A decade without silverware saw Arsenal become the nearly men of English football—a club with so much promise, but so little bottle.
However, last season’s FA Cup triumph means that those days are over, and manager Arsene Wenger is now ready to lead his side into the next generation of success.
The Frenchman has been incredibly busy over the summer drafting in top-quality players to lead the revolution, and his world-class puzzle is very near completion.
With big-name players’ services secured in several key areas of the pitch, Wenger’s attention now turns to the middle, where he’s hoping to bring in a talented defensive midfielder to shore up his back line.
One of those targets is Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira, whose transfer saga feels like it’s been unfolding for a generation now.
It could all be coming to a close soon, though, as Wenger seemingly needs to act fast if he’s to lure the German to the Emirates.
As Ben Jefferson of the Express reports, Bayern Munich have devised a plan to snatch Khedira from Arsenal’s grasp, promising him the lucrative contract that he had previously been demanding.
The 28-year-old’s demands currently stand around £134,000 per week according to Metro—a figure that has reportedly been reduced considerably—but Bayern will be willing to push Khedira’s salary up to around the £150,000-per-week mark should he choose to make the switch to Munich.
However, the Bundesliga champions won’t be making a bid for Khedira this summer according to Jefferson, as they’re looking to hold out and wait for him to become available on a free transfer.
That’ll be the case this time next year according to Transfermarkt, and with no mammoth transfer fee for Bayern to pay, it’s easy to see why the club would lean towards offering a large weekly fee for Khedira’s services.
Though playing at the Allianz Arena may well appeal to the German more, Real will be doing everything in their power to force Khedira to London.
Should Bayern’s plan of landing Khedira next summer work, it would mean Real miss out on a hefty transfer fee for the World Cup winner, so the powers-that-be at the Bernabeu will be hoping that Arsenal’s budget manages to stretch just enough to make the move happen.
They’re not the only ones that want Khedira at the Emirates, though, as Arsenal star Lukas Podolski revealed to Sport Bild that he too wants his international colleague in north London, promising fun times with the fellow Germans in the Gunners’ camp—per David Kent of the Daily Mail:
“I didn't have to [try to convince Khedira to join Arsenal]. Sami knows how much fun he could have with me, Mesut [Ozil] and Per [Mertesacker] at Arsenal. We had a great time together at the World Cup and I would like it very much if he comes to London.”
It’s all just a question of finances, but if Wenger deems Khedira not worth shelling out for, then the club will be forced to look elsewhere.
Standing elsewhere is Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho, who isn’t exactly a cheap alternative to the German.
As Jamie Sanderson of Metro reports, the Portuguese midfielder has a release clause of £35 million, but the Gunners are keen to drive that figure down on their quest to capture the youngster.
The club recently saw a bid of €30 million for Carvalvo rejected by Sporting Lisbon, per Pete O’Rourke of Sky Sports, but they’ve now been given a huge boost in the transfer saga.
Reports in Portugal claim Sporting Lisbon have rejected a €30million bid from Arsenal for William Carvalho. #AFC— Pete O'Rourke (@SkySportsPeteO) July 20, 2014
As Record revealed, reported via Sanderson, the 22-year-old has been placed up for sale by Sporting, giving Arsenal an invitation to table another, improved offer.
Sanderson writes that the Portuguese club are keen to cash in on their star man to raise funds for new signings, but they will only accept a smaller fee than the release clause if they get all of the cash up front.
Such a demand shouldn’t be a problem for the Gunners, and while Khedira’s ability goes without question, Carvalho would be a great, long-term solution to Wenger’s search for midfield stability.
Six years Khedira’s junior, the Portugal international proved last term that he has all the credentials of a first-rate midfielder, with his tough-tackling style and distribution at a high level for a player of such a tender age.
He certainly fits Wenger’s transfer policy more than Khedira, too, as nurturing young stars into the prime of their careers is somewhat the Frenchman’s speciality.
Which defensive midfielder is the better signing for Arsenal?
There’s no doubt that Khedira would have a big impact this season, but the financial side of the move means that it’s leaning towards more of a panic buy than an intelligent investment, and Wenger may just favour Carvalho with that in mind.
Either way, the Arsenal boss will need to dip his hands into his deep pockets once again, but with his ambitions now going beyond just a fourth-place finish in the Premier League, that much appears a certainty.
With either Khedira or Carvalho in Arsenal’s setup, you can’t help but question where exactly the weak link of the club lies, making for a very exciting season in north London.