Arsenal chasing a more successful dribbler than Townsend and Hazard
Andros Townsend, Eden Hazard and Hatem Ben Arfa may have rightfully gained Premier League reputations for being keen and successful dribblers, but Arsenal will be blowing the rest of the division out of the water in this regard if signing Julian Draxler.
Only Franck Ribery can better Draxler this season across Europe’s top five leagues in terms of successful dribbles per game, with the 20-year-old Schalke attacker averaging over five in this department.
This is one attribute where Arsenal are arguably lacking within their abundance of attacking threats, with Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla preferring to pass and move between opposition defences and create chances in tight spaces.
Theo Walcott does run at defences, but he is arguably at his most dangerous without the ball, looking to burst in behind and fasten onto the through passes created by the likes of Ozil and Cazorla.
Draxler would not only bring this missing link, but a versatility that would be of specific use to an Arsenal squad that isn’t the strongest or deepest in the Premier League.
Arsenal’s odds are currently 4/1 to win the Premier League this season and 7/4 to secure a major trophy of any type.
The German could play in any of the four attacking roles, although he is arguably most at home in the number-10 role that he may struggle to wrestle from Ozil, but has spent more time since breaking through at Schalke in a left-forward role.
This was first when Lewis Holtby was still at the club and most recently to accommodate Kevin Prince-Boateng.
By being a keen dribbler, a player in the mould of Draxler may also help create more space for Ozil and co to create chances, as he could easily attract two defenders to shut down space, opening up more of the pitch for others.
Whereas Draxler averages five successful dribbles per game, Jack Wilshere leads this statistic of the regular Arsenal starters with an average below two.
The latest discovery that Draxler has a £40m buy-out clause from the end of the season may not be an unreasonable price to pay either, for a player of his age, that has already made 10 appearances for the full German team and that has played over 100 games for Schalke already.
Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt has done little to quash speculation of a summer move either, stating: “We still hope that Julian stays, but there are elements we can’t influence.”
The news that Schalke have already secured the services of another German international wide player Sidney Sam in the summer from Bayer Leverkusen could also be with the knowledge that the club need to have a replacement ready should Draxler depart.