It is a well known fact that Arsene Wenger is a fan of Julian Draxler.
The 20-year-old German has made waves across Europe in the last few years and, despite his hefty release clause of about £35million it seems that even if Arsenal choose not to go after him, a whole host of top clubs will.
Since his breakthrough into the Schalke 04 side in 2011-12, Draxler has not looked back and his ten goals and three assists in twenty-four starts helped fire Schalke to a Champions' League spot last season.
This season, he has picked up where he left off somewhat; his goal scoring prowess has not quite matched last season in the league, but in Europe he has managed three goals in six games; not bad for a left-winger.
But it is not just statistics that make him what he is.
Draxler has one of the broadest ranges of skills on the market. This means that he can play anywhere across the attacking midfield line. He can pick and play a pass in true creative midfielder style: his passing accuracy this season is a stunning 83%; he can cross; he possesses a shot akin to that of Wayne Rooney; he can finish moves off like a striker; he is very quick indeed and much, much more.
In a newly developing culture where midfielders are expected to be more and more well-rounded Draxler fits the bill perfectly. One feature that can easily be overlooked is his heading. He wins 1.6 aerial duels per game and stands at 6ft 1in, tall enough to harass most defenders.
But there is one trait that is most important of all and sets him apart from almost any other winger: His vision.
Draxler is always at least one step ahead of the game. He can tell what is going to happen and what he needs to do to get the right result. This is the Dennis Bergkamp side to his game.
A left-winger who can shoot like a striker, pass like a holding midfielder, create like an attacking midfielder and is tall enough to make himself a physical nuisance- what more could you want?
One of the most wonderful parts of being a young talent is that they are more often than not incredibly malleable: up until relatively late into their twenties players can be easily changed into something else. Jack Wilshere could still just as easily be warped into a Del Piero-esque trequartista as he could a Pirlo like regista.
Even later on in their careers players can adapt to new conditions; look at Ryan Giggs. Therefore should Wenger choose to bring Draxler to Arsenal he has free-reign over how he wants him to play.
The newspapers suggest that Wenger wants to turn him into the next Robin van Persie, but I would suggest that there is another Manchester United striker he could model him on: Wayne Rooney.
Although Draxler is much closer to Robin van Persie in height than Rooney, he shares more of the Englishman's characteristics than the Dutchman.
While Van Persie has been known to produce stunning long-range goals, most of them have been one-touch volleys or free-kicks. Draxler is starting to create a trademark of cutting in from the left and rocketing the ball into the back of the net from long-range in a Gareth Bale style. In fact, Draxler could very easily become similar to the Welshman, as was suggested by Richard Beech in an article for the Daily Mirror.
"Despite the lack of strength displayed by those of the Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo ilk, he still has an explosive quality both on the flanks and in the centre, and has plenty of time to hit the gym," Beech wrote.
But I digress. Draxler's long shots are more from the ground with the inside of the foot, like Rooney. The Dutchman tends to prefer to strike the ball with the laces.
RVP's arrival at Manchester United has caused Rooney to move into a deeper, more creative role. To play Draxler as an out-and-out striker would waste his creative talent, so a role as a second striker is a more practical usage.
A combination of vision, passing, long shots and finishing are all attributes that can make a Bergkamp or Rooney-esque number 10. With Draxler's turn of pace added he could very easily dart into the space behind the defenders and finish from close range as well. Once you add his heading ability into the equation it would seem that you are talking about a player who has the potential to score over 20 goals a season as well as creating as many goals as those aforementioned players.
Many cynics are arguing that Arsenal do not need yet another creative player.
Perhaps they do not, but since Aaron Ramsey's injury they have lacked (as far a table-topping team can) a player who can constantly make an impact throughout the match. Mesut Ozil is more of a player who will suddenly turn the course of a match with a flash of genius; Santi Cazorla occasionally lacks the intensity he can achieve in less significant matches; Wilshere and Arteta aren't that type of player.
Ramsey is the closest this midfield has come to it so far: he has always been involved in the play even if it is making the tackle that gains possession.
That is the key point: The player who can take on such an influential role needs to be complete. Ramsey himself is a very complete player, from the vision to the passing to the goals and his fantastic tackling statistics he is proving to be a very comprehensive player.
However, an impact player should be playing further up the pitch in a bid for him to score more goals (it is unfair on Ramsey to be expecting him to continue his goal rush).
All things considered, the choice lies with Wenger. I have tried to outline the various possibilities that he can choose from and judging by Draxler's various talents and the number of positions he could pose threats in suggests that £35million isn't so hefty after all.
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