Emre Can: Will return to Germany revive former Liverpool midfielder's career?
The battle for dominance among Serie A heavyweights is heating up at the moment. Inter Milan and AC Milan both acquired big-name superstars to counter Juventus' signing of the top football talents in Europe, and the battle was seemingly visible in the transfer window too.
The Bianconeri took the lead when they captured Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid amidst other signings in the summer of 2018. While the Portuguese attacker continues with his record-breaking run at the Allianz Stadium scoring goals almost at will, another player, who also joined the club during the same transfer window has a different story to tell. German international Emre Can found himself on the opposite track when he switched to Turin.
The defensive midfielder boosted his career by leaving Bayer Leverkusen for Liverpool in the summer of 2014. He recorded 14 goals and 12 assists to his name for the Reds in 167 games across all competitions during his four-year stint in Merseyside. Following the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the 2017/2018 Champions League final, Can decided to call time on his stint at Merseyside, joining Juventus as a free agent in June 2018.
It was supposed to be a step in the right direction for the 26-year-old but his transition to the Allianz Stadium eventually proved to be an absolute disaster. He had a promising start to life under Massimiliano Allegri, bagging 29 Serie A appearances in his debut campaign and contributing four goals and an assist. The turning point, however, came up when Maurizio Sarri left Chelsea to take charge of the Old Lady this season.
Sarri isn't a fan of the midfielder and it was evident he didn't have him in his plans. Can recorded just eight appearances across all competitions under the Italian this season, starting just two of those games, while the rest were late and untrusted introductions.
Overall, he played just 279 minutes working with the tactician, averaging 35 minutes per game with no goal or assist. To make matters worse, the German wasn't included in Juventus' Champions League squad for the season.
The exclusion from the Bianconeri's European campaign was too much for Can to bear. The player revealed his frustration towards the development after Juve's 22-man squad for the UCL was released in September. Four months later, he decided to quit the Allianz Stadium.
The 26-year-old was snapped up by Borussia Dortmund in a loan deal with an option to make it permanent for €25 million at the end of the campaign. That presents him with a massive opportunity to leave his nightmare behind and rejuvenate his career. Can he take advantage of it?
Following his nightmare in Turin, Can needed a change of environment to kickstart his revival. At the Signal Iduna Park, he will get the chance to feature more regularly and play more influential roles. There's less competition in Lucien Favre's midfield and that would allow him to quickly nail a spot in the starting lineup, especially after the club sold Julian Weigl to Benfica this winter. Can's outrageous goal on his debut against Bayer Leverkusen should give him a lot of confidence for the future.
Playing for Dortmund doesn't come with much pressure compared to Juve. That would allow the midfielder to focus on his game and work hard to bring his career back on track. The Signal Iduna Park has served as a destination for struggling players to revive their careers in the past few years. The likes of Mitchy Batshuayi and Paco Alcacer were able to turn their situations around and reignite their careers after joining the BVB.
A return to his homeland appears a decent move from Can. With more involvement and fine performances in the Bundesliga, it would be easier to find his way into the German national team for the European Championship this year. He has pulled the right move. Now, it's time to back it up with hard work and encouraging performances.Published 10 Feb 2020, 16:46 IST