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How will Real Madrid fare if Khedira leaves in January?

If Sami Khedira ends up an Arsenal player, what would his departure mean for Real Madrid?

Claudio Villa

As is reporting Arsenal and Real Madrid have agreed to a deal which would send Sami Khedira to London this winter for 14 million euros.

Reuniting Khedira with Mesut Özil could be a slam dunk for both clubs. The price may be a bit low, but Khedira's contract is up in the summer. It's really a sad situation given Khedira was once one of the world's top holding midfielders and he likely would be a regular in Madrid's starting 11 if not for injury.

Should Khedira leave, this would leave an already scarce position on Madrid's roster even thinner. Luckily for Ancelotti, he's been living life without Khedira for most of his time at Real.

Operating under the assumption Khedira does in fact leave, here's what might happen.

Lately, Luka Modrić has a lot of freedom to roam forward, but if Madrid are playing more and more without a natural holding mid, he'll have to be more disciplined in defense (which he is more than capable of). Last season Ancelotti loved putting Luka and Xabi next to one another in the deep midfield, while flanking Di María to the side, letting him attack.

Fast-forward to this season, and Ancelotti could employ a similar approach. Swap Kroos for Xabi, and James for Di María, and this lineup might be as effective. I'm a big believer Toni Kroos is on his to becoming the next dominant midfielder, and James is every bit as threatening on attack as Di María is.

Isco and Khedira are very different players, but if Modrić ends up defending more, this could make way for Isco to get plenty of playing time. Ancelotti isn't one to run his players into the ground with excessive minutes, and preserving Modrić's stamina through the season is (obviously) critical. Isco could help make sure of that.

Asier Illarramendi could also benefit from this deal.

Both Khedira and Illarra didn't get much playing time in their respective first seasons in Madrid, but this might be a huge opportunity for Illarra to make himself a staple of the lineup. A midfield of Modrič, Illarra and James would probably be the most balanced option, but this is all gambling on Illarra's development going as planned.

The answer to Khedira's absence is likely already within the squad, be it through Kroos, Illarra or more defensive work from Modrić. This is already a thin Madrid squad relative to recent years, so Ancelotti would probably go out and pursue another midfielder sooner rather than later. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but all those rumors linking Paul Pogba to Madrid would start to make a lot more sense...

This transfer frankly would make a lot of sense for all parties involved. Khedira would get all the playing time he could handle, Arsenal would finally shore up their midfield, and Real avoid letting a top player go on a free. Sami Khedira's work rate and ability to anchor the midfield was always a bit under-appreciated and I'd be sad to see him go. But if he does, Madrid will have options to replace him.

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