Is Sami Khedira the type of midfielder Chelsea need?

Updated: July 17, 2014

Following Toni Kroos’ move to Real Madrid speculation has increased regarding the surplus to requirements midfielder, Sami Khedira. Last season Khedira was fourth in the central midfield pecking order at Madrid; behind Luka Modric, Xabi Alonso and Illaramendi. That is without including Di Maria, or occasionally Isco, who both played in a deeper playmaker and third central midfielder role under Ancelotti. Despite this he is still one of the most coveted midfielders in world football, his reputation maintained after successful World Cup campaign. Arsenal remain as favourites to sign the German, but as they stall over the familiar stumbling block of wage demands, Chelsea have emerged as a likely late-minute destination (another familiar situation).

Chelsea have already

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strengthened in centre midfield this year after recently signing Cesc Fabregas and with re-signing Nemanja Matic in January, but another Midfielder would provide much needed competition for places in what has been a weak area for Chelsea over the last couple of years. Nevertheless it is only be one midfielder Chelsea could plausibly sign, as despite lacking quality, Chelsea have plenty of quantity in midfield; Mikel, Ramires, Van Ginkel and returning loanee Oriol Romeu make it six players competing for two spots. Therefore the type of midfielder is crucial to balancing the squad. So what type of midfielder would balance the squad, Romeu, Mikel, Matic and, despite his versatility, Ramires are all best utilised as defensive minded midfielders, Matic being first choice. Offensively in midfield Chelsea lack one option, Ramires is able to play as a box to box midfielder but his lack of quality in possession often frustrates, whilst Van Ginkel’s first injury laden season halted his progression and is likely to leave him on the fringes, leaving Fabregas as the first choice and only midfielder able to create and score goals.

How Khedira and Pogba's passing compares to Chelsea's current central midfielders

How Khedira and Pogba’s passing compares to Chelsea’s current central midfielders

Fabregas is the out and out quality offensive midfielder, but Chelsea still require a suitable alternative or back up to the Spaniard. Along with Khedira, Chelsea have been heavily linked with Juventus starlet Paul Pogba so whilst comparing Khedira’s Chelsea credentials, Pogba should be included aswell. Courtesy of the Squawka Comparison Matrix above ( it is clear that Chelsea have a very classy player in Cesc Fabregas (as if we didn’t know already), with Fabregas topping each stat ‘Total Forward Passes’, ‘Key Passes’, ‘Chances Created’, and ‘Successful Passes’. It is the other players that make for the interesting reading. Due to Khedira’s lack of appearances the comparison of each stat is ‘per 90 metrics’ meaning per 90 minutes. Matic’s inclusion was to show how effective Chelsea’s midfield might be without the addition of Pogba or Khedira, and with him coming second behind Fabregas in those four departments, the verdict is undoubtedly: very effective.

How Khedira and Pogba's attacking play compares to Chelsea's current central midfielders

How Khedira and Pogba’s attacking play compares to Chelsea’s current central midfielders

Excluding Matic and Fabregas, as already discussed the likely first choice midfield pairing for next season, how does Khedira and Pogba compare to, Chelsea’s best midfield alternative, Ramires? Khedira is not seen as a particularly attacking midfielder, but created almost as many chances and played almost as many key passes as Ramires did for Chelsea. As well as that he played at least two more forward passes and just under five more successful passes than Ramires every 90 minutes. His ability to pass would be crucial for Chelsea who, in previous seasons, have struggled to keep and use the ball effectively, especially in games away from home. Going forward though both Ramires and Khedira aren’t as good as Pogba; he creates more chances, more key passes per 90 minutes, assists and goals.

Whilst Khedira is a very talented footballer whether he is the type of midfielder Chelsea require remains to be seen. Only a change of system would require a Khedira, and even then Chelsea would need to offload to justify a defensive midfielder arriving. Paul Pogba, on the other hand would need no justification at all, just pound sterling.


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