Forget Draxler: Why Aren't Arsenal Signing The Players We Really Need?
As the transfer window draws to a close we look back at Arsenal writer Rueben Lewis assessing long-term target Julian Draxler.
There are certain similarities beginning to emerge between this transfer window and last summer’s.
In August, a new striker to both ease the pressure on Olivier Giroud and improve the side in his absence was a priority, but Arsenal ended up buying Mesut Özil, an attacking midfielder. Of course, no sane Arsenal fan was disappointed by this; signing the best number ten in the world had me more excited than Avram Grant with a night to himself in Pascha. Now, though, as we enter the mid-way point of the January transfer window, the need for a centre forward remains and again it seems Arsene Wenger is instead pursuing an attacking midfielder, in the form of Julian Draxler.
There is no doubting the twenty year old’s talent. The praise both Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker have directed towards him this week speaks volumes. The latter stated: "Players like him are welcomed here. Julian Draxler has a great influence on Schalke and the Germany team, despite his young age.”
However at this moment in time, considering the plethora of creative, attacking midfielders at Wenger’s disposal, and the pressing need to add a striker to the squad, Draxler seems somewhat of an unnecessary luxury.
There is talk that Wenger sees a long-term future for Draxler as a forward. However, this would be as a false nine, rather than a conventional striker. I am not convinced that this would be effective in the Premier League; we’re not Barcelona. I feel we need a focal point up top, which Giroud has provided superbly this season. Having said that, Andrei Arshavin was magnificent in this position during Arsenal’s injury crisis a few years back, and tore Chris Samba’s Blackburn to pieces. If these reports of Wenger’s intentions are accurate then I support his judgment, however this transformation would inevitably be a lengthy process – what about now?
If we’re not able to sign a high calibre striker this month, which is looking increasingly likely, then we should at least preserve the funds needed to sign one in the summer. It is unlikely we would be able to do so having already spent £40 million on Draxler.
On the other hand, this is essentially the same line of thinking many adhered to before signing Özil: “Why is Wenger spending so much money on a player we don’t need?!”, “we won’t be able to afford a new striker now!” Yet a couple months later the club are heavily linked to a £35 million bid for a new German, and there is no smoke without a fire. With this in mind, who’s to say we won’t sign Draxler as well as a striker?
Much of this speculation rests on who is available and how much Wenger is willing to overpay. In my mind, however, attacking midfield is the position we least need to enforce, which does make Draxler seem a little bit of an unnecessary luxury.
Follow Reuben on Twitter, @RLewisAFC