It is only just November and the silly season for January transfer rumours doesn’t normally start until December, but the news at the weekend that FC Barcelona are reportedly looking at Union Berlin’s Rani Khedira did stand out. Pure speculation or could there be a modicum of truth in the story. Would it actually make sense?
Union Berlin are a team in the headlines this season with their fantastic exploits at the top of the Bundesliga table. People keep waiting for the bubble to burst and for Bayern Munich to usurp them, but despite a few losses, Urs Fischer’s side are still the leading lights in the German top flight.
More and more attention is being focussed on the team, the system, the tactics and individual players, who play a vital role in the success. One such player is Rani Khedira- Unions midfield shield. Looking at the Bundesliga stats, he is certainly having a top season thus far and the weekend saw Bild reporting interest from Spanish giants Barcelona.
Many people’s instant reaction would be to ignore the story as click bait, but there is more than a little logic here. The Catalan club are financially not able to go shopping in the expensive boutiques they are used to or match the likes of Chelsea, who can throw massive wads of cash at any player this wish. Barca have to shop wisely and get high quality merchandise for free.
The summer saw ‘free’ (in the loosest sense) signings such as Franck Kessié, Andreas Christensen, Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso as well as bigger money (money they don’t have) signings such as Robert Lewandowski and Raphina.
Barcelona are a point behind Real Madrid in the league, but are out of the Champions League at the group stage. The club have reportedly promised coach Xavi two reinforcements in January with a list of 19 candidates on it.
28-year-old Khedira (brother of Sami who played for Real Madrid) might seem far-fetched, but he has made Hanis Flick’s preliminary World Cup list due to his performances this season. He ranks third in the Bundesliga overall for tackles in the midfield third, and tenth for total tackles won. He arrived at Union on a free transfer from Augsburg in 2021 and his current contract does expire in the summer.
Talking about the rumours Khedira told Sky Germany, “I don’t have a Spanish number on my cell phone. It is currently a rumour, and I’m not thinking about it, because I play at a really awesome club”.
“I feel very very comfortable here, and I’m focused on the last four games [of 2022] – and the second half of the season. I have agreed with my other brother, who also advises me, that we’ll do everything in the World Cup – clarify the break, listen to everything.”