Sami Khedira to Chelsea: Why the Blues need to sign the Real Madrid midfielder ahead of Arsenal
Khedira could help Jose Mourinho lead Chelsea back to their pomp
Chelsea are reportedly fighting Arsenal for the signature of Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Sami Khedira, who looks set to leave Los Blancos after the arrival of national team-mate Toni Kroos.
But with the January acquisition of Nemanja Matic and the £30m arrival of Cesc Fabregas already this summer, does Jose Mourinho really need another central midfielder at the club?
It all depends on how the Portuguese manager intends to play next season.
The main point of contention for Khedira at Real Madrid appears to be the role he has to play in the team and the amount of games he is getting – should he arrive at Stamford Bridge, it would likely come with a guarantee from Mourinho that the 27-year-old will be a starter.
His interest in Khedira is a sign that Mourinho could ditch the sometimes frail 4-2-3-1 he played last season and go back to the 4-3-3 that made Chelsea such a force during his first spell in charge.
Khedira would provide the box-to-box energy and drive from midfield, with Cesc Fabregas the creative hub and Matic the destroyer.
Such a formation will remind Chelsea fans of Mourinho’s dominant first spell in charge, where the manager played a trio of central midfielders who possess similar qualities to these three. Back then it was Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele and Michael Essien who dominated English football and led Chelsea to back-to-back titles.
Mourinho will be hoping that this trio could produce something similar.
Though he is often criticised by Mourinho for his lack of work rate and perceived mental weakness, Eden Hazard is Chelsea’s main man in attack. The Belgian was overused at times last season and looked tired heading into the final months of the season.
But Hazard will be guaranteed a starting berth next season, and Mourinho arguably wants to make the spine of his team stronger because of the struggles his wide men and strikers endured. It is the inconsistent form of Willian, Oscar and Andre Schurrle that has sparked the interest in Khedira.
The lack of goals last season from Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba has been addressed with the £32m addition of Diego Costa – though it remains to be seen if he can replicate his stunning form.
Jose Mourinho could create a team similar to the one that was so dominant in his first spell
Read more: Why Arsenal need to sign Khedira
Chelsea could steal Khedira from under Arsenal's nose
Blues on alert as Khedira talks stall
Willian proved to be a Mourinho favourite last season because of his work rate and willingness to help out defensively, but he struggled to assert himself in the attacking third, scoring only four goals and adding just four more assists.
Oscar started brilliantly before losing all form in the second half of the season, while Schurrle was wildly inconsistent and most effective when coming on as a substitute.
Mourinho may have realised he needs to change his approach. Claude Makele formed part of one of the most dominant trios in English football
Nemanja Matic could play the Claude Makelele role as the destroyer in front of the defence. Makelele was always underrated in possession and started many a Chelsea attack with his precise passing – the powerful Serbian reads the game perfectly and despite his lack of pace is able to cover the ground by quick speed of thought. He is also supremely gifted on the ball.
Cesc Fabregas should takeover where Frank Lampard made such a mark in west London. The Spaniard has proved he is capable of scoring at a very decent rate, with 48 goals in 151 matches while in Spain and will also act as creator-in-chief for the Blues. Fabregas is also more able to dictate games than Lampard ever was.
Chelsea were excellent on the counter-attack last term, the type of football that brought them big wins against Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, but when they were the team who needed to push the tempo they were found lacking – Fabregas is a master of controlling a team’s tempo.
The final piece of the jigsaw could be Sami Khedira, who will become what Michael Essien was before injury cruelly robbed him of his dynamism.
Essien was never the best on the ball but his suoperior pace and power allowed him to become one of the most dominant midfielders the Premier League has seen. Khedira plays in a similar all-action style and while he is not quite the physical bully Essien was, he is much better technically.
This trio would be able to match anything the Premier League has to offer. If Chelsea need to be the team forcing the victory, against mid-table or relegation strugglers, they have the quality to do it. Cesc Fabregas will be Chelsea's creator-in-chief
If they need to shut up shop on big European nights or at the Etihad, the Emirates or Anfield, then Matic, Fabregas and Khedira will be able to compete with the best of them and be dangerous enough on the counter.
Also, as he has proven on many occasions in the past, Mourinho is not afraid to buy a target wanted by one of his rivals.
Khedira would be a significant upgrade over Mikel Arteta, who started 31 league matches for Arsene Wenger last season but drew criticism from fans for his sometimes pedestrian pace of play and weakness in the tackle.
Add in the signings of Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy, as well as the good feeling around the club after May’s FA Cup win, and Arsenal look set to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League this season.
Mourinho has been tasked with playing more attractive football than he did in his first tenure and while that first spell is remembered as producing some dour football, this potential new team has the talents to turn it on. Arsenal will mount a serious title challenge next year
Arsenal will be as dangerous as they have in a long time, Manchester United are looking to get back into the top four, Liverpool are hoping to build on a brilliant season and Manchester City are still the team to beat. Then there are the likes of Everton and Spurs who want to join the top table - the Premier League title race is already shaping up to be a real fight.
The arrival of Khedira could take Chelsea back to their all-powerful pomp.
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