After completing the signing of Barca winger Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal is continuing with their summer activities. The right back position seems sorted as Debuchy seems to be in the bag already but the Gunners still need a central striker and a defensive midfielder.
In a bid to solve the midfield conundrum, Arsenal has set sights on German midfielder Sami Khedira. The German has rejected a new deal at Real Madrid and Los Blancos fear he could leave for free at the expiration of his contract next summer so are willing to cash in on him. According to reports, Arsenal has already agreed a fee with the Champions League winners for the German who is fresh from winning the World Cup with Germany.
But is Khedira what Arsenal need? Before attempting to answer that question, it is important to know what Arsenal really need in midfield. The Gunners need a disciplined defensive midfielder, strong in tackles and one that can also add height to the midfield. Also, the Gunners should look for a long term replacement for aging incumbent defensive midfielders Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta. In a nutshell, Arsenal’s new defensive midfielder must add steel to the midfield and be young enough to replace Flamini and Arteta on the long term.
Khedira is not the only defensive midfielder available in the market. The Gunners have been linked to Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin and Leverkusen’s Lars Bender but it seems Wenger has settled for Khedira. If Wenger is ready to pay 20million pounds, it simply means he isn’t planning to buy another defensive midfielder. Wenger is not the kind of manager that spends big on two players for the same position. It is understandable that of the trio, Khedira is the one with the highest profile as he is a regular in the German national team with 51 caps and also coming from one of the best clubs in the world Real Madrid as against Schneiderlin that plays for Southampton and Bender from Leverkusen.
But considering the fact that Khedira is not an outright defensive midfielder, he is a more of a box to box midfielder, what happens to Ramsey? From his stats, he is not a proven goal scorer from midfield though chips in few odd goals once in a while. Between 2010 and now, Khedira has made 91 league appearances for Real Madrid but has just 9 goals while Ramsey in just one season, having less than 30 league appearances scored 10 goals.
Should Wenger decide to pair Ramsey and Khedira in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield; Ramsey should be the most adventurous while Khedira should play the role of the clean-up man. He would also give Arsenal options in the box to box midfield role. Last season, the Gunners were over-reliant on Ramsey last season but should Khedira join, Arsenal would have an experienced option for the Welshman.
Besides his on the field responsibilities, he could also help off the field. He is good friend with Ozil and they are colleagues in the German team and former teammates at Real Madrid, if Ozil was happy before, Khedira would make him happier and also keep him company if he was feeling lonely.
Finally, the imminent arrival of Khedira questions the rationale behind Wenger turning down Fabregas. The excuse Wenger gave for turning down the opportunity to sign Fabregas was that Arsenal didn’t need another creative midfielder but in his first spell at Arsenal, Fabregas played as a box to box midfielder and not as an attacking midfielder. Fabregas would have been a direct threat for Ramsey and not Ozil or Cazorla. I understand owing to Ramsey’s stunning season last season, another top player shouldn’t be brought in to stymie his development. But if Wenger turned down Fabregas, why pursue Khedira, a player similar to Fabregas in position.
Seems Wenger turned down his former captain to prove to him he couldn’t just walk in and out of the Emirates at will and that Arsenal is no napkin that should be used for cleaning up when there is mess.
Finally, should Wenger sign Khedira and not move for another defensive midfielder, Flamini will stay on as Arsenal’s only naturally defensive midfielder. It could be that Wenger is lining up Khedira to replace Arteta. The Spaniard has just a year left on his Arsenal deal and has already been linked with a 6million pounds move to Italian side Fiorentina.
If Wenger is lining up Khedira as Arteta’s replacement, then it’s reasonable to assume that Wenger could still have another defensive midfielder lined up but just keeping his cards close to his chest. What more can I say, Arsene knows!