Arsenal's hopes of signing Julian Draxler and Javi Martinez have been dashed as both players confirmed their happiness in the Bundesliga.
Draxler, who was feverishly linked with a move to the Emirates in January, bluntly stated he wishes to remain with Schalke, reported by Bild and via Alex Richards of the Mirror:
"I do not want to be sold," Draxler told the German newspaper. "I can guarantee you I will be there. There's still speculation, but I will, very, very definitely, play here next season."
Martinez's comments also suggest Arsene Wenger may need to look elsewhere when strengthening his squad. Bild were once again the purveyors of bad news, as reported by Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC:
I am very satisfied here in Munich -- with the city, with the club, with my colleagues. My hope is that I can play here for many more years.
[...] I only think about staying here. In the papers I've read that Pep [Guardiola] is happy with me. Also the club, I believe. I had good talks with the club board, and leaving was never a topic. If Bayern want me to stay, I will stay, and I'd like to think that this is case.
The comments of both players may aim to draw a line under speculation heading into the World Cup. Draxler and Martinez have been included in Germany and Spain's provisional squads for the Brazilian tournament. Barring a major shock or injury, both will make their nation's final 23.
It seems Arsenal missed the opportunity to sign Draxler in January. Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt confirmed the Gunners failed to meet the Gelsenkirchen club's asking price, per Eliot Rothwell of the Mirror.
Draxler's form has dipped since the winter, but there's no doubt he could have aided the latter half of Arsenal's season. Things started to go wrong shortly after the new year as Wenger's men let first place slip, eventually finishing fourth.
If Draxler was to add attacking power, Martinez would be the man to bulk Arsenal's midfield. The Gunners lack a physical specimen in the middle and are often bullied when deploying Mikel Arteta alongside Mathieu Flamini. This duo worked well together throughout the season, but they have the tendency to crumble against powerful opponents.
Martinez's versatility would also come in handy. Often utilised in a centre-back role at Bayern Munich, the Spaniard could provide vital cover for the likes of Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen.
Wenger suggests no incoming transfers are imminent, saying, "In my experience, in a World Cup year, the transfer business does not get done early," per Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail.
While Draxler seems destined to be one who got away, Martinez's morale at Bayern is worth watching in the near future. Both players would represent excellent signings for Arsenal, who have plenty of tightening up to do before the 2014-15 season begins.
The North London club's transfer activity will go a long way to deciding whether or not they are genuine title contenders next year. Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United are likely to improve, ensuring the approaching transfer window is pivotal for the Gunners' future prospects.
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