Arsenal are reportedly giving up on recruiting Real Madrid and Germany midfielder and instead turning toward Sporting Lisbon and Portugal man.
Discussions with both Real Madrid and Sami Khedira reportedly waned in recent days as Arsenal were allegedly put off by the German's wage demands.
Spanish reports just nine days ago intimated that the World Cup winner was "hours" away from agreeing a contract with the Gunners as the player had heard nothing but positive things about the club from his international team-mate and close friend Mesut Ozil.
Now, though, it is understood that manager Arsene Wenger is keen to reassess the defensive midfield options and has turned toward a long-term target of Manchester United's - William Carvalho, of Sporting Lisbon.
The Daily Star claims Wenger has already made one offer for the 22-year-old, who featured twice for Portugal at the recent international tournament in Brazil, but the £24 million bid was rejected (the offer to Real Madrid for Khedira was believed to be £23.04 million).
Should Wenger wish to have success at the negotiating table then he will need to substantially increase the bid so that it is closer to the player's contractual release clause; £37 million.
But is he worth it and, considering his age, does his potential and resale value justify such an increase in cost compared to Khedira?
|2014 FIFA World Cup||Nation||Pos||Mins / Tackle||Mins / Intercept||Mins / Duel Won||Mins / Aerial Won||Mins / Concession||Pass Acc||Apps||Mins|
While German midfielder Sami Khedira competed in more games at the World Cup than Portugal star Carvalho, it is the latter who was more prolific in the tackle, attempting a challenge once every 17 minutes compared to the former who attempted a tackle every two hours on average.
Carvalho was also more on point when it came to intercepting the football, overall dueling and passing accuracy.
Khedira is a unique commodity in world football, though. He is not a classic breaker-of-plays like most defensive midfielders and arguably one of his greatest strengths is his probing runs and contributions in the attacking third, where he has an edge over the most positionally-stringent Carvalho - a classic holding midfielder.
Arsenal were frequently unstuck last season against the domestic elite. Part of that may have been down to tactical naivety on Wenger's part, but it also could have largely been down to quality of the personnel available.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was able to select two defensively-minded midfielders for games against the bigger clubs both domestically and aboard, while Wenger was not afforded that luxury, however, with Carvalho lining up alongside Mathieu Flamini, or even Aaron Ramsey, the Gunners would have two players protecting the back four who can both offer robustness and authority in the challenge.