NAME: Julian Draxler
POSITION: Attacking left midfielder
MARKET VALUE: £26,500,000 (source: Transfermarkt)
WANTED BY: Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Chelsea
Signed by current club Schalke at the age of eight, Julian Draxler is fast becoming Europe’s hottest prospects. Arsenal missed out on the German in the January transfer window but rumours continue to circulate that Arsene Wenger will be back in for the 20 year old in the summer…
Draxler made his Bundesliga debut on 15 January 2011 in a 0–1 loss to Hamburger SV; at that time, he was the fourth youngest Bundesliga player ever. Just a week later, he become the second youngest outfield player after Nuri Sahin to start a Bundesliga match.
He netted his first Bundesliga goal three months later against FC Sankt Pauli. Ever since, Draxler has been a starter in the Schalke setup making no less than 140 appearances for Die Königsblauen.
The German’s efforts have been recognised by national team coach Joachim Low who has rewarded the youngster with 10 caps with Draxler opening his account in a friendly against the USA.
Draxler has scored five goals this season which compared to his 13 strikes last season is slightly disappointing. However, he has been a key member of the Schalke side occupying third place in the Bundesliga; just three points off Borussia Dortmund in second.
Draxler has picked up seven assists this campaign as well as three goals in the UEFA Champions League including a sensational strike against Basel in the group stages.
The 20 year old possesses lighting quick feet and combined with his pace makes him a defenders nightmare. Utilised more frequently on the wing for his side this season gives him the opportunity to cut in from the left and release his thunderous drives.
The Bundesliga is quickly coming a one horse race with Bayern Munich running away with things in Germany and Schalke don’t look like competing for the title; meaning Draxler may have to move on to fulfil his potential. Munich themselves did express an interest in bringing Draxler to the Allianz Arena but were put off by his £37m release clause.
So, could the Premier League be his next destination? Manchester United are rumoured to be monitoring the situation of Draxler with David Moyes wary of missing out on transfer targets such as Marco Reus and Toni Kroos.
Arsenal have shown the biggest interest in bringing the wonderkid to England missing out on him in January. Arsenal already have plenty of Germans in their squad already, many of whom Draxler will be very familiar with including Mesut Ozil.
However, the Gunners have been dealt a huge blow in their pursuit as Draxler’s agent has revealed his client is set to stay at the Veltins Arena.
“Why should a player leave the club if the club have just built a top team? I also think it’s good if players stick to what they have signed. The player understands that there is currently a lot of peace at the club and a lot of optimism about their future there” said Roger Wittman to Sport Bild.
Schalke chairman Clemes Torries backed up this claim saying: “If nothing extraordinary happens, Julian will stay with us.”
The ball is in Arsenal’s court. A move could depend on Arsenal finishing fourth this season and gaining Champions League football. There are also question marks over the future of Arsene Wenger and a potential successor might not fancy a move for the German. If Arsenal were to meet the £37m transfer fee, it’s hard to see Draxler turning down the opportunity.