Sami Khedira to Arsenal: Why Arsenal need to sign the Real Madrid midfielder ahead of Chelsea

Arsene Wenger needs to sign a world class midfielder, and Khedira would transform his side into genuine title contenders

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The Independent Football

Arsenal’s near-misses with silverware during their nine-year trophy drought can be put down to some degree to their defeats against their fierce rivals when it came to key matches late in the season.

Even though they finally secured the FA Cup trophy last season, the 6-3, 5-1, and 6-0 humiliations dished out by Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea respectively can be put down to the club’s lack of a defensive-minded midfielder. The club have not had a world class defensive midfielder since the days of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, but World Cup winner Sami Khedira could be the answer to their prayers.

For starters, the Germany international only has a year left on his Real Madrid contract, and the midfielder is well inside Arsenal’s transfer budget. Having already splashed out on Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez for £35m, the Gunners’ new £150m five-year kit deal with Puma means they now have the financial firepower to make more than one key signing each year.

With Khedira already turning down a contract from the Champions League winners – although he is still in talks over an extension – the prospect of Khedira leaving Spain this summer is a very real one, and with Arsenal and Chelsea leading the race for his signature it’s widely expected that the 27-year-old will be strutting his stuff in the Premier League next season.


The next point is not up for debate – Arsenal need Khedira more. Chelsea’s recent history has seen a long line of influential defensive midfielders become central to the Blues’ plans for success. Claude Makalele set the bar during the 2000’s, before Michael Essien took over where the Frenchman left off.

Whoever the Chelsea manger was at the time – be it Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Gus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafa Benitez or Mourinho once more – they have always had the option of playing John Obi Mikel as well, with the Nigeria international offering a defensively sound style even if it meant he wasn’t going to threaten the oppositions goal.

Matic is likely to be a regular in Mourinho's side this season

The Blues now have Nemanja Matic back at the club, and the Serbian was one of their most impressive players last season even though he only joined in January. With the likes of Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Ramires and Mikel available in the middle, Mourinho certainly has more reliability their compared to Wenger’s options.

Arsenal’s best defensive midfielders have gone on to leave the club, with first Mathieu Flamini and then Alex Song seeking pastures new with AC Milan and Barcelona respectively. The Frenchman has since returned, although he is susceptible to a suspension due to his knack of picking up bookings and he doesn’t offer the security in front of the back four that Arsenal desperately need.

With Khedira, not only would the Gunners be signing a world class defensive midfielder, but also a technically talented player that is capable of playing in a box-to-box role that Wenger favours. Khedira showed some lovely touches during Germany’s successful World Cup campaign, and he would add a touch of class to a Gunners squad that showed last season that they can compete with the best – when they turn up.

Questions have arisen over Arteta's suitability to the current Arsenal side

The problem lies with Mikel Arteta. While the Spaniard has done a job since he was signed in 2011, he was essentially a panic buy following the 8-2 drubbing to Manchester United. He has gone on to play the holding role in the Arsenal midfield, but the sad truth is that if Wenger’s side are serious about challenging for the title – and the best in Europe – then he will have to replace Arteta with a high quality midfielder.

Khedira would fit that profile perfectly, and at around £26m, would be a coup in this age of inflated asking prices.