Schalke's Julian Draxler Extends Through 2018, Wards off Madrid and Dortmund

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Schalke's Julian Draxler Extends Through 2018, Wards off Madrid and Dortmund
Lars Baron/Getty Images

According to Hassan Talib Haji of Goal.com, Schalke 04 starlet Julian Draxler has signed a new contract with the club through the summer of 2018.

This comes as a bitter blow to reported suitors Real Madrid (via Marca), while there have also been allegations that Borussia Dortmund have tried to sign him to replace Mario Goetze (via ESPN).

Previously, Draxler had stated that turning out in a Blancos shirt at the Santiago Bernabeu is a dream of his but also values playing for the club his entire family supports:

I've always said I'd like to play in Spain. I'm proud that Real Madrid is interested. Playing for them would be a dream come true.

I try to catch Real Madrid and Barcelona's matches every week and I never miss a Clásico.

I've played with [current Madrid midfielder Mesut] Özil for the national team: he's a great player and I feel very comfortable alongside him.

It's no surprise that the spotlight is shining brightly on Draxler, as his transition to the No. 10 role in Schalke 04's midfield has been both seamless and highly effective.

The addition of Michel Bastos in January, coupled with the departure of key man Lewis Holtby to Tottenham Hotspur, paved the way for him to move inside, and he's grasped the opportunity with both hands.

For one so young, he shoulders the responsibility well, and his subsequent move back to the left wing to accommodate in-form Raffael has been equally impressive.

The 4-1 win away to Wolfsburg was perhaps his crowning moment this season, firing in two goals, one assist, hitting the woodwork and making a crucial block: WhoScored? gave him a perfect 10, which is a rare feat to achieve.

That game made people sit up and notice his talent, with legendary striker Raul complementing young Draxler on his great form (via Goal.com).

Draxler's transition inside was easy because, as a left-sider, he would cut in frequently to test his luck on goal. His two-footedness allowed him to isolate a full-back and go either side and never truly had to make radical adjustments in shaping to shoot (unlike the likes of Ashley Young).

His linkup play and awareness is excellent, and playing as a No. 10 allowed him to showcase these abilities in Jens Keller's 4-2-3-1 formation. All the attacks go through him when he's behind Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and back out on the left he's still a key component.

He's not blessed with outrageous pace like colleague Jefferson Farfan, but his awareness and positioning has allowed to manipulate space and conquer Bundesliga defences at an early age.

Schalke will be breathing a big sigh of relief after tying down a key player for five more years.

A precedent has been set in Germany where the best young players are leaving for the top, top clubs, and die Koenigsblauen have managed to avoid a second Holtby-esque disappointment in a matter of months.

Next on the agenda: Transition wunderkind Max Meyer into the team alongside him.

 

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