Sami Khedira May Have to Accept Fringe Role If He Is to Stay at Real Madrid

Rik SharmaFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2014

Sami Khedira must settle for a bit-part role.
Sami Khedira must settle for a bit-part role.Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Sami Khedira is in a peculiar position at Real Madrid, where he wants to stay and the club want him to stay, but the situation is a little more complex than that. 

The Germany midfielder is obviously a good player. He is part of the side which has made it to the World Cup semi-final, as well as starting in the Real Madrid team which secured La Decima last season.

However, he won't always be able to start for Real Madrid and that proves a bone of contention.

The two favoured deeper midfielders in Carlo Ancelotti's system are Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric.

Admittedly, the Italian was without Khedira for a huge swathe of last season.

During the first few months, Khedira was first choice. He often started alongside Alonso or Modric, and on the odd occasion, all three played at the same time.

Khedira with Modric.
Khedira with Modric.Francisco Seco/Associated Press

However, after Khedira's injury, Ancelotti made a discovery.

Angel di Maria was brought inside and played as an attacking midfielder, which worked wonders for Real.

The team looked a lot better and less cumbersome with Di Maria's energy in midfield.

It is difficult to imagine Ancelotti reverting to the turgid midfield featuring Khedira, Alonso and Modric next season, perhaps with the exception of the toughest matches.

The German is a defensive midfielder but isn't an anchorman in the purest sense. He is decent with the ball at his feet and doesn't have the aggression that the best defensive-minded central players do.

Pogba challenges Khedira.
Pogba challenges Khedira.Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Real Madrid have been linked to Paul Pogba, per L'Equipe, h/t Marca.

The Frenchman is similar to Khedira but plays with far more energy and verve. In that sense, he would be a very "Real Madrid" signing.

Pogba is a warrior, nicknamed "La Pioche" (pick-axe), like Khedira but also has the glamour which the German lacks.

Dom Fifield of the Guardian wrote on Pogba, ahead of France's clash with Germany at the World Cup:

For most of his France team-mates he will still always be La Pioche, literally “The Pickaxe” though, in this context, a kid selflessly going about his business to help the collective. The locals, however, have been seduced by the blend of brute force and sinewy skill delivered in flashes by the youngster. They took one look at that eagerness to dribble, spray a pass or crunch a shot at goal, and awarded him their own moniker. He will take to the field at the Maracana on Friday as Pogiba.

For better or worse, this is the sort of player that gets to start at Real Madrid, since Claude Makelele left.

The likes of Khedira have to make do with bit-part roles and that doesn't look like changing.