Arsenal are reportedly in "advanced talks" with Schalke over the transfer of Julian Draxler, but the English club are not willing to meet the Bundesliga side's £37 million evaluation for the 20-year-old.
As revealed by David Kent of the Daily Mail Online, Arsene Wenger is finally readying a swoop for the German international, but he is unlikely to fire over such a lofty fee to seal the deal:
The 20-year-old's £37million release clause activates in the summer and Arsenal want to wrap up a deal before the end of the transfer window before interest in Draxler from other clubs mounts.
Arsenal were hoping to sign Draxler for around £30m but Schalke are holding out for £37m for their prized asset.
Wenger hinted he may be forced into the transfer market after the Gunners' 2-2 draw with Southampton, a match which saw Mathieu Flamini sent off, per Sky Sports, saying, "I have nothing to tell you tonight, maybe I hope we have something to tell you because we lost a few players now."
Draxler has made his name as a versatile attacking midfield type, someone who is comfortable on either flank or in the centre, so this process is likely to take time.
At his tender age, £37 million appears to be an awful lot.
While elite clubs always have to pay for potential when landing a future star, Draxler's buyout clause is put into perspective when you consider Juan Mata, two-time Chelsea player of the year and World Cup winner, cost Manchester United £37.1 million, as per Sky Sports.
Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph builds on this point, reminding Arsenal fans that Mesut Ozil cost a little more at £42 million:
While Draxler's hefty sum could put Arsenal off, the January transfer window often forces clubs into paying premium prices for star players.
We've seen Andy Carroll transferred to Liverpool for £35 million in previous years, and Fernando Torres join Chelsea from Anfield for £50 million, but Wenger doesn't traditionally spend heavily during the winter window.
Last year, the experienced manager sanctioned just £8.5 million for Nacho Monreal, per The Telegraph.
Even so, it appears a deal for Draxler is getting closer. After all the anticipation and expectation, Schalke's willingness to budge from £37 million—or indeed, Arsenal's willingness to pay top dollar—will decide whether or not the German becomes an Emirates player.