New Juventus signing Sami Khedira has said he decided against a move to Schalke following the sacking of Robert Di Matteo. Khedira, who will join Juve on a free transfer from Real Madrid on July 1, had been strongly linked with Schalke for several months, with the club’s sporting executive, Horst Heldt, talking up a potential deal on several occasions.
Khedira, 28, will join the Italian champions on a free transfer following the expiry of his Madrid contract at the end of this month. A statement on Juve’s official website read: “Juventus Football Club has today completed the signing of Sami Khedira. The 28-year-old, who will officially join from Real Madrid on a free transfer on 1 July 2015, has agreed terms on a four-year contract which expires on 30 June 2019.”
Khedira, who joined Madrid from Stuttgart in 2010, won the Copa del Rey, La Liga and Champions League trophies during his first three years at Madrid, but was frozen out last season when it became obvious he was not staying. He had also suffered a string of injuries over the last couple of years, but then-Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti had regularly praised the player’s professionalism in training.
The Royal Blues suffered a severe dip in form during the final months of the season that saw them miss out on the Champions League and only narrowly qualify for the Europa League. That dismal run led to Schalke indefinitely suspending Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam before Di Matteo left the club at the end of the season, having reportedly been sacked despite the club announcing that he had resigned.
Germany international Khedira said that, in light of recent events, he had decided against a move to Gelsenkirchen.
“I had very, very good talks with Schalke 04, especially with their former coach Roberto Di Matteo, but also with Horst Heldt and Clemens Tonnies,” said Khedira. “It was under serious consideration, but in the end there was too much turbulence at the club, and the coach was sacked, and that was the main point for me. As a result, it was clear that I’d make the move to Italy.”
Khedira said in a Marca interview last month that he felt he had been sidelined by figures higher up in the Bernabeu hierarchy. Champions League finalists Juve, who have also agreed to sign Palermo striker Paulo Dybala, could see a number of players leave the club this summer.
France midfielder Paul Pogba has attracted interest from clubs including Barcelona, although Juve insist he is not for sale, while forward Alvaro Morata, who says he is happy in Turin, has been linked with a return to Real Madrid. Veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo could also move to New York City FC, while doubts remain over Arturo Vidal, who was strongly linked with Manchester United last year.