An injury to Mikel Arteta could force Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger to change his plans and turn to the transfer market for a defensive midfielder. Arteta suffered an ankle problem in the first leg of Arsenal’s Champions League playoff with Beşiktaş in midweek and has been ruled out for the trip to Everton on Saturday. While the full extent of the injury is not yet known, Wenger admitted on Thursday that he could be compelled to seek a solution in the transfer market before the end of the summer window.
“[If he is out for a while] we will be a bit short of course,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “If it's a long-term injury, that puts us in a position where we have to be creative.”
That creativity could involve going back to Real Madrid for Sami Khedira. Arsenal were thought to be close to securing a deal for the German World Cup winner earlier in the summer, before negotiations reportedly broke down over the player’s wage demands. Were Arsenal to secure the revenue that comes with qualification for the Champions League and be left without Arteta for some time then negotiations could restart.
Following the arrival of Toni Kroos and James Rodríguez at the Bernabeu, Khedira’s future with the European champions is uncertain. On Thursday, manager Carlo Ancelotti revealed that the 27-year-old has declined the opportunity to extend his contract beyond next summer, although, unlike teammate Ángel di María, he has not yet asked for a transfer.
“He has a year left on his contract and has turned down a new deal,” the Italian said, according to Spanish publication Marca. “The situation is different from Di María's, because he hasn't asked to leave.”
Bayern Munich are thought to be keen to sign Khedira when his contract expires, although they could look to bring that forward following an injury to Javi Martínez. The Daily Telegraph has reported that Arsenal are weighting up a move for Khedira, as well as for Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho. The 22-year-old has previously been linked with the Gunners, as well as Manchester United. While rated as one of Europe’s best young midfielders, any transfer for the Portugal international would be difficult, given Sporting have thus far shown no inclination to listen to offers that do not meet his €45 million (£36m) asking price.
Wenger has repeatedly made clear that the area of his squad that he is most inclined to strengthen is at center-back. Following the exit of Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal have just Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and 19-year-old Calum Chambers as established options.
“We have the players we want but we are open as well to any opportunity until the end of the transfer window, who can strengthen our defensive department in quality and number,” Wenger explained. “I can’t tell you how likely I am [to make a signing], I just said I am open to doing it. It has to be linked with the needed quality. If you ask today the 20 top clubs in the world what they look for, they all look for the same positions. That means it is not necessarily out there.”
There have been strong reports that Arsenal’s first choice is Kostas Manolas, with the Greece international even said by some outlets to be on the verge of completing an £8 million transfer from Olympiakos. The issue, though, could be persuading a quality center-back to accept joining a club where he would be a backup option. That applies to Winston Reid, who The Times reports that Arsenal are also pursuing. The New Zealand international has been a key figure at the heart of the back four for West Ham since their return to the Premier League, but has less than a year remaining on his contract.