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Liverpool Transfer News: Julian Draxler Eyed as Philippe Coutinho Replacement

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2017

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 18: Julian Draxler of PSG looks on from the bench prior to the UEFA Champions League group B match between RSC Anderlecht and Paris Saint-Germain at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium on October 18, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Liverpool have reportedly identified Paris Saint-Germain's Julian Draxler as a potential replacement for Philippe Coutinho.

According to Telefoot (h/t Matt Gault of Football Whispers, via Sky Sports), the Reds "have been closely monitoring [Draxler's] progress" and believe the Germany international could make a strong candidate to replace Coutinho if he leaves.

Draxler has made 11 appearances this season but started just five—none of which were in the UEFA Champions Leagueand played a total of 472 minutes, an average of just 43 minutes per outing.

Game time is now something of a premium for the German after the arrival of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the summer.

Draxler himself only arrived in Paris in January, and he had a positive spell in the second half of last season, per Squawka Football:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Julian Draxler was directly involved in 12 goals for PSG in all competitions last season. 25 games 10 goals 2 assists Solid contribution. https://t.co/11VtaoZKor

The 24-year-old then captained Germany to victory in the FIFA Confederations Cup in the summer, winning the player-of-the-tournament award in the process.

Despite his form, the arrival of more illustrious players has restricted the role he has been able to play, and it seems he'll largely play the role of back-up this year rather than a key member of the side.

As such, it may not be too surprising if PSG were open to selling him in order to save money after the investment put into Neymar and Mbappe.

Draxler is reportedly due a pay rise in January, per ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson:

Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip

According to L'Equipe, Julian Draxler will earn €421,000 per month (gross) with PSG. €56,000 of that is in bonuses.

Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip

In 1 year, Draxler's PSG salary will reportedly rise to €600,000 (gross & bonuses included).

It's difficult to justify paying that kind of wage packet to a squad player, even for PSG, whereas at Liverpool he would be among the team's biggest stars, particularly if he replaced Coutinho.

The German is perhaps not quite at the Brazilian's level, but he is an excellent player in his own right. If Coutinho leaves Anfield, Liverpool could do much worse than replacing him with Draxler.

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