Schalke coach Jens Keller has lamented the uncertainty caused by the release clause for his starlet, and Arsenal target, Julian Draxler. It is believed that Arsenal had a bid turned down for the 20-year-old Germany international in January with Schalke refusing to let him leave for less than his €45.5 million (£37.4m) release clause. Keller conformed that the clause will again be active in the summer.
"I am delighted that we have him on board for the second half of the season but, because of his clause, he can leave when a club puts the money on the table," he told German tabloid Bild. "That's why I can't plan with him, because it is just not in my or our hands.
“It's clear that all the talk about his 45.5 million euro release clause and the interest from top European clubs leaves its mark on such a young lad. The hype around him last summer was huge. He must learn to cope with that, and also that failing to perform at less than 100 percent is not good enough for him."
The comments offer nothing new, but do again suggest that Schalke have no intention of losing him for less than his buyout clause. If Arsenal are keen on the player, it appears foolhardy not to have paid up the money required in January. It seems likely that with his potential, and the possibility of his showcasing his talents at the World Cup this summer, there soon will be clubs willing to meet the clause and Arsenal could once again find themselves empty handed.
Arsene Wenger has made no secret of the fact that he is now paying particular attention to the German market with the strong contingent of young talent in the country. Already with Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Serge Gnabry at the club, even if Draxler does not arrive, Arsenal’s German contingent could soon be increased further.
According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal are monitoring Wolfsburg’s 19-year-old attacking midfielder Max Arnold. The Germany Under-21 international has scored six goals in 14 appearances in the Bundesliga this season. Arnold, who made his debut for Wolfsburg aged just 17, is said to have a release clause of around £8 million.
Building on the speculation linking Arsenal with an unlikely move for Mario Balotelli last week is Italian outlet Mediaset. They claim that the Milan striker’s renowned agent, Mino Raiola, is set to meet with Wenger to discuss a possible summer deal.
It is suggested that the scrutiny on Balotelli’s personal life in Italy, believed to have been a cause of his bursting into tears after being substituted at the weekend, could lead to the 23-year-old returning to England where he spent three seasons with Manchester City. A €30 million (£24.6m) fee is reported as potentially being sufficient to satisfy Milan. Currently, however, it still appears that much of the rumors have arisen from the innocuous fact that Arsenal have just signed a deal with Puma, the same company associated with Balotelli.
An even more unlikely target has also been discussed of late. Speaking on French television earlier this week, Gunners striker Olivier Giroud claimed that France teammate and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris would be interested in a move across north London. With Wojciech Szczesny in fine form this season, there would appear to be little need for Arsenal to attain Lloris’s services. And, unsurprisingly, when talking to Tottenham’s official website, Lloris brushed off Giroud’s comments.
“Yes I heard about that," he said. "I think maybe some words were twisted, but it is embarrassing. I don't think that, I'm very focused on Spurs' ambition and I am very pleased to play for Spurs.
"I have too much respect for the club and the Spurs fans to think that kind of thing. Of course I know him very well because we are teammates in the national team -- the same with Laurent Koscielny -- but I am a Spurs player and I'm very proud to play here."