Arsenal are reportedly still looking at adding both William Carvalho and Sami Khedira, but the former should take priority if the Gunners plan on addressing the holding midfielder position with just one player.
Lots of conflicting reports have been published in the last few days regarding both players, and the only thing that's clear at this point is that the Gunners are in the market for another holding midfielder.
According to Ojogo (h/t to the Daily Mail's James Andrew), the club is close to sealing a deal for Sporting's Carvalho, worth £24 million. However, the Daily Express' Ben Jefferson knows the Gunners are still keeping an eye on how contract negotiations go between Khedira and Real Madrid.
Jefferson says Khedira would prefer to remain in the Spanish capital but that he was none too impressed by Los Blancos' initial offer:
Khedira's preference remains to sign a new deal with Real, but the player was not impressed by the Spanish club's offer earlier in the summer. Carlo Ancelotti has refused to speculate about Khedira's future but it seems that things could become a lot clearer after tomorrow [Tuesday].
Now, should the finances allow it, it's perfectly possible the Gunners could opt to sign both players. Between Carvalho's young age and Khedira's lengthy injury history, a double-dip should be considered a safe move.
Those finances could be an issue, however. Should Sporting accept Arsenal's £24 million offer, as Ojogo suggests, he would instantly become one of the most expensive signings in club history. Jefferson suggests Khedira would even trump that fee, at £30 million.
There's little doubt both players would have a major impact on this current Arsenal team. As the more experienced and established player, Khedira would arguably transform the Gunners into an instant title contender.
Jan Aage Fjortoft loves the idea of Arsenal adding the World Cup winner:
IF! If Arsenal are going for Khedira, I think it's a wise move. Can give their midfield better balance. #afc— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) August 4, 2014
Khedira has the size and motor necessary to be successful at the position, even if he doesn't play a particularly physical brand of football. His skills as a distributor are more than solid, and he always finds ways to contribute further up the pitch as well.
Carvalho is more of an old-school thumper. He's far more technically able than people give him credit for, but his biggest strength is the way he's able to dominate opposing players in the centre of the pitch.
The Irish Examiner's Tony Leen also believes that transfer would be a definite possibility:
Lots of folk asking whether Carvalho-to-Arsenal will happen. I don't make such decisions. But, as tweeted, willing vendor, willing buyer...— Tony Leen (@tonyleen) August 4, 2014
If the Gunners were forced to choose between the two, Khedira would undoubtedly have the biggest immediate impact. The 27-year-old played an integral part in Germany's World Cup run (although he missed the final with an injury) and is at the very peak of his abilities.
But Arsene Wenger has never been one to prioritise immediate impact over a player's long-term potential, and faced with a choice between the two, he would have to choose the Portuguese international.
Most people know Carvalho from Youtube highlight videos and the high praise he's always receiving from scouts, but those who follow Portuguese football know there is a lot more to the 22-year-old than just potential.
Carvalho was the heart and soul of Sporting in 2013-14. He was elite protecting the back four, but more importantly, he made the team's midfield tick. When the club faced eventual champions Benfica without him, Sporting looked lost.
Who should the Gunners prioritise?
He's already playing like a man amongst boys, and he was one of the few Portuguese internationals to return from the 2014 World Cup with his head held high. Pace, vision, brute strength, football IQ—you name it. Carvalho ticks all the boxes.
He also wouldn't come with the same wage demands the German international would have, and with the report Khedira will talk to Real Madrid first, Carvalho would be available for transfer right now.
Khedira would be an excellent signing for the Gunners, and in a perfect world, Wenger would find a way to sign and accommodate them both. But whether it's his lower wages, long-term potential or clean bill of health, Carvalho's signature should take priority over Khedira's.