From a man once dubbed the "German Messi” to a regular on the Chelsea bench, Marko Marin has certainly experienced a nose dive in his career.
Strong performances for Werder Bremen in 2010 alongside Mesut Ozil and Aaron Hunt shot the young German to fame and rumours quickly circulated after of interest from Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal.
So where has it gone wrong for the young German?
When signed in a pre-summer transfer window deal worth £7m for a man once rumoured to cost £17m, excitement about young Marin spread across Stamford Bridge. However, in his debut season at Chelsea, Marin has been limited to five first-team starts and 10 substitute appearances, the last coming in a woeful display at Southampton.
With £66m spent on attacking talents such as Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses - along with reoccurring injuries - Marin hasn’t had the run in the first team to establish himself in the Premier League.
In a season where Chelsea are playing an extremely high amount of games, the platform for rotation and first-team chances has been there, but Marin under Benitez is just not getting a look in with the performances of Juan Mata, Hazard, Oscar and Moses keeping him out the side.
Even when he plays he looks off the pace, and despite flashes of dribbling brilliance, rarely has the end product to make something of them.
With Kevin de Bruyne coming back from a loan spell at Marin’s former side Werder Bremen, partnered with the possible return of Lucas Piazon, it’s hard to see how his first-team opportunities are going to increase next season.
So what options does Marin have?
Marin may need a loan opportunity next season if he is to have a future at Chelsea. Premier League experience would work wonders for him, but it’s hard to think of a Premier League team willing to take the young German and no such rumours have circulated.
A loan abroad seems most likely, with a return to Germany to regain fitness a considerable option for Marin. However, you have to feel some sympathy for Marin, a youngster caught between a point when Chelsea where looking for an attacking spark to partner Mata, but as Chelsea won the Champions League, was overlooked by marquee signings such as Hazard and Mata.
Only time can tell for Marko Marin, but it’s clear that his Blues future is fading rapidly.
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