Arsenal fans will be intrigued by the latest comments of Schalke manager Jens Keller, who confessed to Sport Bild, per ESPN.co.uk, that he fears he will lose his prime asset, Julian Draxler:
I am delighted that we have him on board for the second half of the season but, because of his clause, he can leave when a club puts the money on the table. ... That's why I can't plan with him, because it is just not in my or our hands.
It's a god-awful situation when, as the coach, you don't know whether such an important player will move on, but Julian was injured at that time, so at least any unrest did not necessarily affect the other players.
It's clear that all the talk about his €45.5m release clause and the interest from top European clubs leaves its mark on such a young lad. ... The hype around him last summer was huge. He must learn to cope with that, and also that failing to perform at less than 100% is not good enough for him.
According to that same report, Arsene Wenger has been quoted as saying that his club's interest in the sensational German youngster was "created by the newspapers," but it appears that might not be the case.
Previously, Metro had reported that Wenger would offer Lukas Podolski plus cash for the player, but Schalke would hold out for a cash-only deal.
Draxler has four goals and five assists in his 20 appearances this season, per WhoScored.com.
Jan Aage Fjortoft, now working on German television, tweeted that Arsenal's interest has very much reached their shores:
Draxler will no doubt become one of the stars of European football in the very near future, and Wenger will be hoping that occurs in an Arsenal jersey.
The 20-year-old has bundles of untapped potential. With two attacking midfielders in Draxler and Mesut Ozil and with the box-to-box qualities of Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal will feel they have a true platform to consistently challenge for trophies.
He would also represent a different type of acquisition than those made by Wenger over the years. The Frenchman has made a habit of buying players who are slight of stature and technical in the Barcelona mould.
Draxler would threaten to become the club's next Robin van Persie. He is a player with power and skill, and you can envisage him becoming a much more regular scorer as he matures than he currently is in Germany.
Which player should Arsenal start in their team?
As he has only just exited his teens, there will be an upward career progression happening right now, and if Arsenal can grab his signature in the summer, they will potentially have an asset worth much more than any transfer fee they will pay out.
This could leave the future of Santi Cazorla in doubt, though. With Ozil and Draxler pulling the strings in the forward positions, it is difficult to ascertain where the tricky Spaniard would fit in.
Draxler and Arsenal remain strongly connected despite the closure of the January transfer window, but Keller's words indicate that the player's next employers will be a club willing to trigger his release clause. Whether the Gunners are willing to do so remains to be seen.