Forget Sami Khedira - if Arsenal want a Real Madrid player, they should target Asier Illarramendi

Arsenal should make a move for Real Madrid defensive midfielder Asier Illarramendi, not Sami Khedira

Arsenal may have found a brilliant defensive midfielder in Francis Coquelin, but reports that they could make a move for Sami Khedira in the summer transfer window continue to circulate in the English press.

The Mirror reported last month that Arsenal are still interested in the Real Madrid star, with Manchester United and Schalke also said to be keen on his services.

It makes sense for the Gunners to want Khedira. The 28-year-old is out of contract at Madrid in the summer, which means that the North London outfit will not have to pay any transfer fee.

Khedira is a World Cup winner with Germany, a Bundesliga winner with Stuttgart, and a La Liga and Champions League winner with Madrid.

However, two key facts are ignored by almost everyone discussing Khedira with a move to Arsenal.

1) Khedira is 28 years of age.

2) Khedira has been off his game for two years.

A long-term injury saw Khedira restricted to just 13 La Liga matches and only five Champions League games last season.

Despite being fit this campaign, the German has featured in only 11 league games and just two Champions League fixtures.

If Arsenal do want to sign a defensive defender and they are looking to sign someone from Madrid, then it is Asier Illarramendi they should go for.

Let’s get the ‘negatives’ out of the way. The 25-year-old has not made his debut for Spain and has been a back-up player for Madrid since joining Los Blancos from Real Sociedad in the summer of 2013.

Illarramendi does not have a World Cup winner's medal to back him, but anyone who has watched him closely over the years will tell you that he is a brilliant talent.

The Spaniard is one of the best passers in La Liga, having a pass accuracy of 92% in 22 La Liga appearances so far this season.

Last season, Illarramendi scored two goals and created 21 chances in 29 La Liga appearances, while having a pass accuracy of 89%.

While the former Sociedad star is a not a gung-ho kind of a midfielder, his ability to stay calm and composed on the ball would suit Arsenal’s playing style perfectly.

Back in the summer of 2013, Illarramendi was signed as a future replacement for Xavi Alonso, but it has not quite worked out that way.

The main problem that the former Spain Under-23 international has faced in making himself a regular in the Madrid first team is the competition for places.

Given the abundance of talent that Madrid have in midfield - Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to name just two - Illarramendi has found his way blocked, but if Arsenal sign him and give him the chance to play regularly, then he will prove to be a huge player for the Gunners.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch