Sami Khedira has recently confirmed that he is set to leave Real Madrid this summer, with the experienced Germany international out of contract in the Spanish capital and available on a free transfer.
Although the midfielder has no shortage of reported suitors, with Arsenal and Schalke most frequently being linked with the 28-year-old, Manchester United have also been mentioned as a possible destination for the ex-Stuttgart star.
Given that the Old Trafford outfit have had longstanding issues in the centre of the park for a number of seasons, the link to the accomplished midfielder makes sense to some degree, but there is certainly a case to suggest that Khedira’s addition would not improve the current contingent.
United have been crying out for a midfield general who can be the modern day Paul Scholes or Roy Keane; Khedira could well be a short-term fix but signing him would also represent short-term thinking.
A younger player with the ability to improve further and play in the United side for years to come would surely be preferable.
With United having cash to burn and ready for a return to Champions League football next season, the club can set its sights higher than Khedira.
Signing a higher-profile player such as Marco Verratti, Koke or former charge Paul Pogba would surely be the statement of intent that would announce United back amongst Europe’s elite.
From a purely tactical perspective, Khedira does not really fit into the current United set-up either.
Michael Carrick’s importance in the holding role cannot be overstated, while his presence in a deeper position means the need for an enforcer is minimised.
As such, more technical players such as Ander Herrera have started to thrive in the Red Devils’ set-up, with a freer reign to get the ball down and play, safe in the knowledge that the Carrick safety net is behind him.
Herrera has been so impressive in recent weeks that he could well fit the afore-mentioned talismanic role.
Khedira has shown his ability over the years for club and country, is full of running and has a tireless work-rate, but he does not fit into either of the midfield stereotypes that United should be looking at.
The Real Madrid man is not an alternative to Carrick in the deeper role as he lacks the range of passing to start attacks and although dynamic, does not fit into expansive, footballing style that Lousi van Gaal envisages his team playing in the long run.
Khedira certainly has the standing to play for United or another top club, but if he did end up at Old Trafford would not be a more comprehensive option than someone like Herrera.
In fact, signing the German may well inhibit Herrera’s development rather than aid it due to the sharing of game time.
With United’s current midfield finally starting to find form with Carrick, Herrera and Marouane Fellaini in central roles, the need for a summer signing has minimised to some degree.
However, if the Old Trafford outfit still opt to bring a new player in the position to the club this summer, it should be a top-class performer that will make a statement of intent and improve the collective; whether Khedira can do this remains to be seen.