Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira should be Arsene Wenger’s top transfer target this winter.
Khedira, 27, was linked with a move to Arsenal throughout the summer following the arrival of Toni Kroos at the Bernabeu, but the German World Cup-winner’s wage demands were said to have been too high for Arsene Wenger’s liking at the time.
Nevertheless, with his contract set to expire next summer, and having seen his first-team opportunities limited, the former Stuttgart man is understood to be weighing up his options ahead of the New Year.
Real manager Carlo Ancelotti has said in the past that he would like to keep his unsettled stalwart at the club, but with reports that Cruzeiro star Lucas Silva is being lined up as a £12 million replacement, the Brazilian’s potential winter arrival in the Spanish capital could well deem him expendable.
With Arsenal’s lack of defensive midfield options well-documented and Jack Wilshere ruled out for around three months following ankle ligament damage, Merson argues that the 53-times capped international has to be top of Wenger’s wishlist.
“You hope so. It’s perhaps a blessing in disguise with the injuries,” he told Soccer Saturday. “If they didn’t have any perhaps Arsene might just decide to stay with what he’s got.
“But for me, I think they need Khedira. In my opinion he’s world class. When you’re at Arsenal you need those players and I think he fits the bill for them.
“He can play as a holding midfield player and gets around the pitch, which the other two [Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini] don’t do anymore. They’re good footballers but they don’t cover the ground anymore.
“As a holding midfield player nowadays, you need to do a bit more than just sitting in front of the back four.
“You need to go across, move and break things up, and I just don’t see those two being able to do that anymore.”
While Arsenal reportedly have serious competition in their pursuit of Khedira, with Bayern Munich said to be more than interested in his signature, the north London could have a pair of not so secret weapons in their locker in the form of compatriots Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil.
The Gunners vice-captain told supporters in a Q&A session last week that he had been speaking to his ex-international teammate about joining the club, and had also recruited Ozil to help him in his efforts.
“I'm up for more quality Germans to [join] the club," he said.
"Ozil and I spoke with Khedira a few times to join Arsenal. His contract is up next summer."
With Chelsea and Manchester United also reported to be monitoring the Real man’s status, however, Arsenal will still require more help than that.