Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have been dealt a significant blow in the race to sign Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira after Luka Modric was ruled out until February, reports the Evening Standard.
Modric sustained a thigh injury playing for Croatia last week and is expected to be out for up to three months. A key player for Real Madrid, Modric's absence will come as a significant blow for them but give Khedira a chance to re-establish himself in Carlo Ancelotti's plans.
Khedira has been very much on the periphery of the team so far this season, appearing just four times off the bench in La Liga and still waiting for his first start. It was reported that he had been ousted after refusing to extend his contract beyond the end of this current season.
The World Cup winner moves into the last six months of his contract in January and will be eligible to sign a pre-contract with interested parties ahead of a free transfer in the summer. Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal were reportedly interested in offering the 27-year-old such a contract while Arsene Wenger was hopeful of agreeing a permanent deal for a minimal fee with the Bernabeu outfit.
However, Ancelotti, who has always maintained a desire to keep Khedira at the club until the summer, is set to invite Khedira back in from the cold to help make up for the absence of Modric. That gives Khedira reason to stay beyond the January transfer window.
While it gives Khedira a chance to work his way back into the squad, it fails to change his situation regarding a new contract. The midfielder could still sign a pre-contract with a club and ultimately leave for nothing in the summer.
Chelsea plans unchanged
That should not alter Mourinho's plans, who wanted to reunite with Khedira at Stamford Bridge having built a strong relationship with Khedira while in charge of Real Madrid. Khedira is rumoured to be demanding £150,000-a-week to sign a pre-contract; demands which forced Arsenal to cancel a deal in the summer.
The Daily Star also reported that Van Gaal was ready to make Khedira a 'huge' offer in January to rival Chelsea. However, Daley Blind's impressive form may have convinced the Dutchman otherwise.
Arsenal stand to miss out the most with Modric's injury. Wenger's need for a defensive midfielder appears much more immediate than their Premier League rivals. The Gunners boss may have to move onto alternative targets if he feels the need to make an acquisition in January.