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And as to Draxler’s widely reported £37M buyout clause — it appears that is no longer active.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.