Schalke star Julian Draxler is eyeing a move to Chelsea or Manchester United, according to Metro. The 19-year-old playmaker—who is widely regarded as one of German football's top prospects—could be ready to exchange his Bundesliga career for the Premier League.
Draxler recently put pen to paper on a bumper deal that would supposedly keep him at the Veltins Arena until 2018 and fight off interest from Borussia Dortmund. Although it's a massive coup for Schalke to have the youngster tied to a long-term contract, it appears Draxler's new deal could have been installed in order to raise his buyout clause.
ESPN reports the new contract contains the largest buyout clause in German football at €43 million. This type of upgrade is becoming more common as clubs look to maximize the value of their most bankable starlets. Malaga implemented a similar clause in Isco's new contract during the January transfer window, a decision that could increase his transfer sum significantly across the summer.
Draxler's agent Roger Wittmann has confirmed the playmaker won't be sold for anything less than £38 million, so it seems any potential suitor will need to trigger his buyout fee for a transfer to take place. The German international recently hinted he is ready to leave if the right offer comes along, as revealed on Dutch TV show Sport1 and reported by The Daily Express:
"Which boy doesn't dream about playing for Real, Barca, Chelsea or Manchester United? That's nothing to be ashamed of."
With Real Madrid reportedly chasing Isco and Barcelona having already confirmed the transfer of Neymar, it seems Draxler's most likely destination could be England. Would he fit in at Chelsea or Manchester United? Let's break it down.
Would Draxler fit in at Chelsea?
Jose Mourinho has a pool of ridiculous talent to play with at Chelsea. More specifically, his midfield options are extensive and exciting. Like many at Stamford Bridge, Draxler can play anywhere along the attacking midfield line and is versatile enough to interchange depending on the situation.
Chelsea already own Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Oscar, Lucas Piazon, Victor Moses, Marko Marin, Kevin De Bruyne and new signing Andre Schurrle, who can all perform similar roles. This is without considering various members of the youth setup who are likely to make giant strides over the next couple of years.
Despite possessing tremendous finishing ability and an intelligent footballing brain—two attributes that often seems apparent in Chelsea's midfielders—Draxler may find it difficult to impose himself in London. He certainly has the quality to start every match, but Mourinho is unlikely to give the German such an easy route to the first team.
Draxler started 29 games for Schalke during the 2012-13 season and appeared as a substitute on seven occasions. As a fully-fledged German international who is battling for a place in the country's 2014 World Cup squad, it may be a backwards step to join a club that cannot guarantee he regularly receives a decent amount of playing time.
You only have to look at Marin's debut season with Chelsea to witness how quickly tremendous talent can be stubbed out with a lack of games. Although Draxler can naturally adapt to more positions than his counterpart, Chelsea's current strength in depth suggests he should opt for a move that can offer him instant gratification and responsiblity.
Would Draxler fit in at Manchester United?
David Moyes may believe Draxler is a ready-made Manchester United signing. He is rampant on the counterattack, strong in the air and has natural dribbling ability that few central midfielders at Old Trafford can match.
The Premier League champions may have to deal with Wayne Rooney leaving the club, suggesting Draxler might be lined up as a replacement. He is certainly more inclined to play behind Robin van Persie and could form an integral link between Michael Carrick and the Dutch striker.
Draxler could thrive when interlinking with Shinji Kagawa and would fit into a Moyes-styled formation that would mimic his most successful Everton lineups.
United may be inclined to ditch traditional wingers in the coming season, as Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have all failed to impress in recent times. Draxler's arrival into the midfield could usher in an era of short passes and possession retention at the club.
The Red Devils are crying out for greater physical presence in midfield. Draxler's energy and willingness to bring others into play could allow Carrick greater space on the halfway line, as Tom Cleverley and Anderson currently lack the consistency to help United's main midfielder to deal with physical threat. If Rooney was to stay and Draxler arrived, United's midfield four could be extremely exciting indeed.
While rumours will continue to spew, it's clear Draxler is suited to a Premier League move. Right now, his best destination would be Manchester. Chelsea's current squad is crammed with similar players, many of whom are talented individuals who cannot maintain a place in the starting lineup.
Although Manchester United need to sign a specialized midfield destroyer, Draxler's attributes should be welcomed to Old Trafford. It will be interesting to see how this one develops, as right now, it seems Schalke fans will need to brace themselves for a stressful summer.
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