The 20-year-old Germany international was reportedly the subject of interest from Arsenal in the January transfer window this year, but the Gunners seemingly failed to push the deal through as Schalke dug their heels in over the attacker who has a release clause of £38million that could be activated this summer.
Julian Draxler is one of the most coveted young players on the continent ahead of the World Cup in Brazil this summer, and Arsenal may find themselves in some wealthy company in their pursuit of the German youngster.
Meanwhile, the Gunners are still heavily reliant on Olivier Giroud who is the club’s only senior and recognised centre-forward. The manager will likely need to bring in a top striker to compete with the France international and provide cover as his young compatriot Yaya Sanogo has yet to open his account with the North Londoners.
Which will be the greater priority this summer then for Arsene Wenger? Last term the club pursued striker Gonzalo Higuain, who ultimately signed for Napoli, and instead the Gunners ended up breaking their transfer record to sign Mesut Ozil, an attacking midfielder of which they have an abundance in their squad, for £42.4million.
Wenger is a stubborn fellow and that is not bad thing. He sticks to his guns and never pays more for players than he genuinely believes they are worth in a market that is often over-inflated by media hype. He scouts players based on their actual ability and their potential to develop, as one should, rather than on their name and profile.
Rumour has it that the 64-year-old French coach will be handed £100million to spend if he so desires this summer. He will need a new goalkeeper to replace Lukasz Fabianski, a new right back to replace Bacary Sagna, possibly a defensive midfielder and another centre-back which, in total, could cost as much as £60million all together. It all adds up, as they say. That could mean there is a scenario where Arsenal have £40million to spend on a top player which, incidentally, is exactly enough to make the deal happen with Schalke.
Wenger could convert the youngster into a striker as he has in the past with Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie to great affect, but that will take time and adaptation.
With Arsenal’s current options across midfield, surely he ought to spend that chunk of cash left after buying his must-have additions on a world-class centre forward? That figure could likely acquire, for example, Karim Benzema, Jackson Martinez, or even perhaps Edinson Cavani. In my estimation, that money would be better spent on an experienced and proven striker in the prime of his career rather than a 20-year-old attacking midfielder, however gifted.