Whispers of an Arsenal move for Julian Draxler continue to intensify, and at the midpoint of this season's January transfer window, club scouts have given the Schalke midfielder an "ultimate recommendation" to Arsene Wenger.
As reported by Ed Malyon of Mirror Football, lengthy monitoring of the 20-year-old's development has yielded some huge praise from Arsenal's talent spotters:
Having tracked him for years, Arsenal's scouts in Germany have given their boss the ultimate recommendation on Draxler, who has the potential to improve into one of the world's best attacking midfielders.
But a January move seems more and more unlikely, with Wenger likely to focus on loaning a forward.
The Frenchman has been in lethal form this campaign, but as Arsenal compete across the domestic division, the FA Cup and the Champions League, it's clear Wenger needs to strengthen his forward line.
Nicklas Bendtner, despite grabbing a duo of important goals this season, has proven a liability in the past and has failed to show over recent campaigns that he can hit the back of the net on a regular basis.
Arsenal's reported interest in Draxler has continued to reappear throughout the season. Even so, the attacking midfielder, who has scored four goals across 20 appearances in the Bundesliga and the Champions League this campaign, per WhoScored.com, isn't the out-and-out forward Wenger needs.
Names such as Alvaro Morata, Jackson Martinez and Diego Costa have been linked to solving this problem, per Alan Wilson of Mirror Football, but Wenger doesn't appear to be within touching distance of these potential targets just yet.
A buyout clause in the region of £40 million is thought to have been inserted into Draxler's contract, but as noted by Peter Fraser of Sky Sports, it makes little sense for the Gunners—and indeed, the player—to make a switch before the end of the season:
[...] if a deal is agreed this month, it would be a surprise if Draxler moved before the summer given Schalke are facing Real Madrid in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League while youngster is thought to want to avoid the disruption of moving away from Germany before a World Cup in which he is expected to be a prominent member of his country's squad.
While Wenger may overlook the need to bolster his midfield options right now, especially considering Draxler cannot represent anyone other than Schalke on this year's European stage, Malyon's report suggests positive steps are being taken toward his eventual signature.
Draxler's versatile qualities are known to many, but assurance from scouts provides Wenger with the leverage to make his Emirates arrival a reality.
The player's passing ability, physical qualities and finishing prowess would certainly aid Arsenal's midfield, but his signature should be put on hold in the immediate future.
Wenger's success could hinge on whether he manages to find additional firepower for the rest of the season, but for those waiting on the immediate arrival of Draxler, it's likely an additional striker will jet to North London before the German starlet.