14 Jul 2016

Liverpool MegaDeal: Klopp keen to sign 'excellent' £52m sensation who broke transfer record last summer

Last week, Liverpool were linked with an improbable move for Wolfsburg star Julian Draxler, and new reports this week suggest that the Reds will have to pay a record transfer fee to sign the coveted attacker.

According to the Liverpool Echo:

* Jurgen Klopp is preparing a move for Draxler.

* Liverpool will have to pay 'in excess of £52m' to sign Draxler.

When asked this week about Draxler's future, Wolfsburg director Klaus Allofs told SportBild:

“Wolfsburg is not the end of his dreams, and neither was Schalke. There are clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona or one or other club from England."

Some info about Draxler:

* 22-year old attacking midfielder, who can also play on either wing. Current contract expires: 2020.

* 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).

* 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".

The idea of Draxler is appealing (tall, powerful German international with undoubted talent), but his 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. Additionally, £52m for is a total rip-off. Draxler cost £30m only a year ago, and he's arguably achieved little in the last twelve months to justify a 43% increase in transfer value.

On a related note: When it comes to the right way to approach career development, Draxler is a great example for young players everywhere. Too many 18-20 year olds follow the money and stun their careers by signing for massive clubs too early, but Draxler took a different approach:

* Instead of selling out too early, Draxler stayed with Schalke, and developed his game whilst playing every week.

* Juventus and Bayern Munich came knocking, but Draxler decided to continue his development at Shalkr, and then Wolfsburg (where he is an everpresent when fit).

* Draxler's reward? International recognition, and a place in Germany's Euro 2016 squad. All of this achieved whilst playing for so-called 'lesser' clubs in Germany.

Contrast this with Mario Gotze, who signed for Bayern Munich at the age of 21, and has struggled to maintain a first-team place ever since. The same applies to the likes of Shaqiri (Bayern), Kovacic (Real Madrid), and many others.

I suspect Marko Grujic will go the same way next season. He should've stayed at Red Star Belgrade for at least another year, and gained valuable experience in the Champions League. Alas, unlike Draxler, Grujic didn't have the patience or the sense to wait for a move, and he'll only have himself to blame when he finds himself on the bench for most of next season.

^ Schalke's club record transfer fee.


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