Transfer Target | Player Profile | Julian Draxler | Chelsea | Arsenal | Borussia Dortmund
Name: Julian Draxler
Current Club: Schalke 04
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Age: 20 years old
Linked to: Arsenal/EPL
Expected Transfer Fee: €45.5m buy out clause
Julian Draxler is the latest in an increasingly long line of talented attacking midfielders developing in Germany. Mesut Ozil, Lewis Holtby, Marko Marin & Andre Schurrle have all made moves away from the Bundesliga and it seems that the kid from the club in Gelsenkirchen may follow them sooner rather than later.
Arsenal look most likely to make a concrete bid fro the Schalke winger. The young Germans international teammate Per Mertersacker has made it clear that a move for the 20 year old would be a terrific piece of business for the London club:
“We would love to welcome a player like Draxler, he is so young and already plays a huge role in Schalke and in the national team,”
The defender told a German website. He went on to say:
“We already have a little German academy here and I learned that German discipline and talents are very appreciated here (in London). But there is lots of talking about possible transfers, I am curious about what is going to happen.”
With Ozil, Podolski and Mertersacker already at the North London Club, Draxler would find it easier to adjust to life in the English Premier League easier than a lot of foreign imports. Just how good is the player?
Draxler – The Final Title Piece?
Draxler’s progress over the past 18 months has been nothing more than astounding – after making his debut in January 2011 (aged 17 years and 4 months) he has continued to impress. Initially played on the left of midfield to accommodate Lewis Holtby, he has subsequently become the central attacking midfield threat since Holtby’s move to Tottenham. His return of 10 goals from 30 in 2012/13 games speaks for itself.
Draxler made his debut for the German first team in May 2012 – he effectively skipped the Under 21 side due to his immense talent (he only played one game at U21 level). He was part of the Euro 2012 squad, although he didn’t get any game time. He scored his first international goal in the 4-3 defeat to the USA in June 2013 and is pushing himself further and further in Jogi Loew’s plans. Draxler is a very different player to Mesut Ozil & Marko Marin – although able to play a defence splitting pass, his game is based much more on finding himself in the right place at the right time.
I would compare him with Frank Lampard, so perhaps its no surprise that he has being heavily linked with Chelsea in the past. Draxler is perhaps more skilful than Lampard though, and many of his goals result from his composure with the ball at his feet, rather than from opportunistic long range shooting.
Arsenal are reportedly readying a £37million bid for the midfielder (€45.5m) which would trigger his release clause. Chelsea are also long term admirers of the player and are monitoring the situation. Shalke general manager Horst Heldt admits they would be powerless to reject such a huge bid:
“We are still hopeful Julian (Draxler) is to stay on at our club,” said Heldt. “However, there are certain arrangements we cannot change!”
Draxler signed a contract extension in May 2013, supposedly tying himself to the club until 2018. The move was received enthusiastically by Schalke supporters as there was a growing worry that rivals Borussia Dortmund were keen to sign him following Mario Goetze’s move to Bayern. To make their feelings known, Schalke fans actually hired a fleet of billboard trucks to tease BVB fans.
Despite signing the contract extension, I still think there’s a strong chance that Schalke will lose Draxler in this window or the next.
Draxler’s attacking skills, combined with his athletic physique & tactical discipline, make him the archetypal Arsene Wenger player. With Sidney Sam already brought in as his replacement at Schalke, the question isn’t IF Draxler goes, it’s WHEN.