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Julian Draxler the statement signing Arsenal need to be taken seriously as true title contenders

Arsenal need to keep hold of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil, but adding Draxler would show they really mean business in a crucial year for the club

Jack de Menezes
Friday 18 August 2017 12:36 BST
Julian Draxler is being linked with Arsenal despite only joining PSG eight months ago
Julian Draxler is being linked with Arsenal despite only joining PSG eight months ago (Getty)

The main issue at Arsenal remains the future of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil, along with other first-team players who have entered the final year of their contracts, yet there is another scenario worth discussing and that is the availability of Julian Draxler.

Depending on who you believe, Draxler could be on the move this summer. French newspaper L’Equipe claim that the Germany international has been told in no uncertain terms that he is no longer needed at Paris Saint-Germain, just eight months after joining from German side Wolfsburg.

But reporters close to the 23-year-old claim he still remains a key part of Unai Emery’s plans, and that the arrival of £200m Neymar does not immediately impact on his future at the Parc des Princes.

While his availability is in limbo, his suitability to Arsenal should not be so uncertain. Draxler is a player who has cropped up on Arsene Wenger’s radar in the past during his time in Germany, and the Gunners even had a reported £50m offer rejected a number of years ago when he was still with Schalke.

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Combine these two issues and you may just have the solution at Arsenal. While their defence remains a problem that should benefit greatly with the returns of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi, there is still something not right with Arsenal’s attack. If Wenger can keep Sanchez and Özil and add someone of the creative ability that Draxler offers, Arsenal will be able to boast one of the most potent attacks in the league.

At the moment, there is little to really instil a fear among opposition defences beyond Sanchez. Özil does have his moments, but last season proved that he will not show this on a consistent basis and can go missing for large chunks of matches when Arsenal can ill-afford to play with 10 men. The acquisition of Alexandre Lacazette looks a very positive one on the basis of what he’s shown so far and could be the transfer that resolves their striker issue, but where is the strength in depth behind him?

If Draxler arrives at the Emirates, he would be able to play across the midfield, filling either one of the two positions that Wenger deploys in his 3-4-2-1, or play wide-left in the midfield quartet – albeit reducing Arsenal’s defensive cover. One main positive though is that Draxler would offer an alternative to Özil, especially when his German compatriot is off-colour. Wenger is very reluctant to replace Özil even when he is not at his best, but having a player like Draxler available would give him the perfect replacement when things aren’t working out. The Germany international, who captained his country to Confederations Cup success this summer as part of a youthful squad, offers a more attacking threat than Özil, and while he does not possess as good a creative eye, he’s not far off with plenty of time to develop his game – especially under the guidance of Wenger.

One issue is the price that Draxler would cost. PSG paid out £36m for him in January, and would not allow him to leave Paris for a fee below the £40m mark. While Arsenal certainly have the financial capability to move for him, the £52m already spent on Lacazette suggests that Arsenal would need to take their summer spending to beyond the £90m mark – something they have never done. It would be an unlikely signing for this reason, but it would be the statement signing that Arsenal need to make in order to be taken seriously this summer.

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