Saturday morning’s newspapers in England are reporting that Chelsea have made a swoop to try to convince Sami Khedira to join the Stamford Bridge club instead of Arsenal.
The Germany and Real Madrid midfielder secured a move from Stuttgart to the Spanish capital following an impressive 2010 World Cup. Now two London sides are the likely suitors for the player. Both Arsenal and Chelsea are interested, but Arsenal would benefit more from his services.
With a player of Khedira’s unmistakable quality, any side in Europe would find a place to play the midfielder. But Arsenal, whose central midfield play has suffered for many years, would appear to need the German more than Chelsea does. Nemanja Matić’s signing for Chelsea in January significantly bolstered the Blues in the holding midfield position where Khedira can play, and the signing of Cesc Fabregas has given Jose Mourinho a lynchpin in the center of the pitch. Arsenal, meanwhile, need consistently fit and strong defensive/holding midfield play.
Aaron Ramsey has played at times in a holding role, but Arsene Wenger now favors deploying the Welshman further up the pitch or in a wide position. Mikel Arteta is injury-prone and now 32, while Mathieu Flamini’s best years are past him.
Some would argue Arsenal have lacked the type of steadying central midfield presence needed to compete for titles since Patrick Vieira left the club in 2005. Cesc Fabregas, Alou Diaby and Alex Song all showed flashes of becoming a dominant presence in the middle of the pitch for the Gunners. But the club has not had a finished article as a central or holding midfielder that is consistently fit since Vieira left almost a decade ago.
Chelsea on the other hand would simply want Khedira because Mourinho worked well with him at Real Madrid and they would prevent the star from joining a rival. After swiping Willian from Spurs and Mohamed Salah from Liverpool at the last moments during the last two transfer windows, Mourinho may be playing the same game on Khedira.
Make no mistake about it, the German midfielder would be useful for Chelsea, but Arsenal need him far more.