Name: Julian Draxler
Position: Attacking midfielder/winger
Nationality: (caps): Germany (15)
Value: £35m – £40m
Even at the age of 21, Julian Draxler is no stranger to transfer rumours. The Schalke man has been an on/off Premier League target for some time, with Arsenal the club to have been most strongly linked with him. A raid last January was mooted, but the Gelsenkirchen outfit held form with their £35m valuation, which eventually deterred Arsene Wenger… who instead signed Kim Kallstrom on loan from Spartak Moscow!
What’s the story?
Well it could be another January of disappointment for Arsenal, with Manchester City firmly in the hunt for the 21-year-old. Sky Blues chief Manuel Pellegrini is reportedly ready to use the German side’s interest in unwanted defender Matija Natastic to push through a swoop as he looks to bolster his own options in the final third. Although there’s nothing concrete in place, City have put forward the idea of a move, and with their man valued at around £10m, a further figure of £25m – £30m will be needed – which may be tricky for the Citizens due to FFP restrictions.
Is he worth it?
Yes and no. Draxler, at 21, is a fantastic talent. Despite his age, he’s already represented Schalke over 100 times and is a regular in the Germany national side – no mean feat given that the word champions have a wealth of talented attacking midfielders.
His skills are backed up by some impressive numbers through his career, with 2012/13 having been his standout campaign. In that season, Draxler notched 11 goals in all competitions as a youngster, which truly announced his arrival at the top table.
Do Arsenal really need him?
Well, this is a question that cannot be truly solved by statistics, with the Gunners’ needs – long-term and short-term – plentiful and varying. The real additions in demand at the Emirates Stadium revolve around defensive positions, but boosting creativity in the final third is a quest Wenger never relents with, and his record in his time at Arsenal cannot be argued with.
Draxler’s statistics for this season do not stand out among the players he could be competing with at Arsenal. Sanchez has outscored him, Cazorla has out-assisted him and even with the similar number of games under their belts this term – eight and six – Ozil has thoroughly out-done his compatriot in terms of key passes. But with Santi getting older, Ozil and Ramsey having had their fitness issues and Sanchez comfortable as a striker, Draxler could become a vital cog.
Should Arsenal fight off City?
A tough one, but even with the stats for this season far from favourable, Draxler is a great prospect. He possesses plenty of experience for his age, can play from wide, as a ‘No. 10’ or as a striker, which would be useful for Wenger. Allowing City to win the race would also directly strengthen a rival, which could extend the already long wait for the Premier League title in the red half of north London.
This January may also present the best chance of winning the race, with City restricted by the financial shackles of UEFA’s FFP. Arsenal are not on the level of the likes of PSG in terms of cash, but the money is rumoured to be there, with the Emirates Stadium debts having eased.
Just to cap it all off, here’s a stunning vine of Draxler setting up Raul!