Sport Premier League

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Wenger turns sights on £24m Carvalho as doubts surface over injury-prone Khedira

Matt Law

Published 05/08/2014 | 02:30

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Sami Khedira's injury history is putting Arsenal off a move for the Real Madrid midfielder. Photo: Simon Hofmann/Bongarts/Getty Images
Sami Khedira's injury history is putting Arsenal off a move for the Real Madrid midfielder. Photo: Simon Hofmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Sami Khedira's injury record has raised doubts inside Arsenal over whether he should become their next big signing and, combined with his wage demands, have caused the club's interest in Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho to grow.

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Despite already spending £60m this summer, Arsenal are still searching for a dominant holding midfielder and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger last week confirmed his interest in the German World Cup winner.

Arsenal would have to commit to a deal worth more than £50m between a transfer fee and wages to land Khedira. Real Madrid are demanding a fee of around £24m for the 27-year-old, who would want a four-year contract worth £150,000 a week.

The figures involved are made more intimidating when Khedira's injury record is taken into consideration. He missed five months of last season after suffering a cruciate-ligament rupture and was forced to sit out the World Cup final because of a calf injury sustained in the pre-match warm-up.

During four years at Real, Khedira has missed a total of 68 games through injury. Arsenal have suffered badly with injuries over recent years and there is a reluctance to take any risks with a player who has a history of spending time on the treatment table.

The Gunners have tried to address their injury problems by appointing fitness expert Shad Forsythe, who has a unique insight into Khedira's fitness. Forsythe has been the Germany fitness coach for the past 10 years and worked with Khedira at the World Cup in Brazil.

Khedira's future should become clearer this week once he has returned to pre-season training in Madrid and Arsenal could yet move for the player if the figures involved drop or their fitness fears are allayed.

Carvalho presents a younger and cheaper option to Khedira, even though his Sporting Lisbon buy-out clause is set at £35m.

Sources in Portugal believe Carvalho could be allowed to leave for £24m and the 22-year-old is believed to be one of the lowest-paid big-name players in Europe.

One complication to any bid for Carvalho, and establishing exactly how much he would need to be paid by Arsenal, is the fact he is co-owned. Sporting own a 60pc share of the player, with Sporting Portugal Fund controlling the other 40pc.

Arsenal, meanwhile, will be heading to Wembley on Sunday, just 12 weeks on from their giddy drought-ending FA Cup triumph there.

It is a sign of Arsenal's long years of drift that this will be their first time to play in the Community Shield since 2005, which was their fourth consecutive appearance.

While Wenger could well deploy Alexis Sanchez, his £35m arrival from Barcelona, up front on his own, he might spare the Chile international of the work-load.

Yaya Sanogo impressed more than any other Arsenal player in the Emirates Cup, scoring four goals against Benfica last Saturday, and because of that he might well be the one to get the chance to partner Sanchez.

In contrast to Olivier Giroud, Sanogo – who did not have the World Cup to occupy him this summer – seems to have come back fitter than ever and Wenger has high hopes for the 21-year-old Frenchman.

"Sanogo was injured for basically two years before he came to us," said the Arsenal manager.

"Before he got injured, his goal-scoring record was quite frightening. He has a big future here. He has something of Emmanuel Adebayor. He is strong, a strong body, similar strengths, but also technical skill." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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