Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira has been undertaking extra fitness sessions to prepare himself for a potential move to the Premier League.
Knee and abductor injuries forced Khedira, whose contract expires at the end of June, to miss the bulk of last season and he is yet to feature for Juventus under Andrea Pirlo.
The World Cup winner’s 25 starts in all competitions since the start of 2018-19 is just one more than he managed in Serie A alone for Juve in 2017-18.
Khedira, who will turn 34 in April, is frustrated by that lack of game time and is hopeful of sealing a move to England, having already won league titles in Germany, Spain and Italy.
“It’s unusual for me, and I’m not satisfied. I’m a competitive guy, I want to play. But in the meantime, I’ve adjusted to the situation and try to make the most of it,” Khedira told The Athletic.
“I’m part of matchday preparation and video analysis. My influence is still there. I see myself as a bit of a mentor for the younger players.
“I’m keeping my energy levels and motivation high. But at the end of the day, I want to be on the pitch and fight for points. That’s why I’m trying to change the situation or leave Turin to do what I enjoy most: playing football.
“The Premier League is still missing in my collection, to play there would be the icing on the cake.
“There are fewer breaks in the game and many counter-attacks, but this is what I like. I’ve done extra sessions with fitness coaches to get myself ready for the pace and intensity in the Premier League.
“My gut instinct and passion tell me I need to play football, if possible in the Premier League. I’m working towards that.”
— Sami Khedira (@SamiKhedira) December 17, 2020
Tottenham and Everton have been touted as potential destinations for Khedira, given their respective bosses Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti coached him at Real Madrid.
“I’m so pleased that he’s [Mourinho] doing so well at Spurs. No one thought he had it in him anymore. But he never stops believing, that’s his secret. And now he’s back. I find that fascinating, but I’m not surprised,” said Khedira.
On Ancelotti, he added: “We’ve kept in contact over the years. Him and Jose are both amazing personalities from whom I’ve learned so much, about the game and about myself.
“They’re both at clubs that play an important role in the league. So let’s see what happens.”
Khedira is approaching the twilight of his career with the utmost professionalism, something he began to properly hone after seeing Cristiano Ronaldo at work upon joining Madrid.
“Cristiano, Sergio Ramos, Kaka, world-class players and Ballon d’Or winners, they stayed out on the pitch longer than anyone else and spent more time in the training ground than anyone else, doing extra work,” he said.
“I thought I knew what being professional was about but they were on a different planet altogether. They took it to its logical conclusion, showing total dedication.
“I realised then that I had about 10 hours each day to work on myself, on top of the four, five hours spent at the training ground, and that I could so much more than lounging on the sofa or next to the pool.
“It’s no coincidence that Cristiano is at the top of his game for 18 years now, he lives and breathes football. To him and guys like Gigi [Gianluigi Buffon], football isn’t a job. It’s their passion, their calling.”
Ronaldo will turn 36 in February but finished 2020 as the highest-scoring player across the top five European leagues with 33 goals in the calendar year.
It made him just the fourth player to hit that mark in Serie A history, following Omar Sivori (33 in 1961), Gunnar Nordahl (36 in 1950) and Felice Borel (41 in 1933).
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