Updates from Friday, Jan. 17
Fears of a long-term absence for Julian Draxler appear to have been allayed by his agent, who claims the Schalke man will return to light training next week.
It had been predicted Draxler's ankle might keep him out until March, casting doubt over his ongoing Champions League involvement. However, agent Roger Wittmann told Hassan Talib Haji of Goal.com:
Julian will start running training next week.
This was arranged and agreed with the medical doctors. He's on course.
Arsenal may be forced to delay any thought of signing Julian Draxler after it was reported on Wednesday that the Schalke star had ruptured a tendon:
Draxler has been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium by multiple sources, including John Cross of the Daily Mirror, but plans for a January switch have been rocked by news of his injury.
Sami Mokbel and John Edwards of the Daily Mail have news of the player’s setback:
Arsene Wenger has been strongly linked with an imminent bid for Schalke’s attacking midfielder, and there were even suggestions he could be heading to London for a medical this week.
But Sportsmail can reveal that the 20-year old is heading to Munich, instead, for treatment to a ruptured tendon that will keep him out until March.
Mokbel and Edwards claim Wenger "will not be deterred" in his pursuit of Draxler, despite his extended layoff.
Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has confessed to German daily Bild, via Sky Sports, that the club would not be able to stop Draxler leaving if Arsenal triggered his buy-out clause:
"We are still hopeful Julian is to stay on at our club," Heldt said. "However, there are certain arrangements we cannot change!"
Wenger is in need of cover for main striker Olivier Giroud, and recently stated—per Amy Lawrence of the Guardian—he is looking for a player who could both replace and complement the Frenchman.
Draxler is viewed as that man and, as stated by Mokbel and Edwards' Mail article, there is a growing belief that the youngster might join during the January transfer window.
Cross states in his Mirror report that Wenger views Draxler as the next Robin van Persie, and the comparison is not without substantiation.
Both players possess tall, strong frames, which are awkward for defenders to impose themselves against. Draxler and van Persie started their careers playing behind a striker, but Wenger clearly feels he can mould the German in the same way he did RvP.
Draxler’s use to Arsenal this season would be vital to their Premier League title challenge. The 20-year-old would be capable of covering for both Giroud and the injured Theo Walcott, his adaptability being one of his most attractive qualities.
According to WhoScored, Draxler has scored three times in five Champions League starts this term, helping Schalke reach the knockout stage of the competition.
It had been suggested that Schalke’s ongoing European involvement would be Arsenal’s major obstacle to a January move, but now it seems both clubs will have to do without Draxler when the Champions League kicks back into life.