Transfer news

Mertesacker wants Draxler arrival

January 16, 2014
By Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Per Mertesacker says he would welcome Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler at Arsenal.

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Draxler, 20, has been linked with a January move to the Gunners, despite a 45.5 million euro release clause only able to be triggered in the summer.

Arsenal already have a number of Germany internationals in their ranks, and Mertesacker, 29, would be more than happy to see another arrive at the Emirates Stadium.

“We already have a small German academy here,” Mertesacker told Spox.com. “It’s a lot of fun that the German discipline and the special talent is valued here.

“Players like him are welcomed here. Julian Draxler has a great influence on Schalke and the Germany team, despite his young age. But let’s wait and see what happens. A lot of players have been talked about in the past.”

Earlier this week, English media reported that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger hopes to add Draxler to his squad and turn the versatile attacking midfielder into a striker, like he did with Robin van Persie.

Schalke have so far kept quiet on whether they want to sell the Germany international midway through a season in which the Royal Blues still hope to qualify for the Champions League.

They are currently seventh in the Bundesliga standings, and trail fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund, who sit fourth, by four points.

On Thursday, Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt reiterated to Bild that currently “there is no offer” for Draxler, while adding that he has “not heard that Julian wants to leave.”

Meanwhile, the reported Arsenal target, who missed Schalke’s winter training camp in Qatar, has travelled to Munich to receive further treatment for his tendon injury, which has sidelined him since December. There is currently no set date for a possible comeback for Draxler.

Elsewhere, there has been some good news for Schalke, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar returning to team training on Wednesday, some five months after suffering a knee injury which ruled him out for the first half of the season.

“It’s important that ‘the Hunter’ is back with the team,” Heldt told Bild. “But we shouldn’t expect too much of him too fast.” 

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