Schalke have played down reports that Julian Draxler is heading to Arsenal, with their sporting director insisting no offer has been made.
As is well documented, the Gunners have not added to their honours list since they won the FA Cup in Cardiff back in 2005, whilst they have not won the Premier League since the season before that. However, optimism is as high now as it has been at any time in recent years, with Arsene Wenger’s side in fine form this term.
Not only do they lead the table, albeit by the slimmest of margins over Manchester City and Chelsea, they are also in the fourth round of the FA Cup after defeating Tottenham Hotspur at the first hurdle. They are also still in the UEFA Champions League at the knockout stage, although the formidable force of Bayern Munich await in the last 16.
Wenger showed he meant business in the summer when, following an opening day defeat to Aston Villa, he smashed the club transfer record by taking Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.5million. The playmaker has created more goalscoring chances than any other player in Europe since his arrival at the Emirates Stadium, and tellingly, his presence has also given players such as Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere a huge lift.
The Gunners coach has cash to spend whilst the window is open this month, and he has been heavily linked with a move for another German international in the shape of Draxler. The attacking midfielder, just 20-years-old, has earned a reputation as one of the best talents in the Bundesliga, and he is valued in the region of £35million.
It has been reported that Wenger is prepared to pay this fee now, despite Draxler being ineligible for the remainder of the Champions League campaign. However, claims that the Premier League side have already tabled a bid are wide of the mark, with Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt telling Sky Sports: “There are no offers from any club.”
Draxler, who has 10 caps for his country and is expected to feature at the World Cup Finals, is under contract in Gelsenkirchen until 2018, and he has a buyout clause of €45.5million, although this can only be triggered in the summer. It is believed should they be tempted to sell now, they will look to replace their star player with one of their former charges, Lewis Holtby, who is struggling for regular action at Tottenham Hotspur.
Meanwhile, current Arsenal star Per Mertesacker, who is enjoying a fine season in the heart of Wenger’s back four, would certainly welcome compatriot Draxler, telling the London Evening Standard: “He is a great talent. He has already made a big impact, despite his young age. He would be very welcome here. I’m excited to see what happens.”