Arsene Wenger has brushed off speculation linking Arsenal with a move for Schalke’s Julian Draxler. Reports have mounted in recent days suggesting that Arsenal had stepped up their interest in the 20-year-old Germany international. There have even been rumors that Draxler has been shown around the club’s training facilities this week, a claim that Wenger has rebuked.
“Like with unidentified flying objects, some see them everywhere,” he said, according to ESPN. “I’m curious what will happen [with Draxler], it is my nature. The transfer period lasts until January 31. Are we close to anyone, I’d say no.”
Although the player has a €45 million (£37.4m) release clause, it is only active in the summer, making a deal this month incredibly unlikely. Still, if and when the move does happen it would increase an already large collection of German players at the Emirates, something which Wenger puts down to nothing more than the strong talent pool currently in the country.
“It’s about talent and quality and at the moment, the talent is produced in Germany so we are, of course, interested where the talent is,” he explained. “At the moment, Germany produces top level players. We are interested in good education and top level players and at the moment Germany produce that.”
One of the German players currently at Arsenal, defender Per Mertesacker, is relishing the prospect of having Draxler as a teammate at club as well as international level.
“He is a great talent,” he said in quotes reported by the London Evening Standard. “He has already made a big impact at Schalke and in the German national team, despite his young age. He would be very welcome here. I’m excited to see what happens.”
Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Fulham, Wenger also discussed his reported interest in Cottagers forward Dimitar Berbatov. Again Wenger replied that a move was unlikely and explained that there was no urgency to sign a striker, despite the long-term injury to Theo Walcott and the current unavailability of Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo.
“You should ask the question, do I rate Berbatov as player? Highly,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “Have we made any approach to sign Berbatov? No.
“I don't think so because we have Bendtner who is coming back, we have Yaya Sanogo who is making very good progress in training. Of course we have lost Theo Walcott and that for us was a big blow but hopefully we can compensate. We have not made any approach.”
Any possible deal for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata also appears increasingly complex. Arsenal are believed to have made an approach about a loan move for the 21-year-old striker, but the Spanish giants have continued to insist that he will not be leaving in the current transfer window. Even were that stance to change, Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Juventus and Internazionale will provide stiff competition for his signature and are weighing up a €13 million (£10.75m) bid for a permanent transfer.
The remote prospect of Arsenal landing Mario Mandzukic this month has also been dismissed by Bayern Munich. With Robert Lewandowski set to arrive on a free transfer in the summer, there has been much talk about Mandzukic’s future, with Arsenal said to be one of the clubs looking to exploit the situation. However, comments from Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge suggest that the Croatian striker will be in Bavaria for the long-term.
“We are very pleased with Mario Mandzukic. He has made a big contribution to us winning so many titles,” he told Bild. "We are willing to sign a new contract with him and I don't think he would be against those talks."