We’re nearing the fulcrum of the January transfer, and so far it’s been very quiet. With a dearth of quality strikers and defenders available for sale, most clubs are reluctant to enter the market in January.
The short span of this winter transfer window means the competition is stiff, players are more uneasy about moving mid-season, and prices are higher. By the end of it, almost no one sees out the end of January completely happy with what transpired.
In Arsenal’s case, the best case outcome I can foresee would be adding a striker, and a young central defender to make up the numbers. The more pressing issue is definitely up front. Olivier Giroud can’t play 60 games a year, and Nicklas Bendtner isn’t the best backup to ask for.
While he’s not completely incompetent, and has shown promise this season, I’d be much more comfortable with another striker who can complement either Giroud or Bendtner, as well as lead the line by themselves.
Versatility is a must, as we’re affected by injury so often and almost always losing multiple players within a week of each other. The player we bring in has to be able to play two roles comfortably, or at least be able to replace Giroud as the best striker at the club.
He’s not the only solution, but let’s talk about Julian Draxler, the next from the German conveyor belt of mind melting talent. The 20 year old left winger has made a name for himself over the past two years with stellar performances in the Champions League, as well as agitating publicly for a move abroad.
“I have always said English teams are very big clubs and Arsenal is of course one of them. Of course I sometimes speak to Mesut (Ozil) or Per (Mertesacker) about the team, about the club, and they always have good words and they tell me nice things,” Draxler said.
“You never know what happens in the summer but Arsenal is a very, very nice team. They always have very young players, they play attractive football and that’s what I like.”
It’s obvious Draxler has his mind set on a Schalke exit, but he won’t leave cheaply. The latest word on his situation comes from Norwegian journalist, Jan Aage Fjortoft.
According for Fjortoft, Draxler’s contract could spark a similar saga to Luis Suarez’s contract row with Liverpool over the summer. Technically, a bid over his current release clause should legally allow him to leave.
The specified amount, if any, is unconfirmed. either way, is he worth the hefty price tag? I’m not a fan of his willingness to run to the media, but I do know he’s got the potential to be spectacular.
Anybody who can literally pass to himself has got to be worth a punt, no? When you consider the fact that Mesut Ozil’s transfer from Real Madrid was a similar amount, paying that fee again for a younger, less refined player does raise a few eyebrows. However in today’s market, Ozil’s fee can be seen as a steal, when the likes of Edinson Cavani can go for upwards of 50m Euros.
While a left winger might not be what we need on paper, I think Draxler could be the perfect signing either now, or in the summer. His addition means Alex Oxlade Chamberlain can move deeper in midfield – where Arsène eventually see him playing permanently – and gives Lukas Podolski a crack at starting either alongside or instead of Giroud.
He would be the first inside forward to play on the left since Gervinho, and I personally believe he’s got it in him to play up front later in his career. His physique, balance, skill set and general playing style suggest he could eventually lead the line for our club.
Do the pros outweigh the cons of signing Draxler? Yes. Is his price tag exactly bargain-worthy? No. is it justified by his potential? Most certainly.
Overall, it’s down to Arsène Wenger; whether he wants to push for him in January and pay through the nose, or wait for the summer and risk losing him to a team with deeper pockets remains to be seen.
Either way, remember the name: Julian Draxler.
Written by Anders Marshall
Check out his fine football site, Bergkamp Spin.
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