In the ever churning rumor mill, names come and names move on. From team to team, across each and every nation and assorted leagues it does not stop between either window, at any juncture across a year. In the race to elevate Everton to a different level of class in the Premier League, and eventually Europe as well, an old Carlo Ancelotti player like Sami Khedira was always going to crop up in relation to a Merseyside move.
The Toffees need better offensive fluidity, as well as defensive protection in front of their backline, and so it is not surprising that Khedira would be linked. During his time in Turin, the German hasn’t enjoyed the same success or playing time that he’s become used to at previous stops. With Juventus’s need to sell players, it is thought that, as occurred with James Rodriguez, and has been reported regarding Isco of Real Madrid, the price will be diminished and therefore, too attractive for Don Carlo to pass up.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference yesterday, Ancelotti even seemed to drop a sly hint when asked about the German international.
"Sami Khedira was my player at Real Madrid, an important player for us. I have a good memory of him but I don't think we are looking for him at this moment.
"Maybe in January!"
And while he presents positives, there are injury factors that complicate the “slam dunk” nature of the signing, so to speak. When one considers the roster spots as well, one must consider who would have to go to facilitate his arrival; my guess would be someone like Gylfi Sigurdsson, but with his improved form, younger age and different skill set and positional preference, that decision isn’t an easy one for anyone to make either. Fabian Delph is also another name to watch for leaving should Khedira come to Everton. Unless the transfer was remarkably discounted, and the wage numbers fair and reasonable, it seems like a deal that the Toffees should avoid signing up for.
Sami Khedira: A History of Glory, Productivity and Injury
While across the 33-year-old's career he has seen great success in both club and national competitions, his time as a major contributor on a big club appears to be ending. After finding success at VfB Stuttgart first, his subsequent moves to Real Madrid, before coming to Turin in July of 2015, the player has enjoyed years of good statistical play on teams that won domestic and European trophies. Now however, his history of injury appears most glaring at a time when the Toffees require healthy and productive bodies in the middle. Unless the price was absolutely cut-rate, it is hard to justify the transfer on those injury grounds alone.
Knee and back injuries have limited his ability not only to play, but simply to practice and remain sharp as a football player. His time at Juventus has essentially ended in conjunction with those injuries and being frozen out by successive managers, yet should he remain at the Old Lady past this winter, he will surely continue to be without a future at the club he has previously won five Serie A titles at with his current contract ending at the end of the season. For Everton, this opportunity should only strike Don Carlo as enticing for the right price, as he looks to further build this team for the future, and not simply for the moment.
Khedira, despite his versatility in the past of playing anywhere across the midfield, would likely struggle with that physical demands of playing in a defensive midfield role, and one Delph is enough per team. It's his attacking ability though that will most interest Blues though.
Capable of finding just that pass to unlock defences, he is also at his best when ghosting into the box late and his finishing abilities remain on par with any good striker. Think Andre Gomes, but with end-product.
Now, were the player to come on something small, or even a free transfer somehow, with reduced wages, then the story would be different of course. Having a veteran with his history on the cheap is an advantage that the best managers and teams are often afforded, and the Toffees would be foolish in those particular circumstances to refuse it. But should his acquisition require more capital, then it must be fully admitted that that transfer budget could likely be spent on someone with more football ahead of him than behind him.
Money on Merseyside Better Spent
As is well known, Marcel Brands doesn’t love to splash out money on players during this time of the year. That it is likely that he does just that this year, should be a testament to the power of a boss like Don Carlo, as well as the tangible progress that we have made, even with setbacks taken into consideration. And so, as I’ve said previously, unless Sami Khedira comes on the cheap, he will likely not be a positive addition to the club in the long term.
There are other names that are more suitable and long term however, and those names should be sought if the club is open to purchasing more players; Isco is younger and while he is less defensive minded than Khedira, has a longer shelf life than the German with greater offensive skill.
While Brands & Co. likely already have a plan for the January transfer window, it'll be Everton's position after these festive fixtures that will determine whether the club go out and spend more money, or sit tight with what Ancelotti already has.