8 Jul 2016

Liverpool MegaDeal: Klopp keen to sign 'excellent' €50m attacker who smashed transfer record at Wolfsburg

Over the next few years, Germany is sure to be a fertile hunting ground for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, and with Joel Matip already recruited, new reports this week suggest that the Reds are keen on signing another of the Bundesliga's top talents.

According to the Liverpool Echo:

"Liverpool have joined the race to sign Wolfsburg attacker Julian Draxler, who has been attracting attention with his performances in France".

* 22-year old attacking midfielder, who can also play on either wing. Current contract expires: 2020. Cost Wolfsburg a club-record €36m.

* Wolfsburg: 50/50 split between playing on the wing (mainly left), and playing as a number-10.

* Schalke/Wolfsburg: 38 goals/37 assists (75) in 170 apps (Goal every 344 mins. G/A every 174 mins).

* 2 goals in 22 games for Germany.

* Last Season: 16 goals/assists in 33 apps (Goal every 280 mins. G/A every 140 mins).

* Jul 2015: After signing for Wolfsburg, Draxler noted: "I felt the expectations to single-handedly decide games. That's when I realised that it's time to go. I would not have been able to withstand the pressure and expectations."

* Jun 2016: Michael Ballack's assessment: "Julian Draxler is an excellent player, but he also needs three or four meters of space to do his dribbling, and he will not get that against Italy".

* Jul 2016: Arsenal reportedly planning a €50m bid for Draxler.

In my view, Draxler (like Mario Gotze) failed to impress at Euro 2016. Lots of industry, running, and stamina (staples of German football), but very little creative impact. In fact, during the tournament, I can't recall a single instance of Draxler beating his man whilst playing out wide.

Additionally, Draxler's overall creative return is simply not good enough. Granted, he's only 22, but a goal every 344 minutes in the Bundesliga is merely average, and is not an upgrade on any of Liverpool's current attacking players.

Another thing to consider: if Draxler had problems deal with the 'pressure and expectation' of playing for Schalke, how is he going to handles the exponentially bigger pressure associated with playing for Liverpool?

Like Gotze, the idea of Draxler is exciting, but the reality is rather different. On the plus side, he fits the profile of the type of attacker Liverpool arguably need to add variety to the squad: tall (6'2), strong, and fast, with a decentl level of experience behind him.

Worth pursuing?


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