27-year-old Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira signed for the European champions in 2010 from Stuttgart but the Germany international is presently linked with a move to Arsenal where he could join his compatriots Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker after the World Cup.
However, closer to home, Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin picked up the plaudits this term for a superb debut season in the Premier League with the Saints. The 24-year-old is the lesser known of the two holding midfielders and would likely be the cheaper option but the France international would represent a quality signing for the Gunners.
Schneiderlin is already acclimatised to the Premier League, for starters, which Khedira is not having played in Spain and his native Germany. Schneiderlin made 33 appearances for Southampton, scored two goals and made one assist whilst Khedira made just 13 appearances for Real Madrid, scored one goal and made one assists in La Liga.
Of course, goals and assists are not the main jurisdiction of a defensive midfielder – Schneiderlin made 3.4 tackles per game last term, more than twice than Khedira’s 1.1 tackler per game.
The Frenchman also made twice as many interceptions, 2.1 per game to Khedira’s one per game, and almost twice as many clearances, 0.4 per game to Khedira’s 0.8 on average. However, Khedira was dribbled by an opponent less often than his Southampton counterpart, just 0.5 times per game to Schneiderlin’s 1.2 on average and conceded fewer fouls, 1.2 per game to Schneiderlin’s 1.5 on average.
The Saints’ man also achieved a higher pass completion rate of 89.3% to Khedira’s 86.5%. They completed the same number of key passes per game on average (0.9) and Schniederlin was also the more comfortable in possession, averaging 0.6 dribbles per game to Khedira’s 0.5.
Overall, the stats suggest Morgan Schneiderlin would be the better signing – apart from being more comfortable in possession, more accurate with his passing, and more defensively effective, he is also younger, already adapted to the English game and would likely be the cheaper of the two.