Arda Turan will celebrate four months at FC Barcelona this month, but he has yet to play a minute of official time with the club. A recent string of injuries might change that.
FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi is side-lined and the possibility of him returning in time to play in the November 21st Clasico against Real Madrid is doubtful. Messi is not the only FC Barcelona star to be side-lined in recent weeks. In fact the Catalan side has been plagued with injuries, suffering some 16 injuries in all this season.
The UEFA Champions League has been very unkind for FC Barcelona with Rafinha injured against Roma, Andres Iniesta coming up injured against Bayer Leverkusen, Sergi Roberto suffering a similar face against BATE in Belarus, and finally Ivan Rakitic was carried off the pitch in Barcelona in the other leg of BATE Borisov match-up.
Above all, FC Barcelona is in need of another midfielder with both Brazil’s Rafinha and Messi on the injured list. While fans might want to see Messi in the Clasico match, FC Barcelona has signaled that his recovery takes precedent. Perhaps Messi will receive at least some limited playing time in this important match. Rafinha’s situation is more serious. He has missed most of the last two months with ligament damage to his right knee and the 22-year-old Brazilian will miss the majority of this season.
When Turan was signed this summer, the move was widely lampooned — dismissed as a “pawn” in a political game. Turan it was speculated would soon be traded. Corner Kick’s own Matt Ramirez noted at the time that “where exactly the new Turk fits into Barca’s XI positionally is a mystery yet to be solved.”
Now there are more holes and the Turan move is starting to make sense. Manager Luis Enrique Martinez is said to have personally requested the 28-year-old after watching him grow into a star with La Liga’s Atletico Bilbao. Turan’s contract is worth some €41 million and stretches to 2020.
There is a hitch though, as it currently stands Turan and fellow signee Alexi Vidal are not allowed to play until January 1. This is due to sanctions against FC Barcelona related to an underage signing scandal that broke last year. Barcelona signaled last month it will seek an exemption at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Barcelona argues that FIFA rules allow an exemption for transfers for any team hit by injuries.
Though Turan has not been allowed to play club football with Barcelona, he has been busy. On September 6, he scored in a 3-0 Turkish win against Holland. Turan’s efforts as team captain have been crucial to Turkey’s successful campaign to qualify for Euro 2016.
Despite the lack of leadership in the midfield, Neymar and Luis Suarez have seized the opportunity provided by Messi’s absence. The duo is less creative without Messi preferring more direct attacks. These have been successful however, resulting in 19 of Barcelona’s 22 goals. As a result Barcelona has managed to stay a top of the table in La Liga with 27 points just three ahead of Castilian rival Real Madrid.
The signing of Arda Turan once seen as gratuitous might prove to be the insurance the Catalan giants need to win more silverware this season.