It looks like, after years of being tight with the money, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are finally ready to go all out this summer. The Gunners have already completed the purchase of Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez and look to have Mathieu Debuchy all but done. According to reports in the media, the next man on Wenger’s wish-list is German international World Cup Winner, Sami Khedira.
It has been reported that Khedira has turned down a contract extension from Real Madrid amid interest from Arsenal. This leaves the former Stuttgart man with only one year remaining on his contract heading into the next season. Despite having only a year left on his contract, reports suggest Wenger would need to pay upwards of £20m to bring the German from the Bernabéu to the Emirates. Khedira is requesting a £150,000 a week pay packet to make the move to London, which has apparently been a sticking point.
Compared to who they have now
Currently, holding midfield is a weak spot for the Gunners with their only holding midfielders being Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini. Both Flamini and Arteta have big weaknesses in their games that Khedira could fix. Flamini, while a solid defender and a mobile midfielder, the Frenchman isn’t great with the ball at his feet. He’s not the most composed on the ball and at times slows the play down because he plays shorter and less penetrative passes. The former AC Milan man also lacks discipline racking up 11 yellow cards and a red card last season. Khedira is not nearly as ill disciplined as Flamini and is better on the ball than the Frenchman. The German is also just as good if not better than the Frenchman defensively.
Arteta is essentially the antithesis to Flamini. The 32 year old midfielder is very good on the ball and can control a game as a holding midfielder. The downside to the former Barcelona academy man is he severely lacks mobility and can be exposed defensively. With his advanced age, Arteta’s legs aren’t what they used to be. Arsenal were exposed multiple times this season (Liverpool away and Chelsea away are some prime examples) when teams counter-attacked them at pace, with Arteta as the defensive midfielder. Based on the past season, it seems the former Everton man no longer has the legs to play week in week out at the top level. Khedira is much more mobile and better defensively. He would be a big upgrade on the ageing Spaniard.
How Khedira fits in
If the move was to happen, it would be a huge move for Arsenal going into the season and a huge improvement on the personnel they have now. If Khedira was to come to the Emirates he would be used as a holding midfielder, next to Welsh sensation Aaron Ramsey. Khedira will have to be more of a holding midfielder than he is at times with Real Madrid and Germany. The German midfielder does enjoy to make forays forward, as he showed when Germany demolished Brazil. The Real Madrid star will be the more defensive player in the Arsenal system, but will still be able to make his adventures forward. Khedira looks to be a great for for Arsenal to fill that huge hole in defensive midfield.
Arsenal have already made a big splash this summer with the signing of Alexis Sanchez. Arsene Wenger has proven he is more than willing to splash the cash now. If he continues to spend the money in the areas Arsenal still need to improve, the Gunners can be serious contenders for the Premier League title next season. Khedira would be a huge step in the right direction for Arsenal.