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Arda Turan: Lost long before he was sold to Barcelona

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

And so it goes. Arda Turan has moved to pastures anew and is now rubbing shoulders with the enemy. His love for Iniesta, Suarez and Messi seems reciprocated and we wish him the best. Atletico have lost a vital part of the team that won La Liga and came within moments of winning the Champions League. Truth be told, however, is that Atletico Madrid lost Arda Turan long before he signed on the dotted line for Atletico’s La Liga rivals.

The 2013-14 iteration of Arda Turan will be missed and regardless of what kind of revisionism that takes places in the next ten years, Arda Turan was excellent for Atletico for the most part and he is an exceptionally talented footballer. What fans of los Rojiblancos saw from the Turkish midfielder last year, however, was half-hearted, sloppy, narky and petulant. He seemed to have outgrown the Vicente Calderon and while it would have been sacrilege to say such a thing at the time, he isn’t an Atletico Madrid player anymore so it’s not an issue we must contend with.

Turan had one assist on the 18th of January in a 2-0 win against Granada and didn’t score or assist again for the remainder of the year. The fact that Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone could extrapolate €34 million from Barcelona for a 28 year old who can’t play for six months and will be 29 before he kicks a ball or throws a boot at a linesman on the field for his new side is simply genius.

Let’s take a look back at the boot throwing incident. As enjoyable and unprecedented as it was at the time, there was the professional part of the brain looking on with disgust. Sure, Atletico Madrid are the bad boys of European football, chopping you down to size before devouring you with the hunger of a thousand vultures but this was petty and it made the team look like pretenders. It wasn’t professional, it was amatuer and clearly in line with a man who had lost the run of his emotions. It was the act of a man who wanted a ban and had little or no regard as to what he was representing or what anybody thought. The good old fighting spirit of Atletico Madrid is something to behold but this was not it.

While his statline last year shows a player not playing at the peak of his powers, the writing was on the wall before the season ended. The most damning of all the things Turan-related was that he was not in the squad to finish the season despite no confirmed injury. Simeone had given up on him, he had given up on Simeone and it was time for a breakup. There was still something to play for in that last game and one of Simeone’s most trusted soldiers was not even in the squad. All was not right.

His replacement, Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco scored four more goals, assisted with six more, was fouled more often and created 22 more chances than Turan last season. It can be argued that the French league is inferior to La Liga but he is 21 and has a lot more resale value than Turan. Belgian wonderkids’ stock is high and big clubs are prone to paying top dollar for attacking midfielders with Belgian passports. One good year under Diego Simeone and you are looking at a pricetag of, perhaps, double the €20 million he was purchased for.

History will be kind to Arda Turan and so it should. He was vital to Atletico Madrid and a fan favourite despite his cries for someone to come and save him from the Calderon. He was a part of the team that wrestled La Liga supremacy from Barcelona and Real Madrid. What the history books will not tell you, however, is that he was as unwilling in his last season as he could have been and the €34 million is a lot more than he is worth based on those performances.