Marko Marin: The right kind of budget winger

Video by MrEuro14

Having recently divulged Liverpool’s interest in acquiring his services in the summer transfer window, 22 year-old Germany winger Marko Marin has become an object of instant curiosity, at least amongst the transfer-obsessed elements of Liverpool’s support. While his nickname ‘The German Messi’ correctly hints at both his small size and his exciting dribbling skills, it portrays an inaccurate assessment of Marin’s true value and abilities and provides an unfair comparison with one of the best players in the history of the game. Seriously, who thinks of these nicknames?

With 4 goals and 8 assists in the Bundesliga this season, Marin has had the unenviable task of inheriting Mesut Ozil’s creative responsibilities for Werder Bremen. While he is more of a wide player than the departed Madrid man was, Marin has filled in admirably, showing excellent pace, teamwork and technical ability. Comfortable on either wing, Marin can also play centrally when required and uses his clever movement to create space.

Many wingers have an outstanding element to their game – Robben and Hulk cut in to shoot, Ribery takes players on down the flanks, Mata values possession most highly and chooses simple pass options while making his more aggressive runs without the ball, often attempting 1-2 combinations with his teammates.

Marin, while not truly outstanding in any department, has a bit of everything to his game. He can play the telling pass, recycle possession neatly a la Maxi Rodriguez, take a player on with speed or skill, and produce accurate crosses from either flank. He is a vast improvement over any of our current wing options in terms of pace and technique, and he also understands the game tactically in the same way many young German players of the current generation seem to.

While his subsequent comments seem to indicate that Marin would prefer to remain with Bremen, it would be easy enough for Liverpool fans to believe he was just paying lip service to the Bremen faithful – after a certain blonde Spaniard broke our hearts it has become easy to believe that a player’s word is nothing to be relied upon.

There is also the small matter of Marin’s contract running into its penultimate year to deal with, along with the rumour that he has already knocked back two extension offers during the season. While this transfer is a long way from being settled, it is certainly a possibility.

My verdict: Marin would be a hit. We need pace, flair and creativity from the wide positions and that’s what he brings to the table. While he is short and slight, players such as Luka Modric (with whom he shares a slight facial resemblance) have long since disproved the theory that you have to be built like the proverbial brick outhouse to survive the rigours of the Premier League. When you factor in his current ability, the potential he has to hit his peak 4 or 5 years from now, his versatility and the affordability of shopping in the Bundesliga, Marin seems great value and a great prospect. If affordability is an issue, I would rather look for more players like Marin and steer clear of Bosman options like Sylvain Marveaux.

I do have one reservation about Marko Marin. If he joins, I’d like him to leave the ‘German Messi’ tag back in Germany.