Juventus could have had a major exodus last season. While it wasn’t to be, time will be right for doing one in some months. Last summer was a failure in terms of selling transfers but this summer will give them a chance to relaunch. Part of that relaunch should be Sami Khedira.
There is no doubt that the German has been a fantastic servant for the Bianconeri. Someone who will go down as one of the best free-agent signings for the Old Lady, Khedira has been at the club for five years now. Over the years, he has come with crucial goals and performances but his stock is now slowly falling.
Injuries have become his main problem, leading to the develop of Rodrigo Bentancur in the first-team. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Khedira has missed 52 games due to injury. He had a heart condition last season and that kept him out for a good few months.
Khedira had started this season as one of the central midfielders in a 4-3-1-2 shape. Miralem Pjanic played as the anchor-man, while Khedira and Blaise Matuidi played as the two advanced midfielders. That role in a technical system didn’t suit Khedira as he was often shunted as a winger due to the narrow midfield shape.
He came up with just one key pass per game, completing just 0.7 dribbles per game. He got just one assist, playing in a rather unnatural system. Khedira was well-suited to Massimiliano Allegri’s pragmatic system. His ability to win the ball back and play it forward was a key aspect of how Juve played.
The 2017-18 season saw him come up with nine goals and two assists. That was perhaps his best season in a Juve shirt, as he helped the club win the Scudetto. His and Matuidi’s work rate was crucial to how Juve would operate in midfield. But now, the things have changed and from being pragmatic, Juve became the complete opposite. As a result, Khedira hasn’t been playing in a role that he would like.
The campaign has seen Bentancur emerge as a key player. The Uruguayan started as a box-to-box in Khedira’s role but has now become the anchor-man to replace Miralem Pjanic. He has thrived in both roles, using his ability on the ball to notch up six assists.
Aaron Ramsey has struggled with fitness, but he has scored crucial goals when fit- like the Inter game recently. Adrien Rabiot had also arrived for free but he’s not been doing too well due to fitness and sharpness. Dejan Kulusevski was signed from Atalanta during his stint at Parma and he can play in central midfield. This shows that the club has midfield options that can play ahead of Khedira.
Paul Pogba has constantly been linked with a move to Juve. He adds that ability on the ball that Khedira doesn’t have. He can pull the strings and move the ball quickly- something that Sarri was open about needing after Juve’s defeat to Lyon.
The Italian said: “I cannot get the players to understand the importance of moving the ball quickly.
“It’s difficult to explain why, but our first half moved the ball too slowly, with no movement, so naturally the opposition were going to press, win the ball back and even score.”
Khedira doesn’t have that ability. Injury record has been poor for him and he’s not getting any younger with every passing day. Considering Juve brought him for free, they can still get some profit from a potential sale as his deal runs out in the summer of 2021.