Arsenal and Manchester United could find themselves with a chance to sign long-term target Julian Draxler after Schalke began their search for a replacement, reports The Express.
The Germany international was widely tipped to join the Gunners last January with Manchester United believed to be keeping a close eye on the situation. Schalke's reluctance to sell for under Draxler's £37 million release clause put Arsene Wenger off, but Schalke could be preparing to offload the young talent.
That is because Schalke boss Roberto Di Matteo is preparing to launch a bid for Chelsea's out-of-favour forward Andre Schurrle. According to the same report, Schurrle will be a direct replacement for Draxler.
Jose Mourinho has grown frustrated with Schurrle so far this season and publicly criticised him after Chelsea's narrow 2-1 victory over Shrewsbury Town. Now the Chelsea boss is preparing to cash in the man signed from Bayer Leverkusen for £18 million in 2013.
"In January, there was the offer of Arsenal, but I decided to stay." - Julian Draxler
With Chelsea finely balanced between red and black when it comes to financial fair play, Mourinho knows he needs to cash in on Schurrle if he is to have any chance of signing top target Marco Reus. However, doing business with former Chelsea boss Di Matteo would allow rivals Manchester United or Arsenal to take advantage.
- Andre Schurrle facing Chelsea axe in January
- Schurrle remains a long-term Paris Saint-Germain target
- Andre Schurrle pulls out of Germany squad with illness
Both clubs still want Draxler and would find it much easier to convince Schalke to sell if they manage to bag a direct replacement in Schurrle. The 21-year-old would generate a lot of cash for the Bundesliga outfit and signing Schurrle for significantly less than he was bought for would represent good business.
Draxler would have to decide between the top Premier League outfits with Manchester United likely able to offer bigger wages. It also remains to be seen whether Wenger would renew his interest after being rejected by the player in January.
Draxler, who signed a five-year contract with Schalke in May, is quoted by the BBC as saying: "In January, there was the offer of Arsenal, but I decided to stay.
"I will do the same this summer. I want to play one year more in Schalke."