Arsenal target Germany duo Sami Khedira and Lars Bender following signing of Alexis Sanchez
Published 12/07/2014 | 15:32
Arsène Wenger is preparing to follow up the signing of Alexis Sanchez with a new holding midfielder and has made enquiries over this past week on Germany internationals Sami Khedira and Lars Bender.
Arsenal are also now finalising deals for two new right-backs, with Mathieu Debuchy’s £10 million move from Newcastle due to be confirmed in the next 48 hours and Atletico Madrid's Javi Manquillo also ready to arrive, probably on loan.
It is the possible addition of Khedira or Bender, however, that will most excite Arsenal fans and serve as further evidence, following the acquisitions of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil over the past year, that Wenger is again able to compete for the world’s best players.
Khedira has been one of the best midfielders at the World Cup and, although he has only got one year left on his contract at Real Madrid, the Champions League winners would still demand in excess of £20 million.
Madrid have also held talks with Khedira about a potential new contract and, while the 27-year-old would be interested in following Germany team-mates Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski to London, Arsenal would also face competition from across Europe.
After having a £19 million bid rejected last summer, Wenger is also still a big admirer of Bender, who is younger and likely to be cheaper than Khedira. Bender was in Joachim Low’s provisional 30-man Germany World Cup squad but was forced to withdraw following a thigh injury.
The arrivals of Manquillo and Debuchy will almost certainly mean that Carl Jenkinson will be loaned out this season, with Wenger keen for him to play regularly at this stage in his development. Newcastle and Stoke City are among the clubs who would be interested in recruiting Jenkinson. Arsenal and Atletico are still in talks over whether the Manquillo deal should be permanent or simply a one-year loan.
Having completed his medical on Thursday before being confirmed as Arsenal’s most expensive ever striker, Sanchez is now excited by the prospect of playing in the same team as Ozil. “With Ozil in the squad Arsenal were (close) to winning the league title,” said Sanchez. “The team not only plays really good football, but the squad is really good and we can win silverware. We can achieve big things.
"Playing regularly wasn't the only reason why I came here – I came here to win the league title, the Champions League.”
As was the case with Ozil’s signing last summer, the personal touch of Wenger was critical in making the deal happen. It is understood that Sanchez also took the advice of Cesc Fabregas, his former Barcelona team-mate, before choosing Arsenal above both Liverpool and Juventus.
“I know this club has a manager that looks after his players and takes care of them as well,” said Sanchez. “I was told that he is a manager you can learn a lot with. He wants to achieve great things in football and that helped me make the decision to sign for Arsenal. Arsène Wenger's style of play is the sort of style the Chilean national team has, so therefore I am used to it.
“The manager has mentioned some certain positions, but I am not worried about it right now. The manager and I will talk about my role as soon as I start training.”