With Schalke set to test the might of yet another top European juggernaut in Bayern Munich this weekend, the fourth-placed side will be wondering when this unfortunate run of luck will end after being hammered by Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Yet the Gelsenkirchen side may have larger problems to worry about if the latest transfer rumours surrounding the club are to be believed. According to recent reports from Bild, reported here by the BBC, their star winger Julian Draxler is wanted by none other than the German champions and could be off this summer.
Yet when we take a step back from such a story and at least amuse the prospect of such a deal going through, the first question that pops up is a pretty important one: Would Julian Draxler offer much to Bayern Munich?
Although his stock may not be at its highest of late, considering the poor season he and Schalke have had, as well as the historic defeat to Real Madrid just a few days ago in the Champions League, Draxler is undoubtedly one of the top prospects within the Bundesliga right now.
This season the young prodigy has only managed to score five goals and create eight assists in 27 games. But last year's campaign was when we really saw the most of the German international when he offered 14 goals and seven assists in only his second full season in the Bundesliga at the club.
What he offers from midfield is someone who can just as easily skip past three players on the wing or indeed control the tempo of a game from the centre circle of the pitch. It's his unbiased brilliance to all skills within football that makes him so well-regarded and an obvious star in the making.
Draxler is of course playing as a left winger for Schalke at the moment but such a role is one that the young player has quite openly admitted to not enjoying. For even though he is an outstanding winger when called upon, his real passion lies in the middle of the pitch.
As an attacking midfielder, Draxler came to light at Schalke as a young playmaker who very quickly became the dependable source for goals and assists in a side already full of top class players.
Yet this then leads us to question just what the Bavarian club would do if they bought the young Royal Blue. Where exactly would he play and more importantly, who would he replace?
Guardiola's side is already overwhelmed with talent and strength in-depth as the likes of Toni Kroos, Thiago Alcantara and Thomas Mueller—young players of Draxler's age who have already made headway with their national teams—continue to struggle with holding a regular spot in the first team.
As the ever-evolving perfectionist that he is, Guardiola would simply have to play the young player in his natural position, meaning a spot out on the wing would be something that we can all but rule out at the moment—if Bayern do buy Draxler one day, it will not be to replace Franck Ribery or Arjen Robben.
Which means Draxler will indeed be gunning for a spot in the midfield trio of Bayern's current 4-5-1 formation.
At the moment, Guardiola seems to prefer playing Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger as the two holding midfielders, while Thiago and Kroos alternate on what seems like a weekly basis between who gets to play as the deep-lying attacking midfielder. It's this central role that Draxler would play, if Bayern didn't already have two young, exciting players currently fighting for it.
The one aspect of this scenario that could lead to the German champions bidding for Schalke's golden boy is, of course, the likelihood of young Kroos leaving the club to make his fortunes elsewhere in England or Spain.
As we all know, the young central midfielder has been linked with the likes of Manchester United for a while now, as reported by The Guardian for example, following minor breakdowns in the negotiations between him and the club over just how much he should be getting paid per week.
If such a move were to happen this summer or even next season, Bayern's answer may well be to recruit the Schalke midfielder.
Yet aside from that seemingly far-fetched scenario, the acquisition of Draxler just doesn't seem to make sense for Bayern. Of course, hoovering up German talent is a system that has served them well throughout the years—although, no more than Dortmund of late—but with a squad brimming with so much talent in that position, it would just seem like a waste of resources to try to squeeze the Schalke whizz kid in.
All stats used in this article came from Transfermarkt.co.uk
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