Allegedly growing frustrated at the slow pace with which his new club are going about recruiting new players, Jose Mourinho is thought to be considering Julian Draxler as an alternative to Manchester United’s Plan A, Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
A £30m bid will allegedly be enough to snare the Wolfsburg star, who has quality, but not enough to be considered a viable alternative to his Borussia Dortmund counterpart.
During a vintage 2012/13 campaign, Draxler emerged as one of the brightest prospects in European football when, as a teenager, he bagged ten goals and assisted three more for Schalke in the Bundesliga.
His efforts drew plenty of high-profile interest, with Arsenal in particular, very keen on the Germany international.
A sky-high asking price, believed to be in the region of £37m, ultimately put the Gunners off and they’ll no doubt be grateful for it.
The following season saw him score just two in 25 league starts for Schalke then the year after injury restricted him to just 15 appearances and the same goal tally.
Despite this notable drop in standards, Die Konigsblauen were still able to command £30m for his services, which Wolfsburg duly paid from their Kevin De Bruyne windfall last summer.
Able to play centrally as well as on the left, it was hoped Draxler could replace the mountain of goals De Bruyne created, but he mustered just two strikes and a solitary assist when deployed in a central attacking-midfield berth, a return someway shy of what was expected.
Playing predominantly in the same position a year earlier, his Belgian predecessor set up a significantly superior 20 Bundesliga goals.
Overall, Draxler’s numbers for 2015/16 stood at a respectable five goals and as many assists from 21 appearances, but it’s questionable whether this warrants a £30m outlay.
Besides, his stats pale in comparison to those of Mkhitaryan.
United’s top target set up 15 league goals for teammates and notched a further 11 himself last time around.
Employers Borussia Dortmund understandably don’t want to sell the Armenian, but they’ll have to unless they want to lose him for nothing in a year’s time when his contract expires.
Even if Die Schwarzgelben remain steadfast in their desire to keep Mkhitaryan for another year, saving the £30m Draxler would cost and waiting for the better player would be a smarter long-term strategy.