UPDATE: German paper Bild are reporting that Draxler could be fined nearly £85,000 for his comments (quoted below).
With the Premier League season now less than two weeks away, Everton are finding fewer and fewer transfer targets still available. Which also means that the second phase of ‘silly season’ kicks in, where the names linked with the Toffees get even more fantastic.
British paper The Independent is reporting that Arsenal’s bid for German player Julian Draxler has hit a rocky patch, and that Everton could be swooping in for the World Cup winner.
Draxler has expressed his desire to leave Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga in an interview with German paper Bild -
“I have expressed myself clearly to [coach] Dieter Hecking that after the Euros I want to leave Wolfsburg.
“We had a verbal agreement when I joined in August 2015 that I could leave the club if the possibility arose. It was always clear between all parties that I would like to go to a top international club if the chance came.”
But the club refuted those claims saying that the 22-year-old would not be leaving in this transfer window.
"VfL Wolfsburg wish to make it absolutely clear that at no time did those responsible at the club make either written nor oral commitments on the transfer of Julian Draxler within the current transfer period, which is due to end on August 31st, 2016. This is reiterated by a contractual release clause agreed upon with Julian Draxler and his management, which does not come into effect until summer 2017.
"VfL Wolfsburg will not be selling Julian Draxler during the course of the current transfer period. In joint discussions with Julian Draxler, VfL Wolfsburg again made it clear that they would not be granting the player’s wish to make a move."
Draxler himself has expressed interest in Italian champions Juventus and English club Arsenal, but the Bianconeri took themselves out of the running with media reporting that they have called the player’s agent to say they are not interested.
Arsene Wenger is a long-time admirer of Draxler, but if Wolfsburg refuse to sell than the only option would be to convince the club to activate his £63million release clause (which Wolfsburg says only kicks in next summer, his original contract runs until 2020). That price would be too rich for a tight-fisted Wenger, but opens up an opportunity for Ronald Koeman bankrolled by billionaire Farhad Moshiri to get the marquee signing he has been looking for all summer.
While the Blues stealing the player still seems unlikely, he would provide the creative spark that the team so desperately needs as we saw once again last night in the dour 0-0 draw against Manchester United in Wayne Rooney’s testimonial.
Koeman has shown that he is not tied down to a 4-2-3-1 formation, and a three-man backline allows him to field one or more playmakers in the middle of the pitch, as well as getting Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman further away from defensive responsibilities they do not necessarily relish.
Draxler’s strongest position looks to be where Everton already have another 22-year-old playing, Ross Barkley. Where Draxler is superior though is his flexibility to move out to either wing where he has excelled as well.
Again, Draxler to Everton sounds highly improbable, but if there were a grain of truth to the news of Koeman’s approach, this would definitely be a kickstart the Blues need in this offseason.