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Arsenal's £37m target makes long awaited injury return

Julian Draxler in Germany tracksuit

Julian Draxler returned from injury for Schalke last night.

If Arsenal had signed Julian Draxler in the January transfer window as they tried to, the chances are he would not have been fit for a starting role against Bayern Munich.

The 20-year-old wonderkid had been recuperating from an ankle injury even last month, yet his return to action for Schalke has taken longer than anticipated.

Draxler made his long awaited return to the first team last night for Schalke, coming on as a substitute in his club's frustrating 0-0 draw with Mainz in the Bundesliga.

He came on for attacking midfielder Max Meyer, in the same central attacking midfield role as Mesut Ozil occupies for Arsenal.

He played for half an hour, unable to help his sides break the deadlock in a frustrating encounter.

With a Champions League tie against Real Madrid next week, Schalke would have liked to go into the game with a win behind them; yet they will be glad at least that Draxler has returned and got some first team action under his belt ahead of the fixture.

His statistics from his appearance were little to shout about. 13 touches, 70 per cent pass completion accuracy, yet he still created one goalscoring opportunity.

Next week is when the German side will really hope to see the best of him, and he can begin to start justifying the hype on the big stage, and show his suitors why he is worth the £37 million release clause placed on his head this coming summer.

Had Arsenal bought him in January, it's doubtful he would have had much impact or been available to start against Bayern in midweek due to his injury issues.

Yet with the form concerns surrounding Mesut Ozil and the calls for him to receive a rest, having Draxler able to come into the first team right now and provide fresh impetus - would be perfect timing.

image: © Michael Kranewitter

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