Five possible destinations for sparkling Germany star Sami Khedira
After starring in the World Cup semi-final demolition of Brazil, contributing to the 7-1 rout of the hosts with a smoothly taken strike, goal hero Sami Khedira’s stock has never been higher.
However, the Germany midfielder appears to be expendable to European giants Real Madrid and, after suffering a long injury lay-off, looks set to depart the Spanish capital in search of a fresh start.
With his tenacious tackling and ability to pick a pass, Khedira has the qualities to thrive in any league, and could be an excellent addition for many top teams. Here, Coral writers assess possible suitors:
Khedira has been strongly linked with the Gunners, who are 9/1 to win the Premier League, since before his knee injury last November, and Arsene Wenger seems to have switched his attention from Lars Bender back to the underrated Madrid midfielder.
His impressive display against Brazil will certainly have done his future job prospects no harm, and it was almost as if Khedira was auditioning for a role in Wenger’s midfield. Certainly his all-action, hustle and bustle style would bring much needed attitude and experience to Arsenal, providing an alternative to Mathieu Flamini and potentially outbound Mikel Arteta.
Khedira would also link up well with the former Real and Germany teammate Mesut Ozil, who joined his compatriot at the Bernabeu as part of Jose Mourinho’s Real revamp in summer 2010.
Who would bet against mischievous manager Mourinho thwarting his nemesis Wenger’s plans? The Blues boss, 7/4 to lift the Premier League with Chelsea this season, has already begun upgrading his midfield with a swoop for Spain superstar Cesc Fabregas.
A move to snare his former charge ahead of Arsenal would not be out of the question, especially after Roman Abramovich snuck in to snatch Brazilian forward Willian from Spurs’ grasp last summer, despite an abundance of wide options.
Chelsea’s need for Khedira would depend on where Mourinho plans to deploy Fabregas, with the Blues boss typically favouring two strong, hardworking midfielders behind his main playmaker. If the Spaniard is to compete with Oscar for a role behind the striker, Khedira could slot in excellently alongside Nemanja Matic.
However, if the Portuguese tactician intends to surprise spectators with a more gung-ho approach, and allow Fabregas or Oscar to play in a deeper creative role, it is likely Khedira would just be trading one bench for another.
With Louis van Gaal unable to make a move for injured Roma star Kevin Strootman, he could do worse than opt for Khedira, as he attempts to add both star quality and depth to the Red Devils’ lacklustre midfield.
Current Clockwork Orange coach van Gaal, who will join United after the World Cup, praised sidelined Strootman for bringing “balance” to the national side, and Khedira could do the same, operating in a box-to-box role in tandem with Ander Herrara. The dynamism of that duo would refresh a stagnant Red Devils team, who are 9/2 to win the Premier League, adding much needed mobility in the middle after years of Michael Carrick’s more languid style.
Former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez seems keen to bolster his central midfield options ahead of the new campaign, and is already rumoured to be returning to Anfield to prise Lucas Leiva from Brendan Rodgers’ Reds.
Southampton star Morgan Schneiderlin, Manchester City man Javi Garcia and Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons are also linked to the Serie A side, with Benitez clearly seeking to find a new partner for Switzerland skipper Gokhan Inler.
The former Liverpool boss has always favoured a solid base in midfield, and will be looking to build on a successful season, in which Napoli secured a third place league finish. With Khedira and Inler holding down the fort, Marek Hamsik, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne would be allowed greater freedom to wreak havoc in the final third.
Despite clubs queuing to snap up Khedira, the energetic midfielder could still decide to stay on in Spain. Ancelotti now favours a central pairing of Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso, but after a disastrous World Cup, there is a concern that the Spaniard’s confidence will be in ruins.
Coupled with Alonso’s advancing age, and the still relatively inexperienced Asier Illarramendi, Madrid would be rash to relieve Khedira of his services before arranging for an adequate replacement.
If a muted move for Juventus starlet Paul Pogba begins to unfold, the Germany midfielder would be wise to move on, but after a successful World Cup campaign, Khedira has proven he still has plenty to offer his current club.