Arsenal's transfer for Julian Draxler looks dead in the water, but did Wenger push hard enough?
The Julian Draxler transfer saga looked as though it could drag on until the final hours of deadline day, but Schalke appear to have stubbed out the growing speculation.
Sporting director Horst Heldt said, "I am very sure that Julian will play in the second half for us - and probably beyond," before joking about a possible Arsenal delegation being sent to negotiate with the club, "I checked my office if someone was waiting for me, but nobody was there."
Arsenal had been strongly linked with a move for the German, but with a release clause sitting at £37 million active in the summer - if no bids arrived above that amount now, it would be naive for the Bundesliga side to accept.
One outlet who always maintained Schalke were keen to cash in if a huge offer arrived was The Mirror, one of the driving forces of the rumours.
Earlier this afternoon, journalist John Cross wrote a column on Arsenal's transfer activity in the paper, and gleaned that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had been holding the Gunners back from making a big offer, as he had not signed off on it.
"In fact, my understanding is that there is a deal there to be done. It's been set up, Schalke are willing to sell, Arsenal have the money, Draxler wants to come and yet it is Wenger who must make the final call. Just do it Arsene."
No bid of course, has arrived, leading to Schalke's statement earlier today that they expected Draxler to stay with them.
Cross' comments tallied with a tweet from the Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson that the club simply did not value the 20-year-old in the region of the £40 million it would require to get Schalke to sell.
Arsenal in contact with Schalke over Draxler but feeling at #afc is almost £40m should get you a finished product. Ozil was seen as that— Jeremy Wilson (@JWTelegraph) January 29, 2014
Monetary values of a player are just that, and if Arsenal really wanted Draxler badly enough, perhaps they should have paid up.
BBC's David Ornstein also alluded that Wenger was unwilling to sanction the money required to sign the highly rated talent.
Schalke's closing the door on the deal now may not be a bad move for the Gunners, as it gives them time to attempt to get an alternative striker in. Even at this point a stop-gap type player or a loanee would be welcomed.
Arsenal fans should know not to panic just yet - for their Ozil deal was pulled out of the hat on deadline day, and Wenger's secretive nature means he may have something tucked away up his sleeve.
Schalke's statement could yet be a bit of posturing, in an attempt to get Wenger to finally pay up - In little over 24 hours we will know one way or another for certain.
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge