Arsenal have been placed as the clear favourites to sign coveted Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler, who impressed immensely during his club’s Champions League draw with Chelsea on Wednesday evening.
Paddy Power have opened a book on the prospective destination of the Germany international, and Arsenal are in front by some distance, with odds of of 5/4 for the him to secure a transfer to the Emirates Stadium.
Bayern Munich have been identified as the club second most likely to secure the acquisition of Draxler, with the Bundesliga champions provided with odds of 3/1, while Manchester United are somewhat further back on 9/1.
Draxler had appeared set to join Arsenal in the January transfer window of this year as Arsene Wenger made plans to reinforce his attacking options, with the club considering activating the player’s €45.5 million release fee. The move, however, did not transpire.
Arsenal opted against renewing their interest in the 20-year-old this summer, instead recruiting both Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck to provide a greater creative and goalscoring threat. But Draxler’s performance against Chelsea proved he would have been a worthy acquisition.
Draxler provided the assist for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to score in the encounter at Stamford Bridge, which ended 1-1, while he represented a danger for Chelsea whenever the ball was in his possession given his nimble footwork and eye for a killer pass.
His touches around the opposition penalty area offered an indication as to why it had been claimed that Arsene Wenger considered the player to possess the potential to develop into a centre-forward.
During Arsenal’s pursuit of Draxler earlier this year there were comparisons made to Robin van Persie, who arrived in north London as a wide player but was converted by Wenger into one of the elite strikers in the game.
There are similarities between the two in terms of they way each utilises their lanky frame to offer protection to the ball, although Draxler is predominantly right-footed even if he is comfortable with his left.
It will be interesting to see what course of action Arsenal decide to take with Draxler, and whether or not Wenger fells his side already has plenty of options in attacking midfield and forward positions.
A team can never have too many good players, of course, but as demonstrated by Wenger’s reluctance to sign another striker until injury to Olivier Giroud, he is rarely prepared to invest unless it is out of necessity.
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