier League.
While that tactic may not be so prominent now that Damien Comolli and Kenny Dalglish have both left Anfield, it’s good to know that the latest arrival at Anfield has substantial ability if called upon. The Turkish international also scored a couple of direct free kicks for good measure too.
As part of his set-piece figures, Sahin fired 40 accurate corners into the box; by comparison, Charlie Adam was Liverpool’s top performer last season with 26 (despite a reputation for delivering ‘£10m corners’), and no player at any of the big six sides in England matched 40 either.
In terms of passing, Sahin attempted 1,385 in the attacking half of the pitch during the season before last, as well as 22 through-balls, both of which were the second most in the Bundesliga that term. Although those figures may not out-do everyone in the Premier League last season (though he’d still impressively rank 14th for through-balls, and 9th for attacking half passes), they’re still better than every player for Liverpool managed last season, aside from Suárez who beat him on through-balls, and only by two at that.
Whilst there is sadly no option for Liverpool to purchase Sahin at the end of his loan period, and the deal is still something of a gamble seeing as he hasn’t played much in the last year, his impressive stats from his last injury-free campaign certainly suggest that the Reds have got quite a player on their hands. Welcome to Liverpool, Nuri.