Following the news that Sami Khedira will miss the next six months of the season with a cruciate ligament injury, any lingering hopes English clubs had of signing him in January were quickly lost.
Of the sides most regularly linked with the Real Madrid midfielder, Chelsea appeared his most likely destination, with his former manager Jose Mourinho seemingly keen to be reunited with the German, in so doing bolstering a midfield that is arguably one player short of being complete.
His long-term absence means he will remain in Spain until at least the summer, at which point expect the rumours to begin again.
But while Real were reportedly willing to let the German leave should a suitable offer be received, his unavailability in the interim may in fact render any future move if not impossible then certainly unlikely.
The old saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve gone” could prove to be apt in the case of Real Madrid and, in particular, Carlo Ancelotti.
While Xabi Alonso has made a welcome return following an injury of his own, the loss of Khedira is huge.
The next six months will give Real a glimpse of what life would be like without the German to call upon. If they excel in his absence, a move could still happen, but if they suffer – at least in some of the bigger matches – the possibility of selling him for any price could suddenly become moot.
As much as Khedira defends he also does excellent work further up the pitch, and given the attacking flair ahead of him, his ability to play box-to-box is vital.
In truth – and especially given the uncertainty surrounding Alonso’s future – Khedira was probably never going anywhere. But now that may be doubly-so: his injury robbing Real of an integral player, and reminding them of the need to tie him to a new contract as soon as possible.
image: © Jan S0L0