Arsenal: Draxler opens door; €25m bid for German centre-half; Mahrez Latest
Arsenal may be about to return to an old flame, with Julian Draxler going public about his desire to leave Wolfsburg this summer.
Arsene Wenger has a long-standing interest in the German wide-forward, almost capturing his signature in the 2014 January window.
The Arsenal boss is attracted to Draxler’s versatility, with some stories suggesting he wants to convert Draxler into a central striker just like Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie.
“Two days after the semi-final at the European Championships I told him how I see the whole situation and what I want – which is to leave the club.
“It was always clear between all parties that I would like to go to a top international club if the opportunity arises.”
It would be a major risk for Draxler to be so open about his desire to leave were there not already an offer on the table from another club.
Whether that club is Arsenal remains to be seen, but the 22-year-old German international seems a perfect fit given that he can play on the flank or as a striker.
The Gunners are also looking to add a central defender to their ranks, and the media consensus suggests Valencia Shkodran Mustafi is their primary target.
The German is reportedly available for €25 million, a fee which is well below his official release clause and Arsenal are expected to lodge an improved bid this week.
With Per Mertesacker out until 2017 with a knee ligament injury, Wenger is reluctant to throw in Rob Holding, Calum Chambers or Krystian Bielik, preferring they develop at their own pace.
There was a time when Wenger would happily expose a promising centre-back to the rigours of top-level football (Johann Djourou and Philippe Senderos spring to mind), but he is all too well aware of the atmosphere at the Emirates and the need for a solid start next season.
Elsewhere, more reports from Algerian publication La Butuer claim that Wenger has met with Mahrez’s representatives while on tour in America.
They report that Arsenal have agreed personal terms with Mahrez for a deal worth £100,000 per week and that the player has his heart set on a move.
There is yet to be a convincing story about Arsenal lodging an official bid, but with Claudio Ranieri admitting the player is ‘distracted’ there seems to be definite interest.
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