Arsenal legend Robert Pires is the latest former player to urge Arsenal to open up their wallet this January and sign Germany international Julian Draxler.
Pires, who was a fan favourite and was instrumental during the Arsenal "Invincibles" team that went unbeaten for 49 league games, feels Draxler would fit in "perfectly" should he move to the Emirates, reports Mark Doyle of Goal.com (via Yahoo Sports).
Speaking to SPOX.com (via Yahoo! Sports), Pires said:
Julian is a good player. He's young and has a lot of potential for development. When I watch him play, I always think that he fits perfectly with Arsenal's style of football. I can see him playing well on the left-hand side or in attack. He could really strengthen the team.
Henry, who started off as a winger, was converted into a striker by Arsene Wenger. Draxler, who is a midfielder, is seen by Wenger as another project that he can turn into an out-and-out striker, says John Cross of Mirror Football.
Pires isn’t the only former Arsenal player hoping for the Draxler transfer to go ahead. He has been joined by Arsenal goalkeeping legend Jens Lehmann in calling on former boss Wenger to sign the talented young German midfielder.
Lehmann, who made over 200 appearances for Arsenal, says he feels Arsenal would be a good move for the German international who harbours hopes of playing in Brazil this summer in the World Cup, reports James Dickenson of The Express (h/t Sky Sports).
"I think Julian Draxler is perceived to be one of the greatest, talented young players in Germany. So it would be a good move for him to go to Arsenal," Lehmann said.
But the former German goalkeeper added that he still has reservations about Arsenal signing Draxler in the January transfer window:
Probably not now in the winter break because he can still play Real Madrid in the Champions League with Schalke. He can see Schalke will be qualified for next year’s Champions League. With Arsenal, he has a bigger likeness of playing in the Champions League next year, which is quite certain. Of course, it may give him a bigger chance to play at the World Cup with Brazil.
Newspaper reports on the weekend claimed that current Premier League leaders Arsenal had sent a delegation to Germany to begin negotiations with Schalke over Draxler, who has a £37 million release clause.
According to Wayne Versey of Goal.com, Arsenal sent officials to Germany to negotiate a deal for Draxler and Frankfurt right-back Sebastian Jung in a bid to sign them before Friday’s transfer deadline.
Should the deal for Draxler go through, he would join a mini German contingent that is currently flourishing at the club. Led by Per Mertesacker, Arsenal now have Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Serge Gnabry, a core group of German players that are instrumental in their title bid this season.
As Pires suggests, should Draxler sign for Arsenal, he would already fit in perfectly, and with so many fellow Germans around him, the Frenchman may have a point.
During Pires' time at Arsenal, the Gunners had a French core led by Thierry Henry and then captain Patrick Vieira. Sometimes when players arrive from abroad, especially at a young age, the bedding in process can be difficult, but Arsenal’s current conditions mean Draxler would be welcomed instantly.
Arsenal faced Southampton away in the Premier League Tuesday night, and Wenger and his team were focussed on that fixture as they tried to cement their place at the top of the Premier League. However, striker Olivier Giroud teased fans with this tongue-in-cheek Instagram pic as they left London:
As usual, Wenger has remained coy about signing Draxler. After last Friday’s 4-0 win in the FA Cup against Coventry, Wenger said the potential signing of Draxler was "an illusion" but that he would not rule it out.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, Wenger said:
That again is an illusion. There is nothing happening, honestly no. We have no need on the flanks, we have Chamberlain coming back, we have many players on the flanks. Honestly, I told you in the last press conference, we don't rule it out but at the moment I cannot announce anything to you.
Should Arsenal sign Draxler in the January transfer window, the transfer would go against Wenger’s principles. The Frenchman actually wants the January transfer window to be "scrapped completely," as reported by Martyn Herman of Reuters.