Arsene Wenger has denied that there is any fresh information on Arsenal’s reported pursuit of Julian Draxler, despite German TV pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft claiming that a fee had been agreed with Schalke for the Germany international.
Arsenal have been linked with the 20-year-old since last summer, however it appeared highly unlikely that he would move in this month’s transfer window. Not only are Schalke in the Round of 16 of the Champions League, but Draxler’s release clause of €45 million (£37.3m) is only active in the summer.
Yet Fjortoft’s assertion, made on Twitter during Arsenal’s 4-0 victory over Coventry City in the FA Cup, raises the specter of an immediate switch, although, even if his information proves correct, there could still be some way to go before a deal is finalized. It could also be that a transfer is merely being lined up for the summer.
Fjortoft, a former Norway striker, was the man who first broke the news of Arsenal’s capture of Mesut Ozil on the final day of last summer’s transfer window. Yet, Wenger brushed off the suggestion when asked about it on BT Sport following Arsenal’s win at the Emirates.
“No, there is no news about that at all,” he said.
He added a further denial in his press conference. "That's an illusion," he stated. "We've no need to take players on flank."
Still, Wenger is not exactly known for his candidness when discussing transfer matters. Following the signing of Ozil, Draxler has appeared a strange target given Arsenal’s wealth of attacking midfielders. Countering that perception, the Daily Mirror reported last month that Wenger’s plan is to turn Draxler into a striker in the same way he did Robin van Persie a decade ago. Arsenal could certainly use another front man, with the squad currently having a shortage of quality alternatives to Olivier Giroud.
Draxler has long been one of Europe’s hottest young properties since breaking into the Schalke first-team as a 17-year-old. He is already a regular member of the Germany squad and interest in his services could well increase this summer after the World Cup.