Regular sports.bwin readers will remember Julian Draxler being continually lined with a move to Arsenal all the way back to January 2014, when the Gunners reportedly lodged a ‘take it or leave it’ £24.7m bid with Schalke, who wanted closer to £40m.
They left it, with Draxler moving to Wolfsburg 20 months later, where he racked up 10 Bundesliga goals/assists during his first campaign, despite making just 21 appearances.
Now, after the 22-year-old’s impressive Die Mannschaft cameos during Euro 2016, Draxler-to-Arsenal may be very much back on, with the Sun among a number of media outlets claiming the North Londoners have ‘already offered a sum in excess of £40m for the Germany international’.
If boss Arsene Wenger finally lands his long-time target, Gooners may be left wondering what might have been had their club managed as much first time round.
Back in 2014, Draxler was being touted as ‘the new Thierry Henry’, largely based on the notion that the speedy, 6ft2in wide-forward would eventually drift into the number nine role performed with aplomb by the Gunners and France hero during his eight-year stint in the Premier League.
Such a player would have been extremely useful during Olivier Giroud’s tricky four-season spell so far at the Emirates – 24 goals in all competitions last term was the France centre-forward’s best return in an Arsenal shirt, but still not enough for a side with title-winning ambitions.
Giroud’s form was so patchy in the middle of the 2014/15 campaign that Yaya Sanogo, who has since sunk without trace during three loan spells, was preferred up front by Wenger for a crucial Champions League quarter-final first leg at home to Bayern Munich.
The 29-year-old has reacted rather well to the pressure of leading the hosts’ attack during Euro 2016, so may have benefited from better competition than Arsenal managed to provide in his first four years in the UK capital.
Draxler insisted he snubbed bigger clubs last summer in favour of a move to Wolfsburg, as he ‘didn’t feel ready for that kind of move’.
A year on, Arsenal will need to be more convincing.