ESPN FC: Draxler to Arsenal?
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted he is not close to striking a deal to sign Germany midfielder Julian Draxler from Schalke.
Wenger has been linked with a move to trigger the reported 45.5 million euro release clause in Draxler’s contract, with Gunners defender Per Mertesacker among those talking up the prospect of the 20-year-old joining him at Emirates Stadium.
Yet when asked whether a deal for Draxler was close, Wenger responded in the negative, before he distanced himself from reports that the midfielder had been given a tour of Arsenal's Hertfordshire training base in recent days.
“Like with unidentified flying objects, some see them everywhere,” he said. “I’m curious what will happen [with Draxler], it is my nature. The transfer period lasts until Jan. 31. Are we close to anyone, I’d say no.”
There has been a growing German contingent at Arsenal in recent years, with Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Serge Gnabry all making an impact.
“It’s about talent and quality and at the moment, the talent is produced in Germany so we are, of course, interested where the talent is,” Wenger said. “At the moment, Germany produces top level players.
"We are interested in good education and top level players and at the moment Germany produce that.”
Wenger again denied he is preparing a bid for Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov, as he reiterated his belief that the January transfer window should be abolished by the game’s authorities.
“Scrap it completely or keep it open until the last four games,” was Wenger’s verdict on the transfer window. “It’s like running a relay and mid-way through, you change your runners.
“If you play someone twice before the transfer window, you have an advantage against those teams. That is not right.
“It [the transfer window] gives teams a chance who are already convicted, gives them some hope. When I arrived in England, the transfer window was open until April and it didn’t create a problem.
“Why did we change it to create this high intense activity? Suddenly in January everyone becomes nervous. Before, it was the whole season, it didn’t create a problem. Leave it like that or close it for the whole season.”
Wenger does not feel the January window will see too many big signings at top clubs, as he suggested a majority of transfer business is concluded in the summer.
“It won’t be busy,” he added. “The transfer market in January is a low key transfer market. There is very reduced activity and while there will be some, it will be the last three days as ever.”