Another day, another Julian Draxler story; but after weeks of little more than rumour-sifting, at least now we can look at his performance.
The Schalke starlet has missed the majority of matches since the Arsenal links really took off, but he recently returned from injury and now appears to have rediscovered his form.
In Saturday’s 4-0 victory against Hoffenheim, the 20-year-old set up two goals for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who finished the match with a hat-trick.
Draxler is not the only player to have been linked with a switch to the Emirates Stadium. Talk also persists of a hypothetical front-man; a player to ease the pressure on Olivier Giroud and give Arsene Wenger another option.
At the moment, that option is Yaya Sanogo, and he is not doing too badly at all. But if Wenger has realistic aspirations to challenge both domestically and in Europe for years to come, he needs another quality and experienced marksman.
Talk has suggested that should Draxler sign, he would be transformed from left-sided player to central striker – similar to Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie before him. But there is another option, and that is that Arsenal sign both Draxler and his Schalke teammate Huntelaar.
The Dutchman has been linked with a move to the Premier League almost continually since he first burst on to the scene. And even as recently as January, Huntelaar was said to be on Arsenal’s radar.
A report in Sport Bild last week suggested he could soon sign a contract extension in the Bundesliga. But as his hat-trick on Saturday showed, he is a natural and regular goal-scorer, and those are difficult to find.
The 30-year-old’s current deal expires in little over a year, and while he may indeed put pen to paper on a new one, Wenger may be wise to make a move first, offering a substantial amount to take both Draxler and his teammate in a deal that could see Arsenal have everything they need to be a real and (most importantly) consistent force again.
Draxler clearly has an impressive working relationship with Huntelaar, as his two assists proved against Hoffenheim.
Having returned from a severe injury to his knee, the Dutch striker is now well and truly back on form.
And while Arsenal have been linked with plenty of goal-getters in recent months, he could be a realistic and effective option, with the added bonus of already knowing another potential new recruit in Draxler exceptionally well.
image: © tpower1978