Julian Draxler's long-term future appears likely to undergo drastic change this summer, with Arsenal and Bayern Munich sitting as two of the frontrunners for his signature.
Matthew Nash of the Metro reports that Pep Guardiola's side have moved into the race for Draxler's services, just a few months after the Gunners were alleged to have gone in for Schalke's wunderkind during the January transfer window.
But it now appears German giants Bayern are joining the chase for Draxler, who was close to moving to north London in the January transfer window.
Draxler had been quoted three years ago in German sports newspaper Bild as saying he ‘would never go to Bayern’. However, it now appears Arsenal face a battle to convince the youngster – and his current club – that he should head to the Emirates Stadium after all.
While joining the high-flying machine at the Allianz Arena may be a smart move in terms of trophy prospects, a switch to one of England's most hallowed outfits has the potential to be a more unique challenge for Draxler.
Norwegian pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft provides a little more insight into the situation:
Re: Draxler I understand Bayern will try to make a deal with Schalke where they pay part of fee now, but Draxler will come to Bayern 2015— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) March 17, 2014
Re: Draxler I have been told that Arsenal felt they "lost" player when Bayern entered the stage. But I understand player hasn't decided yet— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) March 17, 2014
Piece by piece, Arsene Wenger is amassing something of a German dynasty in North London, with Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Serge Gnabry each holding a good account of their nation's talent as of right now.
At Bayern, Draxler would be joining up with an extremely powerful pool of players, but it's one in which he would have no assurances of featuring as a prominent fixture, or at least not right now.
The prospect of challenging Mario Goetze, Thomas Mueller, Franck Ribery and other world-class individuals for playing time is daunting. That's not to say Draxler wouldn't be capable of breaking ranks, though.
At Arsenal, hopes for instant impact would be a lot higher. It's far easier to envision Santi Cazorla, Podolski or even Ozil dropping out of Wenger's line-up to benefit Draxler and the Gunners are looking capable of entering a new era of success right now, while Bayern are already enjoying their time in the sun.
Despite his rising reputation, Goal.com's Cristian Nyari hints that Schalke will be fine without Draxler, should he leave the club:
Curious how Schalke will do with Draxler starting today. Have won all games w/out him, statistically better when he's not in XI actually.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) March 1, 2014
The Miners would undoubtedly rather not sell to a direct league rival, too, which would work in Arsenal's favour, but there's also the question of which side would be willing to put up the necessary cash for the player and how quickly.
Bayern's track record of exploiting their Bundesliga foes in the transfer market means that Draxler's prospective switch would be no new occurrence. However, adored foreigners such as Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry have gone down in Arsenal folklore as a result of their contributions to the club and it's a rarer feat that Draxler can hope to recapture were he to follow their track.