Andre Schurrle: Everything Arsenal Fans Need To Know About The German Forward
After a bit of a lull, it appears German football is enjoying something of a renaissance. Whether it’s the success of Borussia Dortmund, both on and off the pitch, or that the Bundesliga boasts the highest average attendance of any other league in the world, or whether it’s this current crop of players, under the tutelage of Joachim Low, that have been earning plaudits for their quality play, football in Deutschland is undoubtedly on the rise. This latest crop of players coming through is the result of time invested in a superb youth setup, and brave coaches who are not afraid to put their trust in players when they’re young and start them in the first team.
Often players go out on loan to establish themselves first, such as Mats Hummels and Lewis Holtby, whilst some just show their class early on, such as Mesut Ozil, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze. A look through the German squad shows they boast technically gifted players, who are capable of playing excellent football, but many of the attacking options that are regulars in Low’s squad are similar in their style of play; intelligent players who do their best work playing between the lines. In Andre Schurrle, though, they have a player who offers something different to the other attackers.
Schurrle is a strange player as he has impressed in a variety of positions, and seems wasted in his current role. Despite usually playing on the left for Bayer, he possesses all the tools to do well through the middle - although his goalscoring record hasn’t been great since last season. He is a more direct option and is capable of providing width, although he does his best work coming inside. Tall, strong and quick, whilst not as elegant on the ball as the likes of Ozil, Gotze or Reus, he still has all the technical tools to become a tremendous player, and brings a nice balance to the side as he provides something different. He showed what he can do when played centrally as he was breaking through at Mainz, but for club and country he must settle for a wide role.
Leverkusen, to their credit, were incredibly smart. They saw his potential early on, and no sooner had the 2010/11 season started that it was announced that he would join them at the end of the season for around €8m. A wise move, as rather than bide his time until he joined his new club, he had a breakout year, and Mainz were no doubt kicking themselves that they agreed to sell him so early in the season as they could have demanded a much higher price. Alongside Lewis Hotlby, who was on loan from Schalke, Schurrle led Mainz to an impressive fifth place finish, scoring an incredible 15 goals in 33 matches in the Bundesliga as he played a more central role. After finally moving north to Leverkusen, he has struggled to replicate has goalscoring exploits from the previous season, scoring just 9 goals in all competitions last season.
Schurrle is a strange player as he has impressed in a variety of positions, and seems wasted in his current role.
Chelsea have long been linked with the German international and had a £16m bid turned down in the summer. It seems strange that they’re still linked with him, though; they bought Oscar, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses and fellow countryman Marko Marin in the summer, all of whom, like Schurrle, are best suited playing in the three behind the forward. Whilst he has, on occasions, played through the middle, that is by no means his best position, and given that neither Fernando Torres nor Daniel Sturridge have been the prolific striker that the Blues need, a move for an out and out goalscorer seems a more plausible move.
With a contract that runs until 2016, neither the club nor player are in any rush to push a move through He has a release clause in his contract, reportedly around £24m (€30m) which can be activated next summer, and with Leverkusen reluctant to lose their best attacker, that is the sort of fee it will take to acquire his services. He'll be 22 soon, but still has plenty of scope for improvement, and if he continues to progress, a move to one of the top European clubs looks a certainty.
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