Sami Khedira's name continues to be linked with Arsenal, despite suggestions from Jorg Neubauer, the player's agent, that the two parties are yet to discuss a potential transfer.
Neubauer's recent comments, as reported by Matt Law of The Telegraph, certainly halt speculation toward the German midfielder's potential Emirates switch: "We are not in talks with Arsenal. I don’t think a fee can have been agreed, otherwise I would have been told. When a club have an interest I am sure they will call me and we will speak about things. The same goes for Chelsea."
Despite confirmation talks are yet to begin, Gunners fans are sure to be considering exactly what kind of impact Khedira would bring. The World Cup winner flaunts a well-rounded game, although his ability to break down possession and start moves from deep should be considered his most attractive attributes when contemplating a move to Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger's side have stacked midfield options, yet no physical presence to rely on in the centre. Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky tend to operate higher up the pitch, and despite the best efforts of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, they are outmuscled against powerful opponents. Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta often fulfill a holding role, but they also struggle when up battling behemoths.
The consistent playing time of this pair will be most affected if Khedira was to arrive. Arteta and Flamini started 27 and 18 Premier League games, respectively, last season, as per WhoScored.com, but Wenger would likely rotate both in order to facilitate the German midfielder.
Flamini is a real battler on his day, but his style often slows Arsenal's play through the centre. While Arteta is a well-drilled ballplayer, he doesn't possess the natural aggression needed to continually excel in a specialised defensive midfield role. Both are useful in the right situation, but their shortcomings would also be emphasised with Khedira's energetic, all-action style added to the team.
If he does come to Arsenal then I think it would have to be at the expense of Mikel Arteta. They have an awful lot of midfield players at the moment and Arteta looks vulnerable in the first XI. Wenger has realised that increasingly it’s a running game in midfield and you have to be able to get around. You have to have many qualities.
Spare a thought also for the forgotten career of Abou Diaby. The 28-year-old has suffered at least 36 injuries, according to Simon Knights of talkSPORT, significantly halting his progress since first appearing for the Gunners in 2006. He did manage a rare showing during the final game of 2013-14, but he remains a ticking time bomb.
It's a shame, because Diaby offered a number of composed performances before his latest setback. He is never destined to be on par with Yaya Toure, but his driving runs, aerial presence and powerful shift of pace is unique in the current Arsenal midfield. He could be deemed surplus to requirements if Khedira is brought in, especially as his contract runs out in 2015, as noted by Transfermarkt.
On a more positive note, Khedira's central positioning would allow new signing Alexis Sanchez to excel. The former Barcelona man needs freedom to reach his most creative form, something he wasn't offered at the Camp Nou.
He will buzz behind the forward, mop up loose balls in advanced areas and sprint into life to support Olivier Giroud, the main striker. Sanchez needs a reliable, less offensively ambitious type behind him in order for this to happen.
Khedira has the ability to make runs from deep—as we saw with his goal during Germany's 7-1 World Cup win over Brazil—and he would be expected to support attacks. Even so, this would be a secondary task behind ensuring Sanchez and friends could achieve their most prolific form.
Of course, a lot of progress needs to be made before Arsenal fans can get excited over Khedira. He is a world-class talent, someone who can improve most midfield setups, and he would be warmly welcomed to the Emirates. His arrival would certainly shake up Wenger's squad, but after analysing those potentially affected, this is most likely to ensure a positive change.
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