Sami Khedira’s move to Arsenal is currently being held up, with the player’s wage demands proving to be a stumbling block.
Arsenal were always going to be heading for this sort of territory with the move to loftier tiers in the market. With the increase in transfer fees naturally comes the demand for greater wages and the high probability of extending the boundaries of what the club are willing to pay.
Should Arsenal pay Sami Khedira his desired £150,000-per-week, as reported by the Metro? Why shouldn’t they? If Arsenal don’t, someone else will, and it could be Chelsea.
Arsene Wenger’s reluctance on this one is understandable. Where do you draw the line? If Khedira, a player who isn’t as marketable as Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil, can take in figures in that ball park, what’s to stop others from demanding similar, both those currently in the squad and future signings?
The absolute top tier of wages at a club should be reserved for those who are most valuable. Look at the case with Bayern Munich and Toni Kroos. The Bavarians didn’t feel the German international was worth the price of his demands. Mario Goetze is on €12 million-a-year, with Bayern’s most recent offer to Kroos standing at €7 million. The Bundesliga champions deemed him dispensable, at least initially, and they’ll replace accordingly.
But Arsenal are not in Bayern’s position. They’re still building. They’re not in a position of strength where they can sell and replace; instead, they’re adding to what they already have. Khedira is head and shoulders better than the central midfield options currently in the Arsenal squad, bar Aaron Ramsey.
It shouldn’t just be a case of how highly the club rate or value the player, it should be a matter of how much they can spend – and Arsenal aren’t struggling financially. Sure, it can create problems with future contracts, but this is the top level of the game. Higher figures normally equate to higher quality, and ultimately silverware.
Bayern Munich were not prepared to pay Toni Kroos the wages he wanted, but Real Madrid reportedly will. The same will be the case for Khedira if Arsenal decide to move on.
Are there other options? Of course, Morgan Schneiderlin is a preferred choice for some sections of the Arsenal support. But all the club are doing is delaying the question of extending their wage structure for the next high-profile player who could transfer to north London. It isn’t a problem exclusive to Khedira. If Arsenal can pay it, why shouldn’t players ask?
If £150,000-per-week is the figure to be believed with Khedira, Arsenal will have to take on an acceptance that this is the league they’re now playing in. Khedira, with his status in the game and having just won the World Cup, should be seeking a wage packet in that area.
But Khedira or not, Arsenal will have to eventually break their wage structure and move on from what was a relatively conservative model for a Champions League club.