22 December 2016

Julian Draxler French-kisses his future...

If rumour has it, then Julian Draxler, late of VfL Wolfsburg and later still of Schalke 04, has signed with French giant PSG. If so, thus endeth another episode in the apparently unending saga of "Whom Won't Wenger Sign?" For those not yet in the know, Draxler was once heavily linked with a move to The Emirates under the assumption that he would be converted to a striker and in one fell swoop restore the Arsenal to our rightful role of Prem contenders. Alas, it was not to be.

This is about as close as Draxler will get to Arsenal. Meh.
So be it. I take it as a sign that the kid was never the kind of fighter we at Arsenal need. By contrast with, say, Higuaín, Draxler has apparently chosen to take the path of least resistance, opting to join the flat-track bullies that are PSG, guaranteeing himself Ligue 1 silverware and the accompanying annual appearance in the Champions League instead of (a) bravely leading Schalke or Wolfsburg into Bundesliga contention or (b) elevating the likes of Arsenal to the next level in the Prem and/or Champions League.

Fine. Litmus-test, failed.

I'm sure he'll enjoy a fair amount of success-by-association. At a risk of sounding like I'm sucking on sour grapes, once a player signs with one of the behemoths, he signals to me his spinelessness. Contrast this move with van Persie's move to Old Trafford. The Dutch Skunk had to know that he had one last chance at winning something, and he sold his soul to the Red Devils. Fine. That's understandable to some degree. Draxler, however, is 23. A babe in the woods. Still wet behind the ears. Maybe still needing his mum to change his nappies. There's almost a decade stretching out in front of him, a decade during which he could prove himself against the best of the best.

Instead, he's apparently taken one the paths of least resistance. Yes, PSG are a bit off the pace this year, but they've bossed Ligue 1 like nobody's business in recent seasons. So it goes. He'll get to coast through a cushier season at PSG, but the move will only reinforce certain unflattering notions about his character. Wolfsburg were apparently so disenchanted with his efforts that they were ready to shut him down two weeks ago, regardless of how that might affect the transfer-fee they might get. As it stands, Draxler hadn't scored a single goal in 1,055 minutes of Bundesliga action. He's nickin' a livin'—and that's the generous spin. When he's disgruntled, he's been known to trash-talk his club in interviews and to mail it in during matches unless he deems it worth his while to put in a star-turn against a marquee-opponent.

Look. I understand that the lad could eventually fulfill his potential. However, his track-record to this point suggests that he's content to rest on his potential laurels. He could very well be a Stevan Jovetić or, on the other hand, an Alexandre Lacazette. At any or either rate, don't get your panties in a twist over this one. Draxler looks like a fine-enough player but not necessarily one who would elevate us to the next echelon. He joined Wolfsburg as a poor-man's De Bruyne but hasn't delivered on any of the promise he showed at Schalke.

Long story short, it might have been nice to sign him, but he hardly seems like the saviour we seek. Something tells me he'll be more of a Samir Nasri than anything else. Even if he rises above, I'll regard him as one who copped out—not because he opted out of signing with Arsenal but because he decided to sign with PSG.