Sami Khedira is Real Madrid’s fourth signing of the summer. After securing the services of Sergio Canales, Angel di Maria and Pedro Leon, Los Blancos turned their attention outside the Iberian peninsula, to Germany, hoping to seal a deal for young Khedira, who impressed helping the Nationalmannschaft all the way to the semi-finals of this year’s World Cup. With Khedira’s contract expiring in 2011, his parent club, VfB Stuttgart, knew that the best decision would be to sell their talent, as opposed to seeing him leave on a free transfer in a 12 months time.

Despite being well-stocked in the defensive midfield area, the Real Madrid hierarchy nonetheless found it hard to resist such a transaction, considering the massive amount of potential Khedira clearly has. The Germany midfielder cost Los Blancos the relative low fee of €15M, and joins Xabi Alonso, Mahamadou and Lassana Diarra, as well as Fernando Gago as players able to occupy what is known at the Bernabeu as the “Makelele” position, in homage to the enforcer Claude Makelele shipped out in Florentino Perez’s first reign.

What is clear now is that one of the latter three players, at least, will be shown the door before the end of August, but just who will it be?

Mahamadou Diarra
Age: 29
Contract expires: June 2011
Market value: €6-10M
Suitors: Juventus; AC Milan; Manchester United; Newcastle United; Paris Saint-Germain

Why: Out of the three, Mahamadou Diarra is the oldest, and with the Madrid hierarchy looking to rejuvenate the squad, he seems the most likely to go. The former Olympique Lyonnais terrier hasn’t been the same ever since knee surgery back in November 2008, losing his number and starting position to namesake Lassana Diarra. While he managed to get back the number, Diarra was unable to oust Lass as Madrid’s defensive midfielder, and was confined to bench duty for much of last season, appearing only 15 times over the course of the league campaign. As was the case with Khedira and Stuttgart, Madrid would do well to sell him now.

Why not: Jose Mourinho has apparently told Frederic Guerra, Diarra’s agent, that the Mali captain is indeed part of his plans for the upcoming season. His physical presence helps the midfielder impose himself on many a game, and should he regain top form few players around the world would ravish a tussle with the Malian. Mourinho after all, has a knack for bringing out the best out in his players.


Lassana Diarra
Age: 25
Contract expires: June 2013
Market value: €25M
Suitors: Juventus; Manchester United

Why: Lassana Diarra’s spiraling downfall last season is one for the ages. After being one of the best signings of the 2008/09 season, despite being a hasty winter buy, Lass started well under Manuel Pellegrini, only to lose his berth to Fernando Gago. Soon afterwards, the former Arsenal player quickly faded into the shadows of the Bernabeu theatre, and the rumours surrounding his imminent summer exit only intensified after it was discovered that he had sickle-cell anemia. Lass’ luck even took a turn for the worse after an intestine problem ruled him out of the World Cup. Having endured a troubled season, Madrid could very well sell the midfielder. Manchester United are said to be lurking in the shadows.

Why not: Like the other Diarra, a fit and ready Lass is a nightmare for any forward. Should he rediscover his imposing form, then he could very well constitute Jose Mourinho’s new Michael Essien. Rarely has Lassana Diarra failed to produce at Real Madrid since arriving in December 2008, and if things do go right for him, he can avoid being just another Thomas Gravesen.

Fernando Gago
Age: 24
Contract expires: June 2013
Market value: €10-15M
Suitors: Manchester City

Why: Many of the Real Madrid faithful in the Spanish capital are reportedly growing tired with Gago’s minimal progression since he arrived in January 2007. Landing at the Bernabeu alongside River Plate’s Gonzalo Higuain and Fluminense’s Marcelo, Gago is a member of a group known as the “Capello Kids”, after the former Real Madrid boss. The Argentine prodigy has been in and out of the Merengue first team, while Marcelo has occupied Roberto Carlos’ position and Higuain has grown to be a top-notch striker. His sentimental nature earned him the moniker “El Pintita”, Spanish for "the painter", while his inability to cope with his surroundings earned him yet another nickname, “Lady Gago”, after breaking into tears last winter as life in Madrid got hard.

Why not: During the winter transfer window, Manchester City held negotiations with Real Madrid, but a deal failed to materialise, with the Mancunians eventually opting to sign French veteran Patrick Vieira. The Blues are now well equipped in that area, as they added former Barcelona man Yaya Toure to their ranks, rising their summer expenditure to a cool £74M. Furthermore, Gago has shown time and time again that he can be a starter in Madrid, as he relegated Lassana Diarra to the bench and established a solid relationship with Xabi Alonso in the last campaign.


While selling Lass could prove to be the most favourable from an economic point of view, Real Madrid are not in need of money. Gago’s departure could earn him a new start, but with Roberto Mancini opting for other faces, he most will most probably remain a Los Blancos player next season. Mahamadou Diarra’s expiring contract, as well as current age and form make him the most likely to be heading out, either to AC Milan or Newcastle.