Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Information on Gunners' Pursuit of Julian Draxler

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 29, 2014

Schalke's Julian Draxler celebrates his side's third goal during the Champions League group E soccer match between Schalke 04 and Steaua Bucharest in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

With the transfer window closing in a matter of days, Arsenal are making a strong last-minute push to land Julian Draxler, the dynamic attacking midfielder from Germany's FC Schalke 04.

The Daily Mirror's John Cross reports Wednesday, Jan. 29, that a deal for £30 million is "on the brink" of getting done after the most recent negotiations and the German club is indeed seeking to sell Draxler:

Part of what made the Gunners comfortable with pursuing Draxler, who is currently nursing an ankle injury, is the fact that he'll return to the pitch soon after an encouraging recent evaluation, per Cross:

We can also reveal that Draxler has been cleared to return to play again in just seven days' time after seeing German specialist Hans Muller Wohlfahrt about a ruptured ankle tendon. That came as a major boost for Arsenal and increased their determination to get the transfer done, as it was originally feared the 20-year-old could be out until March.

While that amount of money falls short of Draxler's £37 million contract buyout that kicks in during the summer, it helps ensure that a transfer move can be made before Friday's 11 p.m. deadline. However, Schalke is asking for £35 million up front in their compromise to make the deal happen.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has not quite followed through on transfers in the past, but all indications are that this pursuit of Draxler will end with the wunderkind taking his talents to Emirates Stadium.

As valuable as Draxler is in both the immediate future and when he more fully realizes his potential, Schalke is wise to take a firm stance. But given their financial difficulties that Cross alludes to, waiting until the summer may be too costly and not enough of a difference to hold out for.

Draxler's salary would increase from £45,000 per week to £80,000—quite a substantial sweetening and one that should bring the German international to the English Premier League.

The Gunners were just leapfrogged by Manchester City for the top spot in the EPL standings, now trailing by one point and in need of a jolt on the attack. Stewart Robson emphasized the need for a centre-forward to spell Olivier Giroud, per ESPN FC:

That is precisely what Draxler would provide with his exceptional speed and athleticism. The Daily Telegraph's Matt Law also reported Wednesday that the two sides were in advanced talks, and that Wenger has plans to move Draxler into the striker position.

Doing so would fortify the depth behind Giroud, allow the Gunners to further diversify on offense and increase their scoring chances.

Just about everything in Draxler's skill set suggests he could adjust and thrive in the role, helping to make up for the injury to Arsenal's Theo Walcott. Draxler is an excellent dribbler, strikes the ball beautifully from great distances, has the finesse to finish and the physicality at 6'2" to battle for possession.

The fact that the Gunners are pursuing Draxler this hard, have reportedly emerged confident from the latest deliberations and are willing to pay this much money shows their seriousness about contending for the trophy—and how Draxler can play a big role in that.

It would be a bold investment if Arsenal are able to pull it off, but based on Draxler's upside and well-rounded set of skills, the risk seems calculated and well worth it.