Arsenal, Man United & Chelsea face tough battle for Real Madrid star

Germany World Cup winner and Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira has finally confirmed he will leave Los Blancos at the end of the season after five years in the Spanish capital.

The defensive midfielder has been restricted to just 11 appearances this season due to injuries that have troubled him since November 2013. He returned towards the end of last season to play a part in Madrid’s tenth European title (La Decima) and his country’s World Cup triumph in Brazil.

It’s no secret Real have tried to tie him down to a new contract but Khedira has rejected the contract offers and in December he said, “if we can reach a solution, I’ll be very happy.” But now it seems Khedira is all but gone from Madrid.

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“I will give everything for this shirt until the last day of my contract, there should be no doubt about that. 

“It’s not a decision against Real Madrid. I want to find new challenges for my career and continue to grow as a player,” Khedira told Spanish newspaper Marca.

The German has lost his place in the Real Madrid starting lineup with Carlo Ancelotti preferring Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the heart of the midfield.

The news is sure to alert a whole host of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. The Gunners have been known to be huge admirers of the in-demand midfielder and his best friend Mesut Ozil plays at the Emirates.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho brought Khedira to Real Madrid in 2010 and would love to be reunited with him.

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The former Stuttgart man has also been linked with a move back to his homeland with interest from Bundesliga clubs Bayern Munich, Schalke and Wolfsburg. But Khedira says he is yet to reach a deal with anyone over his future.

“I don’t have an agreement with any club nor any preferences as to who I would like to join,” Khedira told Kicker.

If Khedira is to leave this summer, it would surely be one of the biggest bosman transfers in recent years.

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Greg Vanney praises “very good” Toronto FC midfielder Benoit Cheyrou

Toronto FC are set to begin their 2015 MLS season with a trip to Vancouver Whitecaps this Saturday and head coach Greg Vanney has been full of praise for his squad, and in particular, Benoit Cheyrou.

The French midfielder joined on a free transfer in January after a seven-year spell at Marseille where he was a first-team regular and consistently played in Europe’s elite competition because of Marseille’s participation in the Champions League.

“We knew he was a very good player and the idea was to create some balance with Michael (Bradley) in midfield,” said Toronto head coach Greg Vanney, who is happy with the way the two compliment each other.

“We have a left footed player, right-footed player, experience from both of them and they’re very savvy players who can read and understand the game.”

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Cheyrou is predominantly known as a defensive midfield player, but Vanney is confident that playing alongside Michael Bradley will also allow him to have a positive impact on the team going forward this year.

“They cover a fair amount of ground and both of them in their own right can make plays and make things happen. The idea is to open up space for Sebastian (Giovinco) to do his thing.”

With a team including the likes of Benoit Cheyrou, Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC could well be one team to keep an eye on this year.

Greg Vanney is happy with the development of the squad over the course of the preseason and feels they’re in good shape with the first game just around the corner.

“I think we’re in a good place, we have a good foundation.”

Will Toronto FC be one of the strongest teams in MLS this season?

Seattle Sounders midfielder Andy Rose full of praise for “fantastic” Gonzalo Pineda

Andy Rose is a midfielder that is very much still learning his trade at Seattle Sounders, but believes he’s developed his own game by being around players such as Gonzalo Pineda.

“He’s a fantastic player”, Rose told the Seattle Sounders YouTube channel. “Obviously you don’t play for the Mexican national team unless you have something special.  The way he collects the ball, how quickly he plays, his fitness levels are incredible.”

The 24-year-old Australian only featured six times in the 2014 MLS regular season, which gave him plenty of time to study Pineda’s style of play and it’s helped him learn crucial elements of becoming a successful midfielder.

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“He floats around, he’s very smart on the ball, he always knows what he’s going to do with it before he gets it, so these are things I think I’ve developed watching him and playing with him.”

Rose is also sure that a career in coaching is sat waiting for Pineda when he finally has to hang up his boots.

“He’s great with me, I think he’s going to go on and be a great coach just because he’s always talking to the youngsters and giving them little words of advice here and there, so obviously a great guy to learn from.”

Will Andy Rose step-up and become an important player for Seattle Sounders in 2015?