Leeds United were linked with a move for Paris Saint Germain midfielder Julian Draxler as the January transfer window first opened, with Gazzetta dello Sport claiming that the Germany international is being increasingly monitored ahead of what could be his final season with the French giants (via Sport Witness).
The Whites would hugely benefit from signing a player of Draxler’s calibre, especially as a free agent. The 27-year-old is now into the final six months of his current deal and although he is valued at £18million by Transfermarkt, he could join Leeds for nothing in the summer if they can agree a pre-contract agreement.
However, should Victor Orta work his magic on bringing Draxler to Elland Road, it could spell the end of Pablo Hernandez.
Draxler is being eyed by several elite level clubs, as is natural for a 56-cap international who has won three league titles and the World Cup. Since his arrival at PSG in 2017, he has impressed all around him. Former coach Unai Emery heaped praise on his debut and described him as an “ambitious” player.
Draxler has since gone on to score 22 goals and 33 assists for the Parisians but has recently fallen out of favour. Should he join Leeds, his direct competition would be Hernandez, who is eight years his senior. The Whites veteran has already slipped down the pecking order under Marcelo Bielsa, making just eight appearances in the league this season.
His only goal contributions came during Leeds’ 5-2 win over Newcastle last month, where he grabbed himself two assists. With just over a year left on his £23,500 per week contract and already struggling for game time, the arrival of a much younger and more prolific player in his position will surely only push him further towards the exit door.
According to WhoScored, Draxler has averaged more key passes, crosses and a better passing accuracy than Hernandez so far this season. Whilst they have both been deprived of minutes, the German comes off the stronger candidate to slot in behind Patrick Bamford in Bielsa’s struggling attack.
Having a new creative player like Draxler who has been praised by many could be the exact boost Leeds need to pick up their inconsistent form. Whilst they aren’t in any real danger of relegation as it stands, the tables can easily turn and they will want to get themselves back on track and hopefully return next season with a stronger lineup that can cause problems for opposition’s backline in a second top-flight campaign.