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Liverpool Transfer Rumours: Julian Draxler Scouted as Steven Gerrard Replacement

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Liverpool Transfer Rumours: Julian Draxler Scouted as Steven Gerrard Replacement
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Brendan Rodgers is eyeing up Schalke wonder-kid Julian Draxler after he flew out to Gelsenkirchen to watch the starlet first-hand this week.

The attacking midfielder is thought to be seen as a replacement for the ageing Steven Gerrard, who turns 34 at the end of the season.

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According to the Daily Mail's Neil Ashton, the Liverpool boss was at the Veltins-Arena to see Draxler score in his side's 2-0 win over Basel on Wednesday, helping the Miners through to the next phase of the Champions League.

The performance was full of fine moments for the youngster, as 101GreatGoals pointed out over Twitter:

Winning the race for Draxler's signature will be far from simple, however. Nick Lustig of the Daily Star suggests Chelsea could have an ace up their sleeve, while Arsenal and Manchester United are also hovering.

Lustig reports that out-of-favour Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne could be offered by the Blues in part-exchange, a deal which would provide Schalke with a ready-made replacement for their unsettled star.

Gerrard's age doesn't mean the veteran's time as a Red is done. In fact, behind Luis Suarez the Liverpool skipper has arguably been his side's most influential player this season.

BBC Sport recently quoted Rodgers saying his captain could extend his career by shifting to centre-back.

As the Daily Mail's Lee Clayton shows, however, it's an idea not everyone is as confident in:

According to Transfermarkt.co.uk, Draxler has eight assists and five goals to his name across all competitions this season, but has suggested tones of unhappiness in his current surroundings.

Per German magazine Kicker (h/t the London Evening Standard's Joe Krishnan), the 20-year-old, who's been fielded largely on the left wing this season, stated:

I have now resigned myself to the fact that I am not welcome in the number 10 position here at Schalke. I am still convinced to be as dangerous just outside the centre. Even though I perhaps am the only one who thinks this.

In his younger days, Gerrard was more accustomed to filling in behind the forward line and getting his name on the score sheet with regularity. However, his advancing years have seen the player migrate more towards a deeper-lying position.

A throwback to the Gerrard of old, Draxler would certainly excite Anfield in the same way the England man has over the last 15 years, but with current Champions League clubs also interested, Rodgers faces a fight to get his man.

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