Real Madrid's lack of urgency will drag out Khedira move
There were cries of “Arsenal, Arsenal!” at Germany’s World Cup celebrations in Berlin today. They appeared to come from the mouth of Lukas Podolski in response to Sami Khedira being asked about his future.
As Arsène Wenger’s German reunification plans continue – if he signs, Khedira will be back alongside Mesut Özil, his team-mate at Real Madrid and in the Germany 2009 Under-21 European Championship-winning side that beat England 4-0 in the final – what seems most clear cut is that Khedira will not be at Real Madrid when the transfer window closes.
The midfielder has no intention of signing a new deal in Madrid, and with one year left on his existing contract, Real want to sell him now instead of losing him for nothing in the summer of 2015.
But what may yet draw out the deal is Real Madrid’s lack of urgency. Khedira has just become only the 10th player in history to win the World Cup and the Champions League in the same year and his performances in Brazil have pushed up his price.
The player’s demands are also likely to slow down the operation. His net salary of €3.2m leaves him down at the bottom of Real Madrid’s pay scale. He has long since felt undervalued and is now asking for something in the region of £150,000 a week from what will be the main contract of his playing career.
Sceptical voices at Arsenal have noted that injury meant he actually played very little part in Real Madrid’s Champions League-winning season, returning only for the final. He is 27 and available for nothing in a year, so although the club’s willingness to spend appears to have increased dramatically in the last 12 months, an asking price of £25m is unlikely to be met.
Khedira’s reputation as a “soldier” player who will carry out orders to the letter on the pitch helped make him a favourite of Jose Mourinho, who signed him on the basis of his intelligence and character – and his 2010 World Cup performance statistics, that had him covering more ground than all but three of the other players in the tournament, and coming out top in terms of what Fifa’s number crunchers called “intensive activity time”.
Madrid would naturally welcome a bidding war for the player they signed from Stuttgart in 2010 for around £8m – precisely as he was about to enter his last season under contract.
Real hope to unveil the Germany midfielder Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich this week prior to their summer tour of the United States, which comprises matches against Internazionale, Roma and Manchester United on 26 and 29 July and 2 August.
Khedira is not due back in training until 5 August. Today he was busy celebrating Germany’s World Cup success with Podolski, Özil and Per Mertesacker who could all soon become club team-mates.
What all sides will want to avoid is a repeat of last pre-season when Manchester United made a £34m bid for the player too late to beat the transfer deadline.