Schalke chill the Julian Draxler transfer talk; buyout clause inoperable

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Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt claimed Thursday the club have no intention of selling star midfielder Julian Draxler.

Heldt said he was “convinced” the 20-year-old Germany international would be staying at the club, not just through January but next summer as well.

“We are happy to have such a world-class player in our lines. I am very convinced that Draxler will be playing for us in the Rückrunde [second half of the season] but most probably beyond that,” he said at a news conference on Thursday.

“We are not interested in letting Julian leave, and he has also not approached us about a transfer.”

When asked about the alleged presence of Arsenal chief transfer negotiator in Germany, Heldt said: “I checked my office if someone was waiting for me, but nobody was therchie. Of course, there are always other clubs interested in him, and should someone make a serious offer for him, then we as a club have to professionally consider that. That does not only apply to Julian Draxler, but to every other player.”

And as to Draxler’s widely reported £37M buyout clause — it appears that is no longer active. “That agreement was only in place for last year, from now on the transfer fee is up for negotiation,” Heldt said.

So does this mean, as The Guardian says, that a Draxler transfer to Arsenal has been “ruled out”?

No. The news is, quite obviously, a blow to the Gunners. But no deal has been ruled out.

Word out of the Emirates is that, regardless of whether the buyout clause’s activity, Arsenal do not value Draxler at £37M. The hope internally was that some sweet talk by Dick Law, Arsenal could land their man for less than that amount. Now, apparently, that clause doesn’t exist and moreover, Schalke want more than that amount.

But the deal is by no means dead. It comes down, in large part, to Draxler himself. If he is inclined to play for Arsenal then he has the right to approach Heldt with that intent, at which time the Schalke director needs to determine whether the refusal to what extent the transfer Draxler would upset the player, the dressing room and the club.

In other words, a lot can happen. And don’t be surprised if this is Heldt’s means of driving up the price as high as he can on the notoriously frugal Arsene Wenger.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins in Stoger’s managerial debut

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For the first time since late September, Borussia Dortmund has won a league match, while Leipzig’s slip up opens the door for Bayern Munich to extend its lead in Germany’s top flight.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, level on points with Man United ]

Here’s a brief look at all of Tuesday’s Bundesliga action.

Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

10 points separates Dortmund from league leaders Bayern Munich, who also have a match in hand, but for the moment, the bleeding his stopped. BVB picked up a crucial win on Tuesday to end its domestic woes upon manager Peter Stoger’s debut. The side’s drought stretched over an eight-match winless period. Second-half goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa moved Dortmund into the top four, while Mainz remains 15th in the league table.

 

Wolfsburg 1-1 Red Bull Leipzig

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s form continues to slide downward after the second-place side dropped points in its fourth straight match across all competitions. The road side’s fortunes were dampened early on when Paul Verhaegh converted from the penalty spot, however, Marcel Halstenberg did manage to pull a goal back for Leipzig in the 52nd minute. Leipzig’s misfortunes carried on in stoppage time though when Dayot Upamecano was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the day.


The rest of Tuesday’s scores

Hamburg 1-2 Frankfurt
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Inter beats 3rd-division Pordenone 5-4 on penalties in Cup

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan scraped into the Italian Cup quarterfinals after the Serie A leader was taken to penalties by third-division Pordenone on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, moves level on points with Man United ]

Pordenone goalkeeper Simone Perilli pulled off several saves in regulation time to keep the game scoreless, and he almost proved to be the hero during the shootout, stopping two penalties.

But Inter prevailed 5-4, with Yuto Nagatomo tucking away the final spot kick.

Both sides hit the woodwork during the 120 minutes.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti rang the changes, and only Milan Skriniar and Matias Vecino remained in the starting 11 from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Juventus.

[ MORE: Burnley moves into top four after win over Stoke ]

However, he was forced by desperation to bring on Marcelo Brozovic at halftime as well as star forwards Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi.

Report: Cosmos coach Savarese to be named new Timbers manager

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In a time where NASL’s status moving forward is hanging in the balance, one of the league’s top managers is set to make the jump to Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan ]

According to ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese is set to be named the next Portland Timbers manager.

Savarese will take over for the recently departed Caleb Porter, who stepped down from his head coaching role with the Timbers in November.

The former professional player spent five seasons in MLS during his career, including stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), as well as the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 46-year-old has managed the Cosmos from 2013 to present, and guided the NASL side to three Soccer Bowl titles in that span.

Report: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan

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First Dax McCarty ahead of the 2017 season, and now Sacha Kljestan?

It seems as though the New York Red Bulls could be on the verge of trading away yet another club captain this offseason.

[ MORE: LA FC continues active offseason with addition of Laurent Ciman ]

According to Metro, Los Angeles FC is close to trading for Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan.

The U.S. Men’s National Team attacker has led Major League Soccer in assists over the last two seasons, and has served as an integral piece in the Red Bulls midfield since joining the club in 2015.

The Red Bulls made Kljestan club captain ahead of the 2017 season when former midfielder Dax McCarty was traded away to the Chicago Fire in exchange for allocation money.

Kljestan spent the first five seasons of his MLS career with now-defunct side Chivas USA, before playing in Europe Belgian club Anderlecht.