Draxler drops Arsenal hint, and could Demba Ba join him?
German winger says he will quit Schalke, with Gunners his preferred destination thanks to Ozil
AS HINTS go, they don't get any bigger than the one dropped to the German press by Schalke winger Julian Draxler. Sky Sports reports that the German international has been linked with a host of clubs this season and the highly-rated 20-year-old winger has admitted he won't be a Schalke employee for much longer. "I owe Schalke a lot, I have always been at Schalke. I need to emphasise this. But I'm not so rooted here that I could not tear myself away... I can honestly say that it is my dream to play for one of the big clubs at some point."
Asked about his 'ideal move', Draxler is quoted as replying: "The big two in Spain, Real and Barcelona, Bayern (Munich) and a few others from England, namely Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea."
In other words, Draxler is keeping his options open at this stage but he did hint that a move to the Emirates was his likeliest destination following Arsenal's recent acquisition of Mesut Ozil.
"I'm a big fan of Mesut Ozil, who ventured abroad and developed at Real Madrid into a world-class player," Draxler added. "Just to be a team-mate of his [with Germany] makes me quite proud." And to be a teammate at Arsenal will doubtless make Draxler even prouder.
If he does end up at the Emirates, Draxler may find himself providing crosses for Demba Ba, if Le 10 Sport in France is to be believed. It latches onto rumours circulating around Europe that Jose Mourinho is less than impressed with the former Newcastle striker, who has yet to find the net for Chelsea this season.
With Olivier Giroud ploughing a lone furrow up front at the Emirates, Arsene Wenger is apparently on the lookout for an understudy and believes that the non-scoring forward could be the man.
Meanwhile Caughtoffside reports that Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen is a Napoli target now that he's admitted he might have to leave the Emirates to relaunch his career. The Belgian centre-back has been plagued by injury and loss of form for much of the past year and is now struggling to assert himself at the Gunners. It's believed Rafael Benitez is monitoring the situation with the Spaniard a long-time admirer of Vermaelen having seen him up close in the Premier League.
According to Metro, Wigan manager Owen Coyle is closing in on a deal to sign Park Chu-Young from Arsenal but only if the South Korean striker agrees to a pay cut. The 28-year-old Chu-Young, who spent last season on loan with Spanish side Celta Vigo, has been told he has no future at the Emirates Stadium by Arsene Wenger but it seems he's got an inflated sense of his own worth.
"We've spoken to Arsenal about Park, and the discussions regarding the footballing side went very well," said Coyle. "We were also having discussions with the financial people at Arsenal, but I think the package was just a little out of our reach at this moment in time... what people have got to understand is that, while we are looking to bring in very good players – which we have done – we will only pay Championship salaries."
Metro says Chu-Young currently takes home a staggering £45,000-a-week at Arsenal for doing not very much and while the Gunners would pay part of that Wigan are still struggling to agree terms as the player does not want to take a pay cut. Negotiations are ongoing and Wigan hope to reach agreement soon.
The Daily Star says that Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has told Arsenal and Manchester United target Wesley Sneijder to join Chelsea. Currently plying his trade with Galatasaray, Sneijder has been linked with both the Gunners and United in recent months but Van Gaal it would be in the midfielder's best interests if he became a Blue.
"In my opinion, if possible Sneijder should leave Galatasaray and join Chelsea," said van Gaal in words guaranteed to upset the Turks. "Playing under Mourinho again would improve his performances and help him regain his form for the national team." The 29-year-old Sneijder worked with Mourinho in 2010 at Inter Milan when the Italian giants won the treble, including victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
Finally, Talksport claims that Barcelona believe they have reached a deal with Borussia Dortmund which will see them pip Manchester United to the hand of Mats Hummels. The central defender, one of the best in the business, has won two Bundesliga titles with Dortmund and a posse of clubs have been chasing him since last summer. United have been on Hummels's case for two years but Barcelona will reportedly seal the deal with a £30m bid in the New Year. ·