There were cries of “Arsenal, Arsenal!” at Germany’s World Cup celebrations in Berlin today. They appeared to come from the mouth of Lukas Podolski in response to Sami Khedira being asked about his future.
As Arsène Wenger’s German reunification plans continue – if he signs, Khedira will be back alongside Mesut Özil, his team-mate at Real Madrid and in the Germany 2009 Under-21 European Championship-winning side that beat England 4-0 in the final – what seems most clear cut is that Khedira will not be at Real Madrid when the transfer window closes.
The midfielder has no intention of signing a new deal in Madrid, and with one year left on his existing contract, Real want to sell him now instead of losing him for nothing in the summer of 2015.
But what may yet draw out the deal is Real Madrid’s lack of urgency. Khedira has just become only the 10th player in history to win the World Cup and the Champions League in the same year and his performances in Brazil have pushed up his price.
In pictures: Germany return from World Cup
In pictures: Germany return from World Cup
German fans cheer as the German national team rides in an open-deck bus at Berlin's to landmark Brandenburg Gate to celebrate their FIFA World Cup title
The players of German national soccer team, Philipp Lahm with trophy, Sebastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira, from left arrive at Tegel airport in Berlin
German national team players are greeted by fans as they board a bus at Berlin airport Tegel, as they arrive from Brazil after they won the FIFA World Cup 2014
Players of German national soccer squad, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller, Sebastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira, from left, wave in joy as they arrive at Tegel airport in Berlin
The players of German national soccer team Philipp Lahm, Sebastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller, Sami Khedira and Mats Hummels from left, arrive at Tegel airport in Berlin
The plane with the players of German national soccer team arrives at Tegel airport in Berlin
Fans cheer as the plane carrying the German national soccer team, winners of the 2014 World Cup, flies over the 'fan mile' public viewing zone before landing at Tegel airport in Berlin
Supporters of the German national soccer team celebrate as they gather on the so-called 'Fan Mile' at the landmark Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, to wait for the return of the victorious team
Supporters of the German national soccer team gather on the so-called 'Fan Mile' at the landmark Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
A man holds a scarf reading the name of Germany's midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger as German fans gather in front of a stage installed for a victory parade of Germany's football national team at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate to celebrate their FIFA World Cup title
The player’s demands are also likely to slow down the operation. His net salary of €3.2m (£2.5m) leaves him down at the bottom of Real Madrid’s pay scale. He has long since felt undervalued and is now asking for something in the region of £150,000 a week from what will be the main contract of his playing career.
Video: Germany win fourth World Cup
Sceptical voices at Arsenal have noted that injury meant he actually played very little part in Real Madrid’s Champions League-winning season, returning only for the final. He is 27 and available for nothing in a year, so although the club’s willingness to spend appears to have increased dramatically in the last 12 months, an asking price of £25m is unlikely to be met.
Khedira’s reputation as a “soldier” player who will carry out orders to the letter on the pitch helped make him a favourite of Jose Mourinho, who signed him on the basis of his intelligence and character – and his 2010 World Cup performance statistics, that had him covering more ground than all but three of the other players in the tournament, and coming out top in terms of what Fifa’s number crunchers called “intensive activity time”. Madrid would naturally welcome a bidding war for the player they signed from Stuttgart in 2010 for around £8m – precisely as he was about to enter his last season under contract.
Real hope to unveil the Germany midfielder Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich this week prior to their summer tour of the United States, which comprises matches against Internazionale, Roma and Manchester United on 26 and 29 July and 2 August.
Khedira is not due back in training until 5 August. Today he was busy celebrating Germany’s World Cup success with Podolski, Özil and Per Mertesacker who could all soon become club team-mates.
What all sides will want to avoid is a repeat of last pre-season when Manchester United made a £34m bid for the player too late to beat the transfer deadline.