Arsenal's top target makes €45m exit declaration

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Schalke 04 playmaker Julian Draxler has attempted to clarify his future as Arsenal continue to lurk menacingly with a view to a €45m summer transfer, telling German publication Waz that his much-publicised release clause provides him welcome freedom to take charge of his own destiny.

Draxler stayed with Schalke despite Arsenal's efforts to sign the German international last month, with the Gunners refusing to pay the hefty €45m fee which would have given them permission to talk terms over a blockbuster transfer for the 20-year-old.

Arsenal are far from the only club mentioned in connection with a move for Draxler over the last 12 months, but the starlet is calm on speculation surrounding his long-term future and believes the sizeable release clause it takes to talk terms is mutually beneficial for both parties.

He told Waz: "It's no secret that I have a get-out clause in the contract and so from year to year, the possibility exists, at least to think about what is best for my development. Of course, the clause also leaves much room for speculation, but it is for both sides fine.

"For Schalke, because the club does not have to let me go for a relatively small sum and so in the worst case would get a lot of money.

"And for me, the clause is good because I have the opportunity to independently decide, if a club is willing to pay €45m for me and I eventually seek a new challenge."

Draxler gave Schalke boss Jens Keller a timely boost by returning from an ankle injury in last week's Bundesliga draw with Mainz.

Schalke boss Jens Keller now has his most promising young star available for tomorrow night's Champions League last 16 tie with Real Madrid, giving the dynamic young forward another opportunity to shine on Europe's biggest stage.

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