Madrid, July 31 (DPA) Fans of Spanish giants Real Madrid are divided about the signing of German international Sami Khedira, to judge by an online poll published by sports daily Marca Saturday.
The club directors expected it to be a popular signing because it resumes Real's tradition of having a German midfielder in the team's engine room, and also because of the relatively modest transfer fee.
Madrid is paying Vfb Stuttgart around 12 million euros (15.65 dollars) for the 23 year-old, partly because his contract with the German club was due to expire in 2011.
Marca asked its readers whether they approve of the signing, and only 53.8 per cent of the 22,391 readers who had responded by Saturday voted "yes", with 46.2 per cent opting for "no."
The explanation for this could be that the fans are used to big- name "Galactico" signings, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema, all of whom arrived to huge fanfare and fan euphoria last summer, with the Estadio Bernabeu packed to welcome them.
This summer new coach Jose Mourinho has insisted on the club buying younger, less flamboyant players - who also happen to be cheaper. So far, the club has spent around 60 million euros on youngsters Sergio Canales, Pedro Leon, Angel Di Maria and now Khedira.
As usual, Real are the biggest spenders in Europe so far, but this year's outlay pales into comparison to the 265 million euros they splashed out last summer on eight new players.
AS, the rival daily to Marca, pointed out that Khedira "has a bright future" and "was very impressive in the World Cup" for Germany.
AS said that "German players have always been successful" at Real, citing the prior examples of goalkeeper Bodo Illgner (1998 Champions Cup), and 1970s midfielders Uli Stielike, Paul Breitner and Guenter Netzer, who helped Real to several Liga titles.
Now that they have signed Khedira, Real is expected to go after fellow German Mesut Oezil of Werder Bremen, another youngster who impressed at the World Cup in South Africa.
Mourinho, however, seems more interested in shoring up the defence, with Inter Milan right-back Maicon and Chelsea veteran Ricardo Carvalho.
Khedira was due to fly to the Spanish capital Saturday for medical checks and then sign a five-year contract.
In another move away from the "Galactico" era, no official presentation to the fans has been planned. Instead, Khedira will fly out to Los Angeles on Sunday to join Real's summer tour of the United States.