Arsenal continue to be linked with a move for a holding midfielder before the end of the 2014 summer transfer window, and if the latest reports are to be believed, the Gunners are in excellent position to add to their squad.
Sami Khedira has reportedly been on Arsene Wenger's radar for a long time now, and the Gunners were given some good news on Thursday. Meanwhile, former Queens Park Rangers midfielder Stephane Mbia could be a surprise target and a cheaper alternative to the experienced German.
Khedira Not in Real Madrid's Super Cup Squad
The German international wasn't even given a spot on the bench for Los Blancos' 2-0 win over Sevilla in Cardiff, and according to Marca (h/t to 101greatgoals.com's Ben Green), his days in the Spanish capital are numbered.
Carlo Ancelotti told reporters he had no intentions of letting Khedira leave before the end of his contract on Tuesday, as reported by Goal.com (for Fox Sports), but the Super Cup snub tells a different story.
The Italian coach said: "He's not leaving, he's a Real Madrid player. He has a contract until June 30, 2015, and that's all there is to say."
According to Marca, Khedira's representatives have made it very clear their client will not be signing a new deal with Real Madrid, and his absence from the squad on Tuesday indicates Los Blancos are ready to move on from the World Cup winner.
The Daily Express' Anthony Chapman believes Khedira would prefer a move to Chelsea, but the Blues have already invested heavily in their midfield in 2014 and could prefer to approach the situation with caution.
Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez believes Bayern Munich could also be in the mix for the player:
There was a few talks of Guardiola being interested in Khedira earlier this summer. Bayern could move for him now.— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) August 14, 2014
The Bavarians could move following the news star midfielder Javi Martinez will be out for at least the remainder of the year with an ACL injury, per Bundesliga4U's Tom Rowland:
Real bad news for Bayern Munich as Javi Martinez is out for six months with a cruciate ligament injury. Huge blow. #FCBayern— Tom Rowland (@TWRowland) August 14, 2014
Wage demands remain an issue for the Gunners, with both Chelsea and Bayern showing more willingness to break the bank. Arsenal do have several German internationals already playing for the team, which could give them an advantage over Chelsea.
Wenger Considering Free-Agent Mbia
Mbia impressed on loan with Sevilla last season, but was subsequently released by QPR. The Gunners could move for the Cameroon international in order to add some cheap depth to the position, per the Daily Star's David Woods.
While a move for the 28-year-old will hardly inspire a fanbase hoping for the arrival of a star, Mbia could be an underrated value signing with low wages and the experience to contribute off the bench.
Mbia has flown under the radar in England, but his play for Sevilla in 2013-14 was impressive. He was an instrumental part of the team's midfield unit, forming one of Spain's best central duos with Ivan Rakitic. WhoScored awarded him with a match average of 7.18 or higher for every club competition he played in.
The Gunners have looked very solid during pre-season, and easily defeated reigning Premier League champions Manchester City during the Community Shield, instilling the belief the club don't need to invest heavily in another star to solidify the holding midfielder position.
Mbia would cost the club very little, and if he can replicate the form he showed on loan in Spain, he would easily be one of the league's top backups at the position and could even push the regular starters for some playing time.