Currently sidelined with a ruptured cruciate ligament, an injury that has prevented him from Real Madrid action for a five month period, Sami Khedira has found himself the centre of transfer speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea, where his former manager at Los Blancos - Jose Mourinho - is reportedly willing to bid £36m for him in order to provide more cohesion to his side's defensive and offensive moves from midfield positions.
Mourinho has a unique relationship with Khedira. There is no doubt that the Portuguese has his manager's/teacher's pets. There are clearly those he has love for - Didier Drogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Frank Lampard - and those who, whilst talented, are deemed expendable; such as Juan Mata.
Khedira is in the camp of the former - and the manager's staunch defence of the German, amid perpetual criticism from the Spanish media in 2012, is testament to this as Mourinho lauded the player the very best in his position.
Khedira is a primary non-combative defence-minded midfielder akin to the pass-and-move displays Premier League audiences are familiar with from talents such as Manchester United's controller Michael Carrick, Arsenal's experienced head Mikel Artera and Liverpool's flourishing player Joe Allen.
Khedira is the type of player the majority of sports writers and fans do not talk up when he is playing, but notice when he is not. He has that Gilberto Silva or Claude Makelele effect, not in terms of a positional sense but in under-appreciation factor.
It is no surprise Mourinho is rumoured to be in pursuit of Khedira, 27, a player he bought in 2010 as he sought to recreate the type of footballing spine that had served him well in past teams, consisting of the classic goalkeeper, solid centre back, defensively strong midfielder, playmaker forward and hulking striker.
The fact he has received criticism in his current stint as Chelsea boss, as he apparently focuses too much on the defensive approach first and foremost, is an indication that Mourinho understands the current flaws of his starting XI and sought to keep things tight until he could bolster his Blues with the classic Jose spine recreation.
Khedira could be a part of that, as he would join Nemanja Matic or Ramires in midfield, looking to capitalise on the balls won by the Serbian and then play his short passes to those around him, such as Oscar, Willian and, if he remains at Stamford Bridge; Eden Hazard.
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When it comes to statistical comparison, Sami is let down on the actual breaking up of play, particularly when compared to his potential future midfield partner Matic, but also Arteta (1.1 tackle and interception per game for Khedira, next to 3.3 and 2.0 for Mikel). The only player who attempts fewer passes per appearance is Joe Allen, on 34 compared to Khedira's 45, while Carrick is far ahead on 72 - with a superior accuracy than the Real Madrid man, too.
Positionally, Khedira leaves his zone more frequently than Carrick, something which numbers cannot truly represent in this instance. While the United star sits deep and plays simple, precise passes, Khedira may roam slightly forward, in a box-to-box sense but in a lite version and not to the same level as players like Aaron Ramsey.
It is unclear whether Khedira would be the ideal man to partner Matic in midfield… he did, after all, thrive more when slotted next to Xabi Alonso, who was, and is, far more adventurous in the pass than Matic, analogous to a quarterback due to how deep he would play-make. At Chelsea, the two in the 4-2-3-1 may well become too defensive, with no swift link between the two and the three, or even the two and the one.
For the estimated transfer figure being mooted, the money could be better spent on a player who can have a greater influence on individual matches, who receives far more touches of the football and attempts more passes than a mere 45 per outing.