Arsenal fans will be wondering when they can wake up from the nightmare ending to the summer transfer window, and it could get worse with the future of Alexis Sanchez hanging by a tiny thread.
BBC Sport reported on Tuesday evening that Manchester City have submitted an opening offer of £50 million for the Chilean forward – an offer rejected by Arsenal – but it’s expected they will return.
And the Mirror have claimed that the only way that Sanchez will be allowed to leave the Emirates over the course of the day would be if a move for Paris Saint-Germain’s Julian Draxler could be done. But with Sanchez so influential last season, how does the German international compare to him?
Industry in the opposition third
It’s hard to argue against the fact that, had it not been for Sanchez last season, then Arsenal would have finished much lower down the table than fifth and manager Arsene Wenger would not still be in London.
And part of the Chilean’s influence was just how busy he was in the final third, constantly working hard and roaming in-between the midfield and defensive lines, and it shows in his season’s statistics.
He made an average of 43.18 passes per match in the Premier League in comparison to Draxler’s tally of 31.24 – although it’s worth noting Draxler made five of his 17 appearances from the bench.
Yet the 23-year-old German international completed a higher percentage of his passes (85%) over the course of the season and there’s no doubt he could bring a similar level of productivity to Arsenal.
Producing the end product
With Sanchez being the main man at the Emirates last season – and realistically the only potent threat in front of goal aside from target-man Olivier Giroud – it’s no surprise that he’s miles ahead on this one too.
Across the course of the season he averaged 0.63 goals per game, scoring 24 in just 38 league appearances, and add an average of 0.26 assists per match and his importance shows even clearer.
The PSG forward doesn’t lag too far behind however with 0.24 goals per game, creating just less than two clear-cut chances per match in Ligue 1, and it’s not a bad return considering he only managed 1011 minutes of football in the French capital last year and was often restricted to cameo performances.
Although Draxler has been supposedly lined-up as a proposed Sanchez replacement, it’s key to remember that he’s more of a natural wide player whereas the Chilean was comfortable striking.
Should the speculation actually become a reality over the course of the day then Draxler would no doubt play on the left-wing, acting as support for Arsenal’s new record signing Alexandre Lacazette.
Yet one place where the PSG man comes into his own is when it comes to taking on defensive responsibilities, averaging just less than one (0.71) interceptions per match at the French giants.
This tally, along with the fact he makes 0.24 defensive clearances per game, both trumps the Chilean’s number (0.63 and 0.13 respectively) and highlights the benefit that Draxler could bring at both ends of the pitch, especially if he would be utilised as a left-winger that can help track back.
Should he join, and should Wenger persist with his wing-back formation, then Draxler’s ability to defend would be such an underestimated asset and add something that Sanchez didn’t last season.