Sami Khedira hasn’t played since JUNE for Juventus after being frozen out and at 33 is nearing the latter stages of his career… but Carlo Ancelotti has a great track record with veterans and can turn him into an Everton star if injuries don’t haunt him!
- Veteran Sami Khedira is in talks over joining Everton this month from Juventus
- The 33-year-old is out of favour having not played for Juventus since June
- Carlo Ancelotti sees him as an ideal player to bolster Everton’s midfield options
- The pair have previously won the Champions League while at Real Madrid
- Ancelotti has a good track record working with experienced stars in their 30s
Just how old is too old when it comes to helping run a Premier League midfield in the modern era?
A good measure is to look at top flight legends such as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, who called time on their major careers in England at 34 and 36 years old respectively back in 2015.
Even then you need to factor in the emergence of the pressing systems and increasing reliability on pace that have evolved in the time since by the likes of managers Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino.
Veteran Sami Khedira is in talks with Everton over a potential January switch from Juventus
With this in mind, what can Everton expect to gain from signing Sami Khedira from Juventus bearing in mind the German international, who has been injury-prone down the years, has never played in England and turns 34 in April?
It’s more positive than you might think. Straight away, he would be an experienced campaigner who can bring much to a Toffees dressing room which has hardly had a sniff of a trophy since winning the FA Cup in 1995.
Khedira is now in the latter stages of his career and past his peak but his CV is an incredible one having won the World Cup, the Champions League and seven league titles across Italy, Spain and Germany.
The former Germany international has enjoyed a trophy laden career including winning the World Cup in 2014 (above) as well as the Champions League and multiple title successes
Carlo Ancelotti (above) is now keen to bring the 33-year-old to Goodison Park this month
The midfielder though has slowly fallen out of favour at his current club Juventus with the two previous seasons seeing his playing time reduced while he has yet to feature under new manager Andrea Pirlo this term.
With his contract up in the summer, Everton are willing to take a punt on Khedira whether that would be a free transfer at the end of the season or a January switch.
The good news for the Toffees is there is very little for them to lose on the deal if Khedira struggles in the top-flight. Encouragingly they seem to have a manager in place who knows how to get the best out of players either on their last legs or have not seen much first-team action in recent times.
Ancelotti has a proven track record working with experienced stars in their 30s, including Michael Ballck (top left) and Nicolas Anelka (top right) while he was Chelsea manager
Didier Drogba was also going strong under Ancelotti during his Chelsea tenure when the Blues lifted the league and FA Cup (above) double during the 2009-10 campaign
SAMI KHEDIRA TROPHY CABINET
La Liga: 2011–12
Copa del Rey: 2010–11, 2013–14
Champions League: 2013–14
UEFA Super Cup: 2014
FIFA Club World Cup: 2014
Serie A: 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
Coppa Italia: 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18
World Cup: 2014
Carlo Ancelotti has already managed to quickly help James Rodriguez settle at Everton following his time picking out splinters on the Real Madrid bench.
Even his previous Premier League spell at Chelsea saw him continue to get the best out of players on the wrong side of 30, including Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, Deco and Nicolas Anelka as he guided them to an impressive league and cup double in 2010.
Before that he was in charge of AC Milan and was still somehow getting world class performances out of the legendary yet ageing defender Paolo Maldini, who went as far as becoming the oldest captain at 38 years old to lift the Champions League trophy when Ancelotti’s side saw off Liverpool in the 2007 final.
Ancelotti also has the advantage of having managed Khedira for two years at Real Madrid – where together they won the Champions League in 2014 before both left the Bernabeu a year later, and he is open to the prospect of a reunion at Goodison Park.
Khedira’s best years may have passed but it’s a good start to have a player and a manager with a proven track record of working together.
There does not appear to be any clear fallout between Khedira and Pirlo at Juventus so there will be some alarm as to why he has been effectively banished from the Juve squad this term.
Ancelotti also kept faith with Paolo Maldini (right) in his AC Milan defence who in 2007 became the oldest Champions League winning captain at 38 years old
Anelotti has also helped kick-start careers with James Rodriguez this season slotting straight into the first-team at Everton after being largely frozen out at Real Madrid
Pirlo may simply prefer to go with players who will provide the future for the club, while it could be a sign of the Italian champions, under financial strain from the pandemic, eager to force out a player who reportedly earns around £180,000-per-week.
Khedira though is still nearing 34 year old and for a player who was famed for being just as useful in helping out defensively in midfield as much as he was in helping feature in attacks, it’s clear that expecting him to be the classic box-to-box midfielder may now be beyond him.
But he does though still feature many attributes that age won’t quite have taken a chunk out of yet. He is still a powerful physical presence in the midfield and thus has the strength to hold on to the ball as well as winning it back off opponents.
Khedira has previously worked with Ancelotti while the pair were at Real Madrid between 2013 and 2015 – together they won the Champions League
Khedira has not played for Juventus since June. He is pictured in training back in October and could still have much to offer the Premier League should he make the move to Everton
His aerial ability will make him key in defending set-pieces as well as a weapon in attacking situations and his already impressive work rate is unlikely to waver even in his latter years.
There may even be an improvement since Ancelotti last managed him, with his ability to read a game and pick out a pass or snuff out an attack perhaps one element of his talents which has benefitted from his advancing years and the experience he has picked up.
Most important of all, he still offers something that Everton right now do not have much of – an imposing defensive midfielder who can quickly start a counter attack.
Signing any midfielder who is close to 34 seems a little mad in the modern Premier League era. But when finances are not too much of a concern, the player is a trophy laden world class talent, the manager has worked with him before and is proven with ‘veterans’, and overall will improve the side – why wouldn’t Everton pursue a deal?
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