Arsenal Transfer News: Latest on Sami Khedira and Top Gunners Rumours

Stuart Newman@@StuNewmanSportFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19:  Gareth Bale of Real Madrid CF is congradulated by Sami Khedira after he was awarded a penalty kick during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Malaga CF at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on October 19, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Before the season got underway, you’d struggle to find a set of football fans in the world more deliriously optimistic than Arsenal supporters.

New signings brought about new confidence at the Emirates, but the way that the season has started hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.

Poor performances, points dropped, several injuries, there can only be one solution: spending.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal reacts during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Arsenal FC and Galatasaray AS at Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Ima
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Only Manchester United’s billion-pound-backed thirst for supremacy saw them spend more than Arsenal during the recent transfer window, but one player slipped through the Gunners’ fingers.

Real Madrid star Sami Khedira was at the forefront of the rumour mill throughout the summer, and staying put in the Spanish capital was the last thing that anyone expected.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 05:  Sami Khedira of Real Madrid runs with the ball during the La Liga match between Levante UD and Real Madrid at Ciutat de Valencia on October 5, 2013 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

However, with the German’s contract at the Bernabeu expiring next summer, clubs could have another chance to secure his signature on a free transfer—and Arsenal will be one of many clubs looking to do just that.

Though the competition will be fierce, it’s safe to say that Arsene Wenger’s men are the club most in need of Khedira’s brilliance, with defensive midfield options not exactly at a premium at the Emirates.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  A dejected Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal after conceding the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on March 29, 2014 in London,
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

It seems that Real are keen to extend Khedira’s deal, though, as manager Carlo Ancelotti told AS that should the World Cup winner want a new contract, he’ll get one—via Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal of International Business Times:

We have until June to reach an agreement with him. If he wants to sign an extension, the club will renew him. If not, he will leave the team at the end of the season.

LA CORUNA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Head Coach Carlo Ancelotti of Real Madrid CF looks on during the La Liga match between RC Deportivo La Coruna and Real Madrid CF at Riazor Stadium on September 20, 2014 in La Coruna, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Im
David Ramos/Getty Images

It’s all very simple in Ancelotti’s terms, but with so many clubs chasing Khedira’s signature, it’s far from it, in fact. However, Arsenal have a trick up their sleeve.

According to Paul Smith of the London Evening Standard, the Gunners will be using their current German recruits to tempt the Real Madrid man into a move, with Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker reportedly making contact with their international team-mate over coming to north London.

Khedira’s wage demands saw the move fall through during the summer, but if Arsenal can negotiate a free transfer before the season’s climax, then they can finally offer the German the astronomical pay packet he wants.

BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Per Mertersacker, Benedikt Hoewedes, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Ron-Robert Zieler  celebrate during the German team victory ceremony on July 15, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match against
Pool/Getty Images

While parting with excess of £150,000 per week for a player is a classic case of football lunacy, it could well be worth it; and Arsenal legend Robert Pires agrees.

Speaking with Dean Nelson of the Daily Telegraph, the Frenchman said that Khedira is the midfield leader that Arsenal need to bring them back to the top of the English game:

The quality is there but you need more, maybe [someone] like Yaya Toure in middle. He reminds me of Patrick Vieira, maybe they have an opportunity with Khedira. It is likely in the January window. He played very well with Germany. My advice is if he can buy Khedira he can be the [new] Vieira, more aggression in the middle. He has a lot of experience. When you play in the middle you need experience, especially when your midfield is young like Arsenal's.

LONDON - APRIL 25: Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Ashley Cole of Arsenal celebrate after the second goal during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on April 25, 2004 in London.  (P
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Based on the summer debacle, there’s no telling exactly where the latest Khedira transfer saga will go, but the fact remains that Wenger needs to act fast if he wants to get the German in red.

Elsewhere, Celtic star Virgil van Dijk has been linked to a move to the Emirates, with Sami Mokbel of MailOnline reporting that a £7 million January switch is on the cards.

SALZBURG,AUSTRIA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Virgil van Dijk of Celtic in action during the UEFA Europa League Group D match between FC Salzburg and Celtic FC on September 18, 2014 in Salzburg,Austria. (Photo by Samuel Kubani/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

The 23-year-old has been one of the club’s standout performers in the Scottish Premiership since signing from Dutch side Groningen in 2013, and it’s unsurprising to see Wenger monitoring his progress.

As journalist Henrik Hindby revealed, the Gunners boss sent scouts to watch Van Dijk at the start of the month, and the feedback he received was enough to prepare a bid:

With long-term fitness a major concern in the Arsenal camp, Van Dijk would be a solid solution to the problem. And as he has plenty of room for progression, a bright future could beckon should the Dutchman head to the Emirates.

Either way, Arsenal simply need to sign some defensive cover in January or their season will once again peter out into nothingness.

Locking down a world-class defensive midfielder like Khedira will undoubtedly be the priority, but getting a youngster of Van Dijk’s calibre in isn’t a bad second prize.


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