Arsene Wenger has conceded that Arsenal did indeed try to sign FC Schalke 04 attacking midfielder Julian Draxler in the January transfer window.
The Gunners boss was asked by journalists what went wrong in his pursuit of the Germany international, and for the first time did not deny that the north London outfit had indeed bid for the player.
“I cannot tell you that, you know,” said a smiling Wenger, who was reportedly priced out of a deal with the Bundesliga side valuing their player at over £30 million.
Draxler himself told Sky Sports Germany that Schalke had rejected the bids, but that he didn’t know what clubs they were from.
“It is true that there were offers on the table for me during this winter window,” said Draxler.
“Obviously I’m not going to say who from, but there were offers. It shows how much I’m appreciated at this club if [sporting director] Horst Heldt rejects offers without me being asked. Of course I’m happy about that.”
Upon being queried if one of those bids had come from Arsenal, Draxler responded: “I don’t know.
“I wasn’t too aware of everything that was going on in the media – I was just focusing on my fitness.
Heldt said that FC Schalke 04 had indeed rejected a bid for their 20 year-old star, who has developed into a brilliant star since he graduated into the first team almost exactly three years ago.
“I can confirm that there was a request,” said Heldt.
“It had the dimension of a transfer that you don’t do any day of the week. It was a decent deal, but insufficient for us to accept.”
Heldt then rather cryptically added, “It came from a club to the north of us.”
Maybe he meant west. London is at almost the exact same latitude as Gelsenkirchen.
Still just 20 years of age, Draxler has over 100 appearances in the Bundesliga appearances, and has won ten caps for Germany.
He has already scored eight times and supplied five assists for Schalke this season, and looks set to better his total of 13 goals and seven assists from last term.