Arsenal Transfer News: Julian Draxler Talk Kept Bubbling by Arsene Wenger

Ravin Sampat@_sampatCorrespondent IIJanuary 18, 2014

Schalke's Julian Draxler celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Champions League group E soccer match between FC Schalke 04 and FC Basel in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Wednesday, Dec.11,2013. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is known for his sometimes "coy" approach to questions from journalists when it comes to discussing possible transfers, and Friday's press conference was no exception.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s visit of Fulham to the Emirates, Wenger likened the rumour that German international Julian Draxler had visited the Arsenal training ground to somebody spotting an UFO, reports John Cross of the Mirror.

Arsenal have been strongly linked with a move for the Schalke star, reports James Dickenson of the Express, in a move worth £37 million. The German international is currently injured but is expected to be back by March, reported the Metro.

Frank Augstein/Associated Press

The Gunners have been tracking Draxler for a long time now, reported last summer by John Cross in the Mirror, with Wenger said to be admiring the attacking midfielder for his intelligence, per Cross.

Arsenal’s title challenge could be derailed after injuries to key players in the last month have left them short. The Gunners remain first in the league but have had their position tailed closely by big-spenders Manchester City and Chelsea.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Recent injuries to Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner have left the Gunners light in attack, and Draxler may be the solution to the shortage.

But with Frenchman Olivier Giroud back from injury, Wenger warned that Arsenal do not need to buy, reported the Metro. The big centre-forward scored in the Jan. 13 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Arsenal have struggled for goals in the league this season, scoring 41, despite topping the league. Challengers Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool all have better resources in that department, hence a bid for Draxler wouldn’t be unlikely.

Draxler, though similar to Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, may be deployed up front alongside Giroud if Wenger decides to change from his 4-3-3 system. Were he to sign now, he would find it difficult to replace any of Arsenal's creative midfield, which has rotated so well this year.

Despite Wenger's insistence that Draxler has not visited the ground, footballer-turned-journalist Jan Aage Fjortoft says that Draxler visited the ground last year:

Earlier this week, defender and German international Per Mertesacker said that Draxler would be welcome at the Emirates should the Gunners make a bid for the young German, reported Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN via

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25:  Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker of Arsenal warm up during a training session at London Colney on November 25, 2013 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Mertesacker—who along with Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Serge Gnabry—is part of a mini German contingent at the club that is currently thriving, and Draxler would fit in perfectly with that.

It must be noted that despite the rumours, Wenger did not deny the interest. Speaking in his press conference today he said, “I am curious as well, of course I am curious it is my nature," reported Dickenson in the Express.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park on January 13, 2014 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Two players who are close to signing currently play at the club. Wenger confirmed that along with Mertesacker, they were also in negotiations with defender Bacary Sagna, whose contract expires in the summer, per Amy Lawrence in the Guardian.

"We are making good progress and hopefully we can announce something soon," he said of the negotiations, per Lawrence.

Wenger, now in his 18th year at the club, would be going against his principles should Draxler be signed this month. The Frenchman actually wants the January transfer window to be "scrapped completely," reported Martyn Herman for Reuters.