Since the end of May, Arsenal has been linked with a host of defensive midfielders to fill the void in the middle of the pitch for the north London club. The Gunners deployed Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini for much of the season last campaign (they also even used Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at times). While the duo of Arteta and Flamini performed adequately in their roles, Arsenal is looking to strengthen its squad and bring World Cup caliber players into the fold.
Arsenal has been reportedly interested in signing Sami Khedira, Lars Bender, Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin. All four have continuously been linked with the Gunners since the end of May (some even longer than that). The biggest question many pundits have been asking is which of the three players would best suit Arsenal’s game.
Although most Arsenal fans would be perfectly happy with either Bender, Khedira, or Schneiderlin (and rightly so) becoming a Gunner, there have been recent reports suggesting a deal for Khedira with Real Madrid has been agreed (although the player’s agent has all but denied these reports). The reports claim that a deal for around £20 million (roughly $34 million) has been agreed by both clubs and that only the player’s salary is yet to be ironed out.
Arsenal would do well to secure the signing of any of the three aforementioned midfielders. Bender is a tough-tackling 25-year-old with Bundesliga and Champions League experience. Schneiderlin, the youngest and most underrated of the three, is also sufficient in tackling and passing also fresh off his first senior call up to the France squad. Khedira is the most experienced of the three midfielders and most likely the best passer of the trio. While the Gunners cannot go wrong in choosing one of these three midfielders, Khedira would be the biggest “get”.
Some claim that Khedira is not a true holding midfielder and that the 27-year-old would not fit well in the Arsenal side. These critics say that the north London club has Aaron Ramsey in the midfield, a box-to-box midfielder, and the Gunners would be better off buying Schneiderlin or Bender, a “true” holding midfielder.
Despite the fact that Khedira is not a so-called “prototypical” defensive midfielder, the German international is tall, strong, technically gifted, experienced, and a great passer of the ball (both long and short passes). Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is usually keen on players who have vision and can pass well. The Gunners had the second best passing percentage (86%), the second most goals from open play (54), and the most short passes per game (524) out of any Premier League club last season.
Khedira is also very close to Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil. The two midfielders both became Real Madrid players during the summer of 2010 and played together in Madrid for three seasons. Khedira and Özil also progressed through the German international youth ranks together and both made their senior international debuts in 2009.
Team chemistry is extremely important with professional clubs and if Khedira was to join the Gunners, where three Germany internationals are already a part of the squad, it would appear that the team’s chemistry would only strengthen.