Could PSG's Julian Draxler return to Germany with Borussia Dortmund?
Julian Draxler has maintained he's not interested in leaving Paris Saint-Germain -- and the club have insisted the same -- but apparently that hasn't stopped Borussia Dortmund from trying to lure him away.
Le Parisien reported that Dortmund are trying to bring the 23-year-old winger back to Germany less than eight months after he moved to the Ligue 1 outfit.
Draxler, a Germany international, came through Schalke's youth system and played for the first-team for five seasons before moving to Wolfsburg in August 2015.
With PSG acquiring Neymar for a world-record €222 million transfer fee, and finalising an agreement to secure Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe on an initial loan move before a €180m transfer next summer, Draxler could now be considered surplus to requirements -- especially as the club need to shed some big earners in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
Dortmund, meanwhile, have sold Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona in a €105m deal, bringing in Ukraine midfielder Andriy Yarmolenko from Dynamo Kiev as a replacement.
But Draxler, who has scored four goals in 19 Ligue 1 appearances in addition to five goals across both domestic cups and another in the Champions League, could be a part of their plans. So how likely is the move?
Back in 2013, Schalke paraded trucks with an image of Draxler on display through the Ruhr-Area and all the way to the Westfalenstadion, the home of fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund. Next to the Germany international were written the words "With pride and passion until 2018."
But the winger never stayed at Schalke until 2018, moving on to Wolfsburg as a replacement for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015 and from there to Paris earlier this year. With Dembele out of the door at Dortmund, Draxler is one of the players who has been frequently linked with a last-minute move to the Westfalenstadion.
While BVB could use Draxler's experience for now, he would only be a placeholder on the left wing for Marco Reus, with the Dortmund-born player returning from injury in 2018. They have already signed Freiburg's Maximilian Philipp for that job, have Andre Schurrle, and now Yarmolenko too.
While Draxler has shown he can perform at a high level, Dortmund would rather want to sign a backup for United States youngster Christian Pulisic on the right wing and avoid the trouble of bringing him a player who learned his trade over at Schalke's Veltins Arena. -- Stephan Uersfeld.
At no point this summer have PSG expressed an interest in parting ways with Draxler. He is happy in Paris, coach Unai Emery is a fan and the club view him as one of very few successes from the time Olivier Letang and Patrick Kluivert spent overseeing transfers.
Draxler has not featured much this season, but he is still regaining his match fitness after representing Germany at the Confederations Cup. Emery and sporting director Antero Henrique's vision for the PSG attack is for there to be much more depth than there was last season, which is why Draxler and Angel Di Maria are still part of the plan.
PSG's big signings inevitably raised questions about Draxler's future, but it was Lucas Moura and Goncalo Guedes who were told their opportunities would be limited.
Late last week, some reports surfaced that PSG were looking to cash in on Draxler -- not because they no longer want him, but because in order to sign the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Fabinho and Pepe Reina, they need to raise significant capital and fast. Finding a new club for Draxler has been seen as the easiest option and potentially the most lucrative.
Still, a move at this stage looks unlikely, but Draxler may well want assurances from PSG's leaders.
A return to Germany would only make sense if Draxler feels his World Cup chances are threatened by competition but it seems unlikely he would readily join Schalke's bitter rivals, Borussia Dortmund. -- Jonathan Johnson.
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