Real Madrid are reportedly looking to move Sami Khedira during the 2014 summer transfer window to avoid losing him for free in 2015, and Los Blancos are making the smart decision in doing so.
Arsenal are one of the clubs rumoured to be interested in the services of the German international, and as reported by Metro's Jamie Sanderson, Arsene Wenger refused to rule out a transfer for the experienced midfielder.
When asked about Khedira, the Frenchman replied, "I don’t want to give you any names. We are not close to signing anybody at the moment."
The very next thing he did was, you guessed it, give names, ruling out transfers for a host of other players like Juan Quintero and Mario Balotelli, per the club's Twitter account and Spanish football insider Sergi Dominguez:
Arsene Wenger said there's no truth in Montero talks. Also ruled out the possibility of signing Balotelli. Refused to talk about Khedira.— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) August 1, 2014
According to Marca (h/t to the Daily Mirror's Ben Burrows), Bayern Munich could be looking to sign Khedira on a free transfer during the next summer window, something Los Blancos want to avoid at all cost:
Marca say that Bayern Munich have emerged as suitors for Khedira, and are keen on snapping him up on a free next summer when his contract expires. As such Los Blancos are said to be keen to cash in this offseason and avoid losing the midfielder for nothing in 12 months time.
Khedira was excellent for Germany during the 2014 World Cup, and it stands to reason Real Madrid would rather not sell one of the world's top holding midfielders. Xabi Alonso holds the same distinction, but Real's depth behind those two isn't exactly stellar.
Asier Illarramendi would become the primary backup to Alonso, and while the 24-year-old is supremely talented, he isn't nearly the kind of force Khedira can be at this stage of his career.
And yet despite that depth, Real would still be wise to sell. The summer of 2014 has been an expensive one, and while Real aren't exactly cash-strapped, any transfer fee for Khedira could only help lighten the load of the club's current debt, per AS:
Total Madrid bank debt is 90 million, total debt to other clubs, government, suppliers, players etc is 541 million. It's doubled since 2000.— AS English (@English_AS) October 8, 2013
With UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations as they are, losing a player on a free transfer is bad business. Any kind of return for a player who will be leaving the Spanish capital in 12 months anyway is a welcome bonus.
Khedira has told the club his departure is a certainty, according to El Confidencial (h/t to the Daily Express' James Dickenson). He's reportedly pushing for a move in 2014, and it's clear he no longer wants to be with Real.
His value on the pitch is high, but the man's injury history reads like something of a horror story. He missed a large chunk of the 2013-14 season, was nursed back to health just in time for the Champions League final and World Cup and subsequently missed the final against Argentina with...an injury.
Real are undoubtedly a better team with Khedira available to them, but it seems like half the time they can't count on him to actually play. Meanwhile, his presence is blocking the development of Illarramendi.
Should Real Madrid sell Khedira in 2014?
Los Blancos didn't pay Real Sociedad £32.8 million for the youngster for nothing, per Sky Sports. The Spaniard has a bright future ahead of him, provided he gets the chance to continue his development.
His first season in the Spanish capital didn't play out as he would have hoped, but the midfielder was far from terrible. Younger players who make the transition to a top club often make a huge jump in their second year, and Illarramendi will be looking to make a similar impact.
By cashing in on Khedira while they still can, Real would give Illarramendi the perfect opportunity to do just that. Alonso is still a part of the team, so if the plan doesn't work out, Los Blancos don't have to worry about covering the position.
Khedira is as good as gone, and Los Blancos may as well make sure he doesn't walk for free. The pieces are there for Real to cope with his absence, so if Arsenal (or another club) present the Champions League holders with the right offer, Real shouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger.