Julian Draxler is the will-he-won’t-he story of the transfer window. It has been widely reported for some time that Arsenal are not only interested in the Schalke starlet, but that they currently have a delegation in Germany attempting to iron out a deal.
True or not, there is no doubt the 20-year-old is hot property, and given his talent and the headlines he generates it seems unlikely he will remain at his current club for too much longer.
But if and when he does finally move – be that this month, next summer, or at some point beyond – where exactly will he play? And perhaps more important where exactly does he want to play?
Draxler currently plays predominantly from the left, although he can also play on the right or as an attacking midfielder. While reports suggest that if Arsene Wenger signs him, he will attempt to turn him into a front-man just as he did previously with Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie.
But Goal! The Bundesliga Magazine published a quote from Draxler back at the start of the season, in which he revealed his preferred position, and it raises interesting questions about his possible place in the Arsenal side should he sign for them, and what it would mean for their current club-record signing Mesut Ozil.
Of the player-maker role, Draxler is quoted as saying, “It’s the position I feel most comfortable in.”
So not a front-man then, or an out-and-out wide player, but someone who dictates the play, someone who both scores and creates, someone a lot like Ozil.
In truth there is no reason why Wenger cannot integrate two such play-makers into his starting XI. Indeed the current Arsenal team is made up of a number of players with such talents.
But can the Arsenal side of the future be built around two play-makers? Especially if the Gunners bring in a new striker as many feel they need to do?
To be an Arsenal player you need to be able to master a number of positions. In short, you need to be a footballer, not someone for whom any position but one is anathema.
But with reports continuing that Draxler could be heading to the Emirates sooner or later, they could find themselves with two of Europe’s most exciting play-makers in their midst; with the only problem how to incorporate them both into one team.
image: © DerHans04