The transfer window is well and truly underway; controversial deals, key players departing and loyalties tested, the Bundesliga transfer story of 2016 is fulfilling such expectations ahead of the new season.
Draxler's decision to leave is questionable
The first month of transfers was lively, as expected, and as we creep into August, things seem to be rising to a higher level as international players return to training. This is evident in the recent news regarding the future of Julian Draxler at VfL Wolfsburg.
Draxler had an impressive individual spell at the European Championships for Germany, and caught the spotlight on a few occasions as he took to the mainstage to showcase his talents.
At club level, Draxler was never truly able to conclude his first season at VfL Wolfsburg, as he was struck by injury earlier this year. After just one year representing Wolfsburg since his £28m move from Schalke last summer, Draxler has re-thought his decision, and has enquired about leaving the club.
In fairness, it wasn’t a surprising statement following his impressive performances whilst on international duty, combined with Wolfsburg’s inability to stand resist hefty price tags from rival teams over the availability of their star players. Andre Schürrle was the most recent star to depart, as he set his sights on bigger things at Borussia Dortmund.
Draxler's response to false claims made by Wolfsburg made public
Draxler represented Schalke from the age of 8, as he developed his game and worked his way up the ranks with the Royal Blues before moving last summer to Wolfsburg.
His first season with Die Wölfe was far from what he expected, as their form massively declined from their second place finish the season before, finishing 8th after an usually poor season. Draxler has evidently found the transition period difficult, which is understandable after such an extensive stay at Schalke, his personal issues were surfaced after an interview he underwent with Bild was published for the world to feed upon.
Draxler was clearly disappointed with Wolfsburg’s decision to publicly confirm that he would remain at the club after he sparked an interest with a few clubs as a result of his terrific form at the Euro’s.
The 22-year-old made it clear that his club has falsely informed fans that he would stay, as he told Bild; “The situation with me is that I made it clear to Dieter Hecking after we were knocked out of Euro 2016 in the semi-final that I would like to leave Wolfsburg.” Draxler continued to say, “When I joined, I was assured verbally that I could leave the club whenever the opportunity arose.”
As mentioned previously, it’s also unsurprising that both Hecking and Allofs would be willing to let Draxler leave so easily, especially following the loss of Schürrle and taking into consideration the importance of Draxler in the team.
The German international did not hold back on his disappointment in Allofs and Hecking, as he told Bild; “Both Hecking and Klaus Allofs said this. It was clear that Wolfsburg had good prospects, but also that they were a springboard for me.” He concluded his interview with Bild with the self-reassurance that; “It was always clear to everybody that I would like to join a top club in Europe, if I were to get the chance.”
Is the Bundesliga used as a stepping stone to bigger things more commonly?
After speaking to Bild, it is unlikely for Wolfsburg’s fans to be as welcoming to their midfielder as they were this time last year. However, using Bundesliga clubs as a ‘springboard’ to success is a process that the league knows all too well. It happens every season, a player will make a breakthrough and his first point of call will be a move to a bigger club.
You could argue that Draxler formerly followed this process after his dominant years at Schalke, and his decision to join Wolfsburg - who at the time – were the second best team in Germany behind Bayern Munich.
It is evident this season in many cases, three in particular with Mats Hummels’ decision to trade Dortmund for Bavaria, as well as Leroy Sané’s recent transfer to Manchester City. Sané made the £35m move to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, but with such a large price tag, questions were asked as to what the 20-year-old starlet had done in his career to justify such a weighty price.
Of course, football in this era is associated with the ludicrous expenditure of players that aren’t the talents that their asking prices portray. Sané had two fantastic seasons with Schalke as he emerged into the first team, but his story at Schalke was somewhat unfinished, with many suggesting that the young forward decided to leave the nest too early in his still developing career.
The same could be said about Julian Draxler, following his comments regarding his current club, as he requests to leave the club, it is clear that his motivation is a bigger club but again, has Draxler fully lived up to his expectations at Wolfsburg yet? After one season, it could be argued that he hasn’t.
Wolfsburg reluctant to lose grip of Draxler
It would seem that Wolfsburg feel the same, as following his trivial backlash comments, the club remained firm to their wishes and deemed that the player would not be sold this window. First team manager, Dieter Hecking was reluctant to elaborate on the subject, as he claimed; “We won't comment on every rumour, but we explicitly decreed that Julian will stay with us.”
Nowadays it would seem that Hecking’s word isn’t enough to ensure that Draxler will remain at the club, especially following his disrespectful comments regarding the club as a ‘springboard’ in his career. The German midfielder has already gained some interest around Europe, from two clubs in particular; Arsenal and Juventus.
Interest already being generated elsewhere
Rumours in the past have claimed that Draxler has formed a level of compatibility with Arsenal, various sources claiming that the player has a desire to play for the Gunners one day.
With Arsenal on the hunt for attacking players, it could spark further interest as Draxler is evidentially overly keen to leave Wolfsburg.
Arsenal have been linked with Draxler before this window, and have also been linked with Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez. While Mahrez and Draxler contrast in style, the two could provide Arsenal with the same level of impact, and with Mahrez looking set to stay at Leicester, it could revive Arsenal’s interest in Draxler.
Currently, Draxler could be described as an attacking natured utility player, with the versatility to play central, wide and even as a supporting striker in some instances. His strength in possession and notable talent to be gifted in both feet opens up his possibilities with regards to his positioning on the pitch.
Arsenal, who have been recognised to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation for some time now, are rumoured to be hunting for a wide man to accompany Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil along the line of three in the advanced midfield. Draxler impressed in the Euro’s playing as a winger for Germany, alongside Arsenal’s Mesut Özil in midfield, the combination of the two complimented Germany in attack, and could possibly do the same for Arsenal if the transfer rumours are true.
As for the possibility of joining Italian champions, Juventus, it would be assumed that Draxler would be introduced to the midfield, especially with their decision to play three in defence. While Draxler’s attacking game in the wide areas is polished, his defensive side is still undergoing maintenance, with the possibility of leaving him exposed and haltering his attacking game, if he were to play on the flanks at Juventus.
Wolfsburg ready to see off competition for Julian Draxler
Transfer talk is more commonly unreliable than reliable, however, it is not unclear to see that Draxler will be fishing for a move away from the Bundesliga this season. In response to his outburst, Wolfsburg have supposedly put a €50m price tag on their prized midfielder, in an attempt to lower the attraction from other clubs when window shopping for their next big buy.
It’s unfortunate that the Bundesliga is regarded in such a way, the development of the league and its quality has boosted in recent times, but with the dominance of Bayern Munich, players are most commonly unable to achieve champion status, or, the finances that more the more recently successful clubs have to offer.
It will certainly be interesting to see just how the transfer saga between Wolfsburg and Julian Draxler unfolds, but it would be assumed that he will not be a popular figure around Wolfsburg next season, whether he stays at the club or exits in the desperate search to seek bigger things.