Arsenal target Julian Draxler has revealed that he is keeping his options open regarding his future and has not ruled out a move to Schalke’s rivals Bayern Munich. Schalke have confirmed that Arsenal had a bid rejected for the 20-year-old Germany international in last month’s transfer window, with the Bundesliga club believed to be holding out for the player’s €45.5 million (£37.5m) release clause. Draxler believes the clause is good for both parties.
“I prolonged my contract [last year] because I feel fine here and the long-term deal shows the appreciation and popularity I enjoy at Schalke,” he told German publication WAZ. “It’s no secret that I have a release clause and therefore have the opportunity to consider what is best for my development every year.
“Of course, the clause leaves a lot of room for speculation, but it is also good for both sides. It’s good for Schalke because the club does not have to let go of me on the cheap and, in their worst-case scenario, they would still get a lot of money for me. And for me it’s good because I can make my own decision if a club decides to pay 45 million euros for me and I want a new challenge.”
Draxler cited the example of Manuel Neuer who left Schalke for Bayern Munich three years ago amid much outrage from Schalke supporters when refusing to dismiss the possibility of one day moving to the Bavarians. While also coy about the prospect of a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona, the attacking midfielder spoke highly of the Premier League.
“The most attractive football right now is being played in Spain, while England, for me, has the best league in the world,” he added.
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It is believed that Wenger’s intention with Draxler was to convert him into a striker. If that plan does not come off, it seems highly probable that Wenger will look elsewhere to strengthen that area of his squad. Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa is one of the names who has been mentioned as a target. The Brazilian-born striker, who has declared his intention to represent Spain, has scored27 goals this season. However, despite a widespread expectation that Atletico will cash in on the 25-year-old this summer, as they did with Radamel Falcao a year before, club president Enrique Cerezo has insisted that his intention is to hold onto the player.
"I don't believe Diego Costa is leaving the club next season, we won't sell him next season, but that won't stop other clubs from wanting him," he said, according to Sky Sports.
Another striker linked with a move to Arsenal of late is Loic Remy. The France international has long been cited as a target for the Gunners and is enjoying a fine season on-loan at Newcastle United from Queens Park Rangers. The former Marseille man scored his 12th goal in the Premier League this season against Aston Villa on Sunday and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admitted that Remy’s continued impressive performances will make it harder for his club to conclude a permanent deal.
"He is going to be hot property and will get a lot of headlines,” he said, according to Sky Sports. "His goals could make it harder to buy him. Perhaps I will leave him out of the next 11 games!”
In recent days, there has good news in terms of Arsenal keeping their current squad together, with Tomas Rosicky looking increasingly close to signing a new deal. However, the situation appears far more complex with Bacary Sagna. The right-back’s current deal will expire in the summer and, according to the Daily Mirror, the two parties are some way apart in their negotiations. It is reported that Sagna, 31, is after a three-year contract worth £100,000 a week, while Arsenal are offering a two-year extension on close to the £60,000 a week that he currently earns.
Arsenal have traditionally been reluctant to offer long deals to players over the age of 30. And with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Internazionale and Galatasaray thought to be interested, Sagna’s future remains in some doubt.