Real Madrid have signed Sami Khedira for a confirmed fee of €14 million, slightly over £11 million. German side Stuttgart were apparently content with the fee considering they faced losing Khedira for nothing in a years time as his contract was going to expire and the player had made it clear he was not prepared to sign a new deal. Similarly Real Madrid were satisfied with the fee as they have signed a player of international pedigree and renown in the knowledge that if the move does not work out quite as planned they have signed him cheap enough, and at a young enough age, to be able to transfer him on for at least the fee they have paid. In all likelihood, even if Khedira does not perform as anticipated, Real Madrid would probably manage to make a profit from the move. The transfer fee, therefore, considering the context, suits both clubs concerned.
Real Madrid are now expected to allow a midfielder to leave. Guti and Raul have already left but they have been replaced in the squad, at least numerically, by Angel De Maria and Sergio Canales.
It is not quite clear which midfielder, if any, will leave Real Madrid but it is understood that Jose Mourinho, the new coach at the Bernabeu, will have the final decision, not Florentino Perez, the President. Ruben de la Red, the very promising Real Madrid midfielder, part of Spain’s victorious 2008 European Championship winning squad, who some were hoping would return for the 2010/2011 campaign, has confirmed his retirement from the game due to health problems related to his heart, but the Real Madrid midfield still has an abundance of players. Competing for a place are Fernando Gago, Lassana Diarra, Mahamadou Diarra, Esteban Granero, Kaka, Royston Drenthe, Rafael van der Vaart, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Canales, Sami Khedira, Pedro Leon and Angel de Maria. Pedro Leon and Sergio Canales, two new signings, are expected to feature only intermittently. Royston Drenthe too, although he is continually being linked with a move to Serie A. Kaka, van der Vaart and de Maria are likely to play higher up the field, just behind Ronaldo and one of Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema. Of these six attackers, however, only three will ever start and perhaps two will make the bench.
In terms of defensive midfield Gago, M Diarra, L Diarra, Khedira, Granero and Alonso are going to have to fight it out for two positions. Six very capable defensive midfielder players battling it out for just two positions. Competition is healthy but that is just too much. All of these players have their own ego’s to contend with and Mourinho will not be able to satisfy them all with enough game time, one of them, at least, will have to be moved on. The problem is Real Madrid are facing a loss on whichever one they decide to move on.
Fernando Gago cost in excess of €20 million, Mahamadou Diarra around €26 million, Lassani Diarra over €24 million and Xabi Alonso close to €35 million. Esteban Granero cost only €4 million but as a Real Madrid youth product, on relatively low wages, who has performed well for Real Madrid, it appears unlikely to be him that will be moving on. It also appears unlikely that it will be Xabi Alonso, a Spanish international who has just returned from winning the World Cup, representing Real Madrid proudly. Having just signed Khadira it obviously will not be him, too. It appears most likely to be one of the two Diarra’s or Gago that will be leaving but Real Madrid are unlikely to recoup anything close to the money they spent on any of them. Sami Khedira is indeed a good player but hardly necessary.
photo credit: Stefan Baudy