Arsenal Transfer News: Why Julian Draxler Would Make Huge Impact for Gunners
With just three days left until the end of the summer transfer window, attention across Europe is focused on a handful of clubs who are still seeking to do major business.
At the moment, it is Spurs who appear comfortable favourites to join the top four at the Gunners' expense.
The media have talked all summer of Arsenal's £70 million transfer fund, but it has remained virtually untouched up to this point.
On Saturday, though, the Gunners were linked with a £40 million-plus move for Schalke's Julian Draxler, per the Daily Mirror—a move which would change the complexion of the summer at Emirates Stadium.
Signing Draxler, 19, would be somewhat of a gamble by Arsenal—that is for sure—and, at the same time, the club's issues in defensive midfield would remain unresolved. What it would be, though, is a statement of intent on the part of a club who have been drifting in recent years.
The gamble would not so much be on Draxler's ability—he is a fabulous player—but rather in lumping such a large chunk of their budget on a player so young. A £40 million player, it is to be expected, would single-handedly change a side's outlook for the season. It would be a big responsibility for the young German.
But Draxler has shown great potential in his three campaigns at senior level to date and, last campaign, showed a real improvement in terms of meaningful contributions—scoring 10 goals and adding three assists.
For the amount of money Arsenal would be looking at paying, with the same article suggesting Schalke are looking for closer to £60 million, that return would need to be improved once again. With their Champions League qualification on the line, Arsenal cannot afford to look at potential ability alone.
While Draxler plays as both a central and left-sided attacking midfielder for Schalke, the assumption must be that he would play instead of countryman Lukas Podolski from the left flank, were he to join Arsenal.
With Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere in central areas, that would seem unlikely, while Theo Walcott would likely continue to operate from the right. Draxler would, though, offer a different threat to the club's existing wide players.
A good dribbler, Draxler looks to cut in from the flank and play sharp interchanges with his colleagues to work an opening. Comfortable crossing or shooting off either foot, he is a considerable challenge for opposition full-backs.
Compared with Podolski, for example, Draxler is more innovative and has more weapons with which to create an opening. Podolski is easier to read for a defender, but has proven effective as a direct attacking force from the flank.
Would Draxler help Arsenal remain in the top four?
Surprisingly tall for his position, Draxler is strong and relatively good in the air. He will, though, need some encouragement to stick to his defensive duties—an issue Arsenal have found with Podolski over the past 12 months.
There is no doubt that Draxler would add much to the Arsenal attacking unit, but will he make a big enough impact to justify the pricetag? There is every chance that he could, should his current progress continue.
Arsenal need a signing that will assert their claims to a top-four place and a player of Draxler's quality would doubtless help in that respect. His arrival, and the message it would send out, would surely lift the spirits of fans and players alike.
Whether he ends up being Arsenal's big name addition or not, it is clear that one is needed. Given his potential, and the lack of such players on the market at this stage of the window, the gamble may well be worth taking.
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