Arsenal representatives are set to fly to Germany in order to secure a transfer for Schalke's Julian Draxler.
As reported by John Cross of the Mirror, Arsene Wenger will attempt to sign the versatile midfielder before the end of the current transfer window:
Representatives of the Gunners are due to travel to Germany to try to push through a January transfer of Schalke’s £35million-rated midfielder.
The clubs are expected to hold talks, but the Bundesliga side are reluctant to sell even though it is understood Draxler is keen on the switch.
Schalke understandably want the player to stay. Clemens Tonnies, CEO at the Bundesliga club, has urged Draxler to remain in Gelsenkirchen as speculation continues to swirl, per Sport Bild and via Stefan Coerts of Goal.com:
I am of the opinion that Julian should play for Schalke next season. That's my personal advise to him.
He should not let the interest from abroad play with his head. It's best for his development when he can play without much pressure and with a clear mind.
Tonnies also confirms Schalke "have no intention on selling him this winter," while they will not be forced to offload the 20-year-old "even if we do not qualify for the Champions League."
Horst Heldt, general manager at the club, has suggested any discussion of Draxler moving on is "wild speculation" produced by the English press, reported by Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC.
Draxler's name has become synonymous with Arsenal throughout the season, but it seems the Gunners have plenty of work to do if they are to bring the starlet to North London.
He's the type of player who would naturally fit into Wenger's plans. Draxler offers a sharp range of passing, is a powerful dribbler and has the stature to compete against opponents who are more physically mature.
The German international has completed 83.6 percent of his passes across 20 appearances in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season—a number that is similar to Arsenal's midfielders, per WhoScored.com.
The youngster has also completed an average of 4.2 dribbles per game. This is far more than the Gunners' best effort, which sees Jack Wilshere come in with 1.7 dribbles each fixture. With that said, Draxler is dispossessed far more often at 2.4 times every match, while Olivier Giroud is Arsenal's worst offender with 1.9.
If Draxler does secure a move to England, it's Giroud who is likely to work closest with the midfielder. Wenger would deploy Draxler behind the forward, or indeed, push him alongside the Frenchman when extra attacking impetus is needed.
That said, Draxler is not the out-and-out striker Arsenal need to cover the man they signed from Montpellier in 2012. Bringing in a world-class goalscorer is preferable, especially now Theo Walcott is ruled out for the rest of the season, reported by BBC Sport.
Reports previously suggested Wenger would offer Lukas Podolski as part of a £35 million deal, as written by Shaun Custis of The Sun (subscription required) and detailed by ESPN, but it seems the player's £37 million release clause will need to be met if he is to leave the Veltins-Arena.
If Wenger really is as keen on Draxler as the media suspects, it makes sense to trigger that stipulation during the current month. Rival clubs are likely to consider Draxler in the summer, but the chance of missing out can be minimalised if negotiations aren't prolonged.
Arsenal have already witnessed the impact of one German this season—a certain Mesut Ozil—and there's no denying Draxler's signing would also galvanise the squad's chances of landing silverware this season.