Arsene Wenger's pursuit of Julian Draxler took a turn for the better this week after Schalke general manager Horst Heldt was reported to have loosened his position on retaining the youngster's services.
However, it's a transfer that the Gunners need not jump at this winter, considering their creative ranks are coping quite well at the top of the Premier League table, and a better alternative would be to hang on until the summer in their pursuit.
Heldt told German publication Bild (h/t Metro) that the club may not be able to hang on to the player's services for much longer, saying:
We continue to hope that Julian remains. But there are factors that we can not influence.
Draxler has long been an attractive prospect for Europe's elite, but the Miners have so far succeeded in rejecting the advances of their peers, including Arsenal.
The first deterrent, albeit a potentially small one for Wenger's side, is that the 20-year-old is currently on the sidelines with injury and is set to miss the rest of the January schedule.
According to Sky Sport News' Dirk Schlaarmann (via Jan Aage Fjortoft), Draxler will be out of action until mid-February:
Of course, Wenger will have already seen plenty to know just what the starlet is capable of, but signing crocked players, particularly in the winter transfer window, is often a risky proposition.
What's perhaps most pertinent for the Gunners is the fact that they wouldn't be able to offer Draxler exactly what he wants, at least not right now.
This season, the German international has found himself shifted out on to the left wing so that Max Meyer can occupy his favoured position as the central playmaker.
It's by all means a position that the versatile maestro is capable in, but it was only in December that Draxler told German magazine Kicker (h/t London Evening Standard's Joe Krishnan) he wasn't happy with the choice:
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.
It's a similar prospect to the one Santi Cazorla found himself in at the Emirates Stadium following the £42.5 million arrival of Mesut Ozil last summer, with playing time through the middle now governed by the former Real Madrid star.
Piers Morgan believes that the two could operate well together, although no further details are given as to how:
So, with that being the case, who's to say Draxler would fare any better? Launching a gargantuan bid for the young puppeteer is plausible, but it makes more sense to allow Draxler time to progress somewhere he's assured of the playing time.
And then there's the factor that's always up for debate in North London: finances. The Metro's Danny Griffiths this week disclosed that Draxler's deal does have a £40 million release clause, which in itself is close to the record fee paid for Ozil just four-and-a-half months ago.
While Arsenal may be in a secure position right now in terms of funding, to splurge another fee of such vast proportions may come a bit too soon.
Wenger has led his current crop to the head of the Premier League standings and would be much better off taking a more calculated run at his recruitment plans in the summer.
Draxler would undoubtedly be an improvement to what's already at the Frenchman's disposal, but a necessity he is not.
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