This international break is now a thing of the past and the next interlull comes up next Spring so there’s a lot of club football to look forward to starting with a crunch clash against this season’s surprise package, Southampton. The Saints have improved massively under new boss, Mauricio Pocchettino, and their high-octane pressing game is the talk of the town. However, the onus will be on Arsenal to bounce back from their disappointing outing at Old Trafford, as their title credentials will be tested yet again.
However, there’s so much buzz around the club’s potential transfer activities and with strikers like Nicklas Bendtner seeing himself in teams like Barcelona, I won’t be surprised if he’s sold to FC Basel this winter transfer window. For what it’s worth, FC Basel shares the same jersey colors with FC Barcelona so the delusional Bendtner could still believe he’s in “FCB”.
Better still, Arsene Wenger could mitigate his issue this way…
As would expect from a team with one recognized striker in the form of Olivier Giroud, Arsenal has been hugely tipped to sign a new forward this January but the team has been linked with an exciting attacking midfielder from Germany, Schalke’s “wunderkid” Julian Draxler.
Draxler came from Schalke’s youth ranks and made his debut in January 2011 at the milk age of just 17 years and 117 days, making him the fourth youngest Bundesliga player ever behind Nuri Sahin (16 years, 335 days), Juergen Friedl (17 years, 26 days) and Ibrahim Tanko (17 years, 61 days). He still managed to notch up 24 appearances that season, scoring three goals and he helped his team to win the DFB Pokal and the DFB Super Cup at the start of the following campaign.
In the 2011/12 campaign, Draxler was a vital cog in the Schalke engine and he featured a whooping 46 times scoring five goals. Following the departure of Lewis Holtby to Tottenham, Draxler’s influence in the team continued to grow and last season, he achieved his personal best in terms of goalscoring as he banged in 13 goals in 39 appearances with 10 of those goals scored in the Bundesliga.
On the international scene, Draxler represented Germany in several youth levels before making his debut in the build up to Euro 2012, as Germany lost 5-3 to Switzerland in a nerve-racking encounter. In 10 caps for his nation, he has managed to score one goal in a friendly against the United States.
This season, Draxler has continued to be a shining light for Schalke 04 and according to Who Scored, he has notched up 11 Bundesliga games, scoring one goal and supplying three assists. He has also attempted 21 shots (1.9 per game), 52 dribbles (4.7 per game), he’s been dispossessed 21 times (2.1 per game) and he has been fouled 10 times (0.9 per game).
His passing statistics are equally impressive as he has notched up a total of 404 passes (342 passes successful) which gives him a pass completion percentage of 84.7 percent. In nine crosses he has attempted this season, four has been successful and he has had 11 key passes attempted this season, averaging one key pass per game.
For a 20-year-old youngster, these are some impressive stats and the fact that he has played in all three advanced attacking midfield positions this season shows how versatile he is. He’s usually deployed as a left winger in most games but there have also been times when he was drafted to the hole behind the striker to devastating effect.
Shortly after England’s friendly against Germany at Wembley, Draxler caught up his compatriots, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker, who are based in England and he also been speaking to them consistently about their life at Arsenal. According to the Mirror, Draxler said,
“I have always said English teams are very big clubs and Arsenal is of course one of them. They always have very young players, they play attractive football and that’s what I like.
“Of course I sometimes speak to Mesut or Per about the team, about the club, and they always have good words and they tell me nice things. You never know what happens in the summer but Arsenal is a very, very nice team.”
However, there won’t be any January move as he’s committed to his club until summer, saying, “I won’t switch then. It’s very important for me to play nearly every game. For my club I have the chance to play nearly every game, it’s important for me to improve myself.
“I’ve said every summer I have to look what is the best for me and I will do in the summer again and we will see what happens.”
Per Mertesacker must be one hell of an agent because I earnestly believe that he had a hand in Lukas Podolski and probably Mesut Ozil joining the club. I know that Ozil stated that he had a lengthy conversation with Arsene Wenger and all, but the BFG must have dropped a hint or two for the orbicular German schemer.
There’s no doubt that Draxler is a massively talented player but in my honest opinion, I don’t believe his services are needed at Arsenal on the short-term and probably long term. The attacking midfield position is a section of the squad Arsene Wenger is blessed with a plethora of options and I firmly believe that he would prefer to invest in a position that needs some mitigation – the striking department.
Draxler is also a young lad and he’s bound to command a mammoth fee (not that Arsenal can’t afford him) and those funds would be better reinvested in where they’re badly needed.
I’ll keep you posted in any developments regarding this potential transfer situation.
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