Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Must Go All out to Sign Julian Draxler

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2014

Schalke's Julian Draxler goes with the ball during the Champions League group E soccer match between FC Schalke 04 and Chelsea FC in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner

Arsenal have been told their primary transfer target isn't going anywhere. But Schalke 04's resistance to selling Julian Draxler should only strengthen the Gunners' resolve to sign him this summer.

According to Metro writer Hannah Duncan (h/t Sky90), Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt is adamant Draxler won't leave the Bundesliga club this summer, stating: "I believe that Draxler will stay with us."

Heldt's confidence doesn't have to be a decisive blow for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. He was heavily linked with a £30 million bid for Draxler during the January transfer window, per Daily Mirror reporter John Cross.

That came just months after the Gunners reportedly considered paying £40 million for Draxler last August, according to Telegraph writer Jeremy Wilson.

Of course, both attempts to sign Draxler ultimately fell flat. German football pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft even asserted the mercurial 20-year-old forward will eventually join Bavarian powerhouse Bayern Munich:

However, Fjortoft's claim was soon refuted, at least on the surface, by Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, per a Guardian report.

Wenger must beat Munich to the punch by renewing his interest and making Schalke an offer they can't refuse. He certainly has the resources to do it according to Wilson, who recently reported Wenger will be given £100 million for transfers this summer.

Draxler is perfect for the Frenchman's brand of expressive, combination football. The young Germany international is also the ideal project for one of the game's greater developers of players.

At the height of Arsenal's interest, another report from Cross claimed Wenger wanted to convert Draxler into a central striker, the way he did with Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry.

Dutchman Van Persie is the more apt comparison because Draxler shares his deceptive quickness and technical guile. Developing Draxler into a central role would not only appeal to the man-manager in Wenger; it would also give Arsenal the kind of dual-creative presence Wenger wants at the top of his 4-2-3-1 formation.

Draxler would play the same role Robin van Persie once thrived in.
Draxler would play the same role Robin van Persie once thrived in.Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Van Persie once labelled himself a "9.5", as per ESPN FC, a reference to how he combined the attributes of a natural centre-forward with the playmaking skills of a more creative No. 10.

Draxler can give Wenger that same combination of scoring efficiency and creative intent the Gunners currently miss in attack.

The Sky Sports Scout dubbed Draxler: "Elegant and graceful, but equally explosive and full of pace." While Bleacher Report writer Allan Jiang summed up Draxler's potential as a striker at Arsenal perfectly: "He can try to convince himself that he is a No. 10 (he wears the number on the back of his shirt) but he is more Thierry Henry than Mesut Ozil."

Arsenal certainly don't have that level of talent and potential along their existing forward line. Olivier Giroud is far from prolific or efficient.

By spending big to land Draxler this summer, Wenger will get the ideal attacker to make his fluid vision of attacking football work. A player more on the wavelength of schemers like Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey.

Wenger would enjoy the added bonus of sometimes playing Draxler wide, where he has mostly thrived for Schalke, and deploying a different option centrally.

Most importantly, Draxler is a superstar in the making, and Wenger hasn't had one of those since Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas walked out of the club.

A more fluid and versatile attack awaits Arsenal, as long as Wenger pulls out all the stops to get Draxler.