Arsenal Transfer News: Yoann Gourcuff Lined Up as Back-Up to Julian Draxler Deal

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2014

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2013 file photo, Lyon's Yoann Gourcuff looks on after kicking the ball during their Europa League soccer match against Real Betis in Lyon, central France. The 27-year-old with 31 caps hit rock bottom when a handful of fans watched him play for Lyon's reserves in early November. It was Gourcuff’s latest comeback from injury, yet his improved recent form suggests the elegant playmaker whose shoulders were crushed by the weight of expectation could now be turning the corner. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)
Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

Arsene Wenger will turn to Yoann Gourcuff as an alternative for Julian Draxler if he cannot land the Schalke man, according to reports on Monday.

The French boss has long been linked with a swoop for Draxler's services, but Gourcuff may offer a viable back-up option from cash-strapped Lyon, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail:

Arsene Wenger is keen to tie up a deal for French international Yoann Gourcuff this week.

The Arsenal boss is a long term admirer of the 27-year-old attacking midfielder who has scored three goals in 13 league appearances this season.

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has been remarkably outspoken in recent times and continues to deny Draxler will be offloaded to the Emirates. He remains resolute, per Sky Sports:

You should ask Mr Wenger, call him. There's no contact with Arsenal or any other club. I cannot exclude the option we will sign Cristiano Ronaldo. I don't need to talk about this.

I understand why you are asking the question but all the topics you mention need to be addressed in London.

Wenger also called Arsenal's proposed move an "illusion" during a recent press conference, suggesting talk of Draxler could be masking concrete action in the transfer market.

MONTREAL, CANADA - JULY 24:  Yoann Gourcuff #8 of Olympique Lyonnais stops the ball and turns in front of Patrice Bernier #8 of the Montreal Impact during the MLS match at the Saputo Stadium on July 24, 2012 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Olympique def
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Like the German starlet, Gourcuff offers a powerful presence across the attacking midfield line for his club. He is a decent passer of the ball, likes to try his luck with long shots and possesses real threat when taking set pieces.

Although the 27-year-old could be seen as a useful stop-gap along the road to acquiring Draxler, he is not the out-and-out goalscorer Arsenal need as cover for Olivier Giroud.

If the French striker succumbs to injury this season, his nine goals and five assists in 20 Premier League games will be mightily difficult to replace, per WhoScored.

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

Wenger recently suggested he is "unlikely" to make any signings during January, per Sky Sports.

Arsenal will find it extremely difficult to compete across the domestic division, FA Cup and Champions League if the veteran boss fails to add new talent.

A killer stretch of fixtures across February and March threaten to end the club's hopes of silverware in one fell swoop, as noted by this frightening Bleacher Report UK tweet:

While Gourcuff or Draxler could certainly make an impact this campaign, Arsenal's stacked midfield options ensure Wenger should have far more pressing concerns right now—notably, a world-class talent to offer Giroud respite as we enter this season's crunch time.