Arsenal

Arsenal Transfer News: Julian Draxler Deal May Rest on Tottenham's Lewis Holtby

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: Julian Draxler of FC Schalke looks on during a training Session on November 5, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2014

The North London rivalry promises to flare up off the pitch this January after it came to light that Arsenal's hopes of signing Julian Draxler may rest on whether Tottenham are willing to sell one of their assets.

Lewis Holtby was brought to White Hart Lane last January but has struggled to adapt to the Premier League, opening the possibility of a winter exit after just 12 months with Spurs.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12:  Lewis Holtby of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring their third goal during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and FC Anji Makhachkala at White Hart Lane on December 12, 2013 in London, Engla
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

His agent, Marcus Noack, recently told German daily Bild (h/t talkSPORT) that a return to Schalke was under consideration:

"Lewis is desperate to play, which is why we are looking intensively for solutions. Schalke is an interesting option."

However, the Mirror's Darren Lewis reports that Daniel Levy is aghast to the idea of helping the Gunners land another coup, just five months after the sale of Gareth Bale helped facilitate Arsene Wenger's £42.5 million swoop for Mesut Ozil.

An excerpt from Lewis' report reads:

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is set to veto Lewis Holtby’s move to Schalke – because he doesn’t want to help Arsenal land Julian Draxler.

[...]

Schalke want a loan deal for their old boy Holtby as a replacement for Draxler, after admitting they could not stand in the way if a club triggered the 20-year-old’s £37million release clause this month.

General manager Horst Heldt said: “We are still hopeful Julian (Draxler) is to stay on at our club. However, there are certain arrangements we cannot change.”

Holtby left the Veltins-Arena as something of a crowd favourite for the Miners, but the midfielder has dropped out of the spotlight since moving to Tottenham, making just six Premier League starts this season, according to Transfermarkt.co.uk.

Draxler is currently on the injured list in Gelsenkirchen, but Sky Sports News' Dirk Schlaarmann (according to a post from former Bundesliga player Jan Aage Fjortoft on his Twitter account) says that the German international is slated for a return by mid-February:

Spurs aren't vying for the same high honours as their North London rivals this term and currently sit eight points lower than Arsenal, in sixth.

However, strengthening the Gunners' bid to end a decade-long silverware drought clearly isn't on Levy's agenda.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - MARCH 12:  Julian Draxler of Schalke looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between FC Schalke 04 and Galatasaray AS at Veltins-Arena on March 12, 2013 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.  (Photo by La
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Though one can't fault the chairman for his club loyalties, it's a fine line that Levy treads. Holtby's exit could benefit not only the player, but also Tim Sherwood if funds are released to add to his squad.

However, The Mirror's John Cross is of the belief that things won't be as simple as Holtby coming in as Draxler's replacement:

Draxler has been fielded in a more unnatural position on the left wing this term but is more accustomed to playing through the middle, in a similar area of the pitch to the one Ozil now occupies at the Emirates Stadium.

Holtby's lack of involvement this season doesn't put him on quite the same level as the £37 million-valued Schalke prodigy, but the German club nevertheless need a player who can fill the potential void left by Draxler.

PETAH TIQWA, ISRAEL - JUNE 06: Lewis Holtby of Germany reacts during the UEFA European Under 21 Championship match between Netherlands and Germany at Ha Moshava Stadium on June 6, 2013 in Petah Tiqwa, Israel.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

The deal makes sense for two of the three parties, with Wenger surely happy to add another young, creative talent to his ranks, but it seems Levy's Tottenham may yet block the deal from taking place.

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