As a deal that would send Sidney Sam to Schalke draws ever nearer, there are whispers of a path developing that would bring Julian Draxler to Arsenal.
ESPN stated that the Sam deal is "all but done," so where does that leave Draxler?
At the end of November, the 20-year-old German midfielder admitted that Arsenal play his sort of football. In a report by Jeremy Wilson at the Telegraph, Draxler confessed that he had already spoken to Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil about Arsene Wenger's side:
Of course I sometimes speak to Mesut or Per about the team, about the club, and they always have good words and they tell me nice things.
You never know what happens in the summer but Arsenal is a very, very nice team. They always have very young players, they play attractive football and that's what I like.
But I better not speak too much about it because tomorrow I can read that I like to play for Arsenal. I think the people at Schalke would not like to hear that.
Of course, those comments led to reports precisely like the ones he hoped to avoid. While it's important to keep his comments in the proper context, the fact that Mertesacker and Ozil have been outspoken in their support for Arsenal automatically gives them an edge.
Jan Aage Fjortoft, the man who broke the news of Ozil moving to Arsenal, also cited Arsenal as the front-runners in the race for Draxler's signature:
BREAKING NEWS! I understand Arsenal are big favourite to get Schalke's Wonderkid Julian Draxler. I understand Wenger talk to him often #afc— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) November 30, 2013
As with such transfer speculation, there are also external circumstances that could bring the whole thing down pretty quickly.
Draxler's buyout clause has been reported to be in the region of £38 million, which is pretty daunting for a player his age, regardless of his Champions League experience. It's also been reported that his clause is only valid in the summer, which would again scupper any January plans Arsenal may have.
Re: Arsenal favourite to get Draxler - contract till 2018 - buy-out- clause: 45 mill Euro - valid every summer #AFC— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) November 30, 2013
Each transfer window brings with it the suggestion that Draxler is on his way out. It wasn't so long ago that he was linked to Borussia Dortmund, a move which failed to materialise. Instead, it led to Draxler signing a new deal that should keep him at Schalke until 2018.
The remaining time on his contract—as well as the painful release clause—should all combine to put off any sane offers for the midfielder.
However, that could all change by the end of the season.
Should Arsenal make a move for Draxler?
If Draxler were to lose playing time to Sam in such an important season for his international prospects—added to the continued development of Max Meyer—it could prompt him to rethink his plans and open the door for other teams to tempt him away from the Bundesliga.
This is where Arsenal could seize their chance.
While it's not essential for Wenger to bring in another attacking midfielder, simple wisdom dictates that if the club has the opportunity to buy such an immense talent, they should do so. "Too much talent" isn't something you hear a lot of from managers when discussing their players.
It may seem a small window, but sometimes that's enough to push a deal through.