Julian Draxler remains the apple of Arsenal’s eye although links bringing him closer to the club remain unsupported.
The most recent rumbling out of North London was that this past January the 20-year-old German international was on the verge of being swapped for Lukas Podolski and other goodies. Podolski, however, squashed that report on Thursday claiming it was a non-starter.
“I only know that a swap deal involving me and him was never a consideration,” said the Arsenal winger.
Last summer, and then again this winter, Draxler was widely touted as the next big thing set to wear the famous Arsenal red. A lanky yet beautifully composed attacking midfielder with a penchant for both creating and scoring goals, Draxler is a more elegant version of Bayern Munich’s Thomas Mueller.
For these qualities and more, the Schalke man has been widely tipped to become Arsene Wenger’s new conversion project: attacking midfielder to striker. The next Thierry Henry. The next Robin van Persie. The next player to be transformed from ‘incredibly talented’ and ‘highly rated’ to ‘world class.’
Patience is a virtue in any aspect of a Goonah fan’s life though, especially when it comes to transfers. At Arsenal, big moves (sans Mesut Ozil) take time to transpire. Sometimes even years. From all indications that will be the case with Draxler, who, despite not being part of an elaborate swap scheme for the under-valued Podolski, is still very much on the Gunners’ radar.
This summer Wenger will once again engage in his transfer market song-and-dance of denying any deals all the while carefully orchestrating (alongside CEO Ivan Gazidis) the most economically advantageous way to land the coveted Draxler. So breathe deep, Gunners supporters, this could be awhile. But the upside is that Draxler-to-Arsenal still very well ‘could be.’
In 26 matches with Die Königsblauen this season, Draxler has four goals and eight assists.
We’ve seen MLS teams make major splashes in the past, and one of next year’s newcomers could be a really big draw if they can manage to seal the deal on a Mexican international.
[ MORE: Schweinsteiger shares thoughts on MLS and more in interview ]
According to Metro New York, Los Angeles FC is continuing its talks with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez about a potential deal that would prove massive in terms of MLS spending.
While LAFC won’t debut in MLS until 2018, the club could potentially make the Mexico striker the highest-paid player in league history with an average salary of roughly $10 million.
The 28-year-old Hernandez currently plays in Germany with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he’s plied his trade since joining the club during the 2015/16 season.
Additionally, the former Manchester United man has dominated the international scene for El Tri, scoring 46 goals in 90 appearances for the CONCACAF nation.
German publication Kicker says Bayern Munich technical director Michael Reschke attended both of this weekend’s FA Cup semifinals and had his eye on two players in particular.
Reschke apparently wants to bring players from both North London Derby rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to the Allianz Arena.
[ MORE: Liverpool’s Top Four plight ]
In the case of Spurs, that man is right back Kyle Walker. The 26-year-old has also played right mid in 8 of his 35 matches for Tottenham this season, and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. It’s hard to believe Spurs would have interest in selling Walker, who would help fill the role of retiring Philipp Lahm.
On the other side is Alexis Sanchez, the embattled but electric Arsenal attacker who Arsene Wenger described as an “animal” and “always ready to kill the opponent” this weekend. Wenger says Sanchez isn’t going anywhere, but Bayern does boast Chilean teammate Arturo Vidal and former Barca mate Thiago Alcantara.
Walker is signed at Spurs through 2021, while Sanchez’s contract ends after next season.
AS Roma has found its new sporting director, and it’s a man with a keen eye for talent.
Ramon “Monchi” Rodriguez Verdejo, 48, has spent the last 18 years as the sporting director at Sevilla, which won five UEFA Europa League titles under his watch.
Monchi was discussed in the media as a target for the same job at Arsenal and was a target for other Premier League clubs, but Roma sealed the deal with the former goalkeeper.
[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]
He is considered to have a big role in discovering and developing Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, and Dani Alves.
Read more from ASRoma.com.
Liverpool is a historic club with incredible presence. Jurgen Klopp is a celebrated manager with a strong reputation as a players’ coach.
Those two facets will always make the club attractive to players. Missing out on the UEFA Champions League is another thing altogether and would put a huge dent in Klopp’s ambitious recruitment goals.
And right now, the Reds look destined to drop out of the Top Four.
[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]
Even if Manchester United and Manchester City draw Thursday’s derby, both will be poised to pass the Reds by winning the match-in-hand.
Injury-ravaged United is bothered by UEFA Europa League duty against Celta Vigo, and has a brutal run-in that includes Spurs and Arsenal in addition to City. Liverpool has to hope United falls off, because Man City is likely going to walk over the Top Four line even with a draw in the derby.
The worst case scenario for Liverpool, aside from continuing to flail against clubs outside the Top Seven, is United toppling City on Thursday.
As an aside, it’s extremely unlikely that Arsenal leaps into the fray but if the Gunners did it would come at the expense of United.
Really, Liverpool’s run-in is perfectly built for two of its supporters’ favorite things: Winning matches and rooting against Manchester United. Here’s how they finish:
May 1 — at Watford
May 7 — vs. Southampton
May 14 — at West Ham United
May 21 — vs. Middlesbrough
Liverpool battered Watford 6-1 at Anfield and Boro 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium, but drew both Saints and West Ham earlier this season in addition to losing to Southampton in an EFL Cup semifinal.
Say the Reds nab a perfect 12 points to finish with 78; They’ll need City to take less than 14 from six remaining matches and United to earn less than 15 from six. The latter is far more likely than the former, but will matter very little if Klopp can’t motivate and organize his men in the final four matches.