2 August 2014 21:16
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hinted at a possible interest in Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira after Saturday’s 5-1 win over Benfica.
The Germany international, who missed out on his country’s World Cup final triumph through injury, has been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu and Arsenal are reported to be among his suitors.
Wenger claimed that no bid had been made but, when asked about Khedira’s availability, the Frenchman coyly responded: “I don’t know. If I read the newspapers, he is available.”
Khedira would add bite to an Arsenal side that has been accused of possessing a soft centre in recent times, though last season’s FA Cup triumph ended the club’s nine-year wait for silverware.
The convincing Emirates Cup victory against Primeira Liga champions Benfica highlighted Arsenal’s promise but, while headline signing Alexis Sanchez made his debut, it was Yaya Sanogo who stole the limelight with four goals.
He was joined on the scoresheet by Joel Campbell, who spent last season on loan at Olympiacos, and Wenger has both players in his plans for the forthcoming campaign.
“They need to play, of course, but they need to play here,” he said. “Sanogo came last year on a free [from Auxerre] and we worked very hard for six months with him and from January onwards he was slowly getting better. Now that we have worked very hard with him, we want him to stay here.
“Campbell has done very well. I like the way he plays, he’s good on the ball, creative and collectively as well he has a good balance between individual skill and collective attitude – that’s not easy to find.”
Sanogo failed to score in 14 appearances last season but Wenger believes the youngster can prove himself at the Emirates Stadium.
“Sanogo was injured for basically two years before he came to us,” Wenger added.
“If you look at his goalscoring record before he got injured, it is quite frightening. He has a big future here, or course, he is 21. He has something of [Emmanuel] Adebayor. He is strong, a strong body, similar strengths [to Adebayor], but as well technical skill.”
Alexis’ Arsenal bow was a low-key affair, with Wenger explaining that the Chile international – who will start on the wing against Monaco on Sunday – is not yet fit.
“Tomorrow I will certainly play him on the flank for 45 minutes,” Wenger said. “He is not fit yet, but in one week he should be much better.”