Introducing Morata’s Golazo And Nuri Sahin:By: Bassam | May 4th, 2011
For those who don’t know, Real Madrid Castilla took a huge step last week in their promotion battle by winning 1-3 away from home. Another thing you might or might not know is that we had our very first loveblog for a Castilla game. There was a good turnout, and it was nice to watch a you can say “they are just kids” if someone makes a mistake. What was interesting though, Castilla rarely put a foot wrong aside from all the missed chances. Sarabia in that game was my MOTM. A beautiful Guti-esque assist left me out of my seat applauding our 19 year old talent. Hopefully in a seasons time he will be able to make the jump, as he sure seems like a great talent. Not to start a Canales vs Sarabia debate, but minus the La Liga experience, which counts for a lot i should say, Sarabia and Canales seem to have very similar abilities. Sarabia, for me, edges out Canales for more tactical diversity (can play anywhere upfront). But again, all we have seen Sarabia perform is the CL game, so lets hope he gets the chance sometime to show us his talents in La Liga. Despite Sarabia being the highlight of that game, the big talking point was Morata’s goal. Morata was not a starter for the game as he was sporting a little injury and Joselu has been in great form.
The goal above speaks a lot to me. Not because its a goal from the third division and the last defender was poor, but because it shows aspects of Morata’s game that i think we should look at. As you can see, Morata receives the ball high up the pitch. Rather than control the ball and turn around, which would take time, he manages to flick it around the defender that is behind him and go on the break through. What is nice about this is a couple of things. First off, its nice to see a kid of his age has the awareness of where the defender is on the pitch to pull such a move. This kind of awareness is something that he gained this season from his training with the first team, because it shows a sign of maturity. The second thing i want to note is the speed in which he was able to turn and reach the opposition penalty area. For a big guy (he is 1.91 meters tall), his agility and pace are a great asset. The speed with which he was able to dribble the ball up to the penalty area was great. The reason why i say till the penalty area is because the defender obviously falls a fool to Morata’s fake, something that a La Liga defender probably wouldnt do. None the less, the moments up till that moment were notable to see more than one asset of this player that can be useful to the team. For what its worth, i thought every part of the goal was perfect.
Moving on from our two gems, we go into rumors and facts. And here, the rumors are both speculations and facts. One that i will enjoy reporting and one that i don’t hate, but rather don’t understand. On the latest Revista de la Liga episode, which was recorded today, Guillem Balague confirmed that Real Madrid has signed two players: Nuri Sahin and Callejon. Lets start with the news that i thought was good, and thats the possible signing of Nuri Sahin.
I first got to know Brussia Dortmund in 2004, when i used to play Football Manager (back then, it was Championship Manager). They had players with good stats and were cheap. Rosicky, Metzelder (back when people thought he was good), Ewerthon, Jan Koller and Odonkor. Naturally, since Dubai Sport was generous enough to play their games, i watched them. I will say one thing, the fans for this club are amazing! Since then, i have followed them intermittently, with the last two seasons being the ones were i have watched the most games for them. Nuri Sahin was a 16 year old back in 2004, and since then, he has been my first buy with any club in the football manager series. But of course, thats all games. The question remains, is he actually any good? The answer is simple. YES! I will list the good things and bad things that this signing will/might bring to squad
1) Finally we will have a compatible partner to Alonso who can serve as an outlet.Nuri Sahin’s passing is second to non in the Bundes Liga, and yes that includes Schweinsteiger. He has a great vision to spot the pass both the short one and the long one. He is good at holding the ball up and solid in defense. His vision to spot the man making the run is great and with him and Alonso playing right next to each other, we will no longer be the team solely dependent on Alonso to start an attack. While both Khedira and Lass have been doing great as of late, it has long been suggested throughout the season that the partner for Alonso is the problem. Not a dig at Khedira or Lass, but where they excel defending, they have both been too simple in attack (Khedira) or too ambitious beyond his ability (Lass). Sahin is both fast, a good dictator of tempo and equally competent in both attack and defense.
2) Used to the system. Borussia Dortmund play a system that is very similar to ours. A traditional 4-2-3-1, with Sahin and Bender sitting behind the 3 in that formation. This is similar to the Alonso-Khedira partnership that sits behind the 3 in our set up (Ronaldo, Ozil and Di Maria). This will make the transition that Sahin makes to our club much easier and will make it easy for him to fit into our set up. It should also be noted that Bender plays a very deep lying midfielder role, one that is similar to the one Alonso plays. This should make the partnership easier.
3) When employing a Trivote/double pivot, we are now more creative. Again, this is not a dig at either Lass or Khedira. I honestly thought that Khedira has been great this season in defending and doing the simple thing. But as we have all discussed, he has not shown us that he can serve as an outlet for Alonso. Sahin is a very creative player, and hence will limit this problem.
4) The deal is similar to the one done for Ozil, but cheaper. It is rumored that the deal will be for 10 million, which is dead cheap for a talent as much good as his. He is nearing the end of his contract and has a buyout clause in his contract for that much. Yay us and good business. No more 65 million deals.
5) A signing that Mou actually wants. Many would argue that he was the one who bought Khedira, but i would argue that it is Lass that he doesn’t want. And the reason i mention Lass not Granero is because Granero is more willing to sit on the bench than Lass, something that Mou approves off. Not only that, but it seems that Granero has been turning into Mou’s 2nd hand man between the players. He helps out with tactics and training drills and even psychological advise (Granero has a coaching degree and is studying psychology at the college level). But it seems that Mou is not fully satisfied with Lass or Khedira and feels that Sahin would be an improvement.
6) Young and experienced future replacement for Alonso. Not to mention, a perfect partner for Alex in the future. Sahin can play both a central midfielder and a deep lying midfielder role perfectly well. He is 22 years old and has over 150 games for Borussia Dortmund in the league and around 186 total appearances. He also has 26 appearances on the international level with Turkey.
7) Dead ball specialist. If there is a player that will challenge Ronaldo for freekicks, then its this guy. Great freekick taker and slots in really good corners and crosses.
Sahin vs Bayern
Bad Things about the move:
1) Believe it or not, Gago being sold is hard news for me. Hate him or love him, he is currently one of the longest serving members of this Madrid squad. He had one good and one great season with us. He then declined as the years went by. He has been injury prone for a while now and its better to ship him out while the people of the world still see him as a good player. It’s sad to say, although i thought his progress as a player declined recently, but the Nuri Sahin signing says adios to our Argentinian.
2) Adding a player to an already stacked midfield. We have Granero, Khedira, Lass, Alonso, Gago and now Sahin. Lets assume that Gago leaves, we now have 4 players that expect to start and Granero that has the quality to start. With the news of Sahin joining, i wouldn’t be surprised if we hear that Lass will look for an exit, as he is down the pecking order more and more now. Especially with Pepe showing his ability to fill in, maybe we will be seeing a central midfielder clear out.
3) One footed and not the best in the air. He is too one footed it pains me. Not as bad as Di Maria, but still a problem. He avoids using his right foot as much as he can. With that said, his left foot is really unique. He is also not the best in the air, as he is only 1.80 meters.
So this is my view on the Sahin transfer. To sum his playing style up really quickly, i would say Sahin is the closest we will find to a Guti-esque player right now. He has the ability to pass the ball through tight spaces and can hold on the the ball well. Sort of what we wish Khedira can take from Granero in attack and what we wish Granero can take from Khedira defensively all in one package. A very diciplined player that knows when to make a run forward and when to sit back. He usually enjoys sitting at the back and starting the play, and has a mean shot from outside the area. With that said, he is comfortable playing the ball while further up the pitch. He is a better passer of the ball than Ozil, and thats saying something considering Ozil is a great passer.
I have written 2000 words about Sahin, so i think it would be best to stop here, let you guys focus on Sahin and i will leave the Callejon talk for tomorrow. Hope this gives a better view for some of you who haven’t seen Sahin play before (i have watched him in over 15 games this season and the same number last season). Corey can tell you more about him as well, as he enjoys Dortmund just as much, if not more, than i do.
Until then, tell me what you think of the Sahin signing. With Gago possibly on the way out, and Lass, despite playing great lately, looking for more consistant first team action, what are your views on the matter? Will Lass be ok with being the 4th choice central midfielder? Or will he even be ok with being the third choice? Lets try and not talk much about Callejon till i put the article out tomorrow. Until then, enjoy the highlights of the Castilla game: