Sinan Kurt was considered one of the great hopes of German football not too long ago.
Back in 2014, he was widely regarded as the ‘next Marco Reus’ at Borussia Monchengladbach, but last month the 22-year-old quietly joined WSG Wattens in the second tier of Austrian football.
Hardly the move you’d expect, so what happened?
As a youngster, Kurt notched a stunning 31 goals and 21 assists in 52 games for Gladbach’s Under-16s, and he was promptly moved up into their Under-19 team.
He impressed again, netting 16 goals in 24 appearances, before making his professional debut in the fourth tier of German football with Gladbach II at the age of 18.
He was fast-tracked into Germany’s Under-19s team, while his performances began to catch the attention of Bayern Munich.
After a lengthy legal battle between the two clubs, he finally moved to Pep Guardiola’s Bayern in August 2014 – becoming their most expensive youth signing.
Suddenly, Kurt was in the nuclear reactor.
He’d already earned a reputation as one of Germany’s brightest talents, but Bayern was a completely different environment.
That didn’t stop him boasting about his talent, as his own hype began to outpace his development.
Matthias Sammer, Bayern’s Sporting Director at the time, summed it up by claiming that Kurt spoke openly about “what a super player he is” among his teammates.
The way he’d moved to Bavaria also left a bitter taste at his old club, with Max Eberl, Gladbach’s Sporting Director, openly castigating the youngster for forcing through the transfer.
After the move, he said: “I am very disappointed by Sinan.
“We had recently a meeting with Lucien Favre, his adviser, Sinan and me. We talked passionately about his prospects at Borussia. And what happens? Five days later he negotiated with Bayern.”
What’s more, his first season at the Allianz Arena was far from impressive.
He featured in just one Bundesliga match during the 2014-15 campaign, playing a fairly unspectacular 45 minutes against Hertha Berlin in April 2015 – with Bayern already crowned league champions.
The following summer, Bayern signed Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman, meaning Kurt was placed further down the pecking order.
In a pre-season press conference, Guardiola confirmed many of the club’s young talents, including Kurt, would train and play exclusively with the second team for the season, with a focus on development, game-time and match experience.
He was considered an important part of Bayern’s future.
But Kurt’s attitude and mentality was clearly a problem, and by January there was clearly something wrong.
In the colours of Bayern, Kurt had failed to recapture the form that had made him a youth star at Gladbach.
The drama of his transfer and the high expectations surrounding his arrival had seemingly inflated his ego, which did little to impress his manager.
So he opted for a move to Hertha Berlin, signing a three-year contract with the club in a bid to find more first-team opportunities.
Despite failing at Bayern, his move to the capital was hailed by the local press.
Hertha’s manager Michael Preetz described Sinan as a “young, very talented offensive player who has a lot of potential.”
But at Die Alte Dame, the same old problems persisted.
In his three years at the club, he made just two appearances for the senior team and a handful for the reserves; netting just three times for Hertha’s second team.
His time at the club was blighted by attitude problems, ranging from issues over his weight through to plain laziness during training, while he also experienced recurring problems with injuries and a general lack of form.
In many ways, his fall into obscurity with WSG Wattens is hardly surprising.
But for a player with such potential, it’s certainly a disappointing waste of talent.
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