Despite a summer of transfer tales, Arsenal will not be signing Sami Khedira in the current window.
"The issue with Khedira has also been resolved," he told the newspaper. "He’s staying and we’re happy that’s the case."
The "issue" in question was a contractual dispute. Khedira's deal with Madrid is set to expire next summer, and he and the club had reached a standoff. That had led to speculation he could move to Arsenal, but that case now appears to be closed.
Arsenal fans will have mixed feelings. Khedira is obviously a top player with huge international pedigree. He would have added depth and power to Arsenal’s midfield options and relegated the erratic Jack Wilshere to the bench.
However, there’s no need to mourn too much. Although Khedira is patently an excellent footballer, he’s not necessarily the man Arsenal need. He’s a box-to-box midfielder, and the Gunners are already blessed with arguably the best box-to-box player in the Premier League in Welsh tyro Aaron Ramsey.
Fielding both Ramsey and Khedira may have left Arsenal with a midfield that was too cavalier to protect the back four.
What Arsene Wenger really requires is a defensive midfield player.
With Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini both approaching the twilight of their careers, fresh legs are needed in the holding role.
Arsenal fans will be particularly encouraged by the links with Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho. Carvalho is a powerhouse defensive midfielder who is capable of providing an anchoring presence that allows more creative talents to flourish.
According to Jamie Anderson of the Express, Sporting are prepared to negotiate over the fee for Carvalho, and are even considering the possibility of a part-exchange arrangement:
Portuguese reports claim Lisbon are prepared to accept a significantly reduced fee of £24m for their coveted star, £11m less than had originally been expected.
Marco Silva's side do have additional requests if Arsenal land the Portugal star, and have demanded Carvalho be loaned back for the season until a replacement can be found.
It is also said that Lisbon are keen on a number of Gunners stars including Yaya Sanogo, Serge Gnabry, Francis Coquelin and Ryo Miyaichi that could result in a part-exchange deal for the 22-year-old.
Carvalho would be a far more suitable acquisition for Arsenal than Khedira. Unlike Ramsey, he is not inclined to join up with the attackers in the final third. He would be more akin to former Gunner Gilberto Silva, whose defensive discipline earned him the nickname "The Invisible Wall."
Arsenal should not spend too much time dwelling on missing out on Khedira. Instead, they should move on to more sensible targets. Carvalho’s name should now move to the top of their list of transfer targets.
James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2014/15 season. Follow him on Twitter here.
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