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Jul 8, 2013

Draxler: My heart is with Schalke

Julian Draxler followed his heart when deciding to stay at Schalke despite interest from clubs abroad during the close-season, the midfielder revealed to kicker.

• Goretzka seals Schalke switch
• Clemens arrives from Cologne

Draxler, 19, was given an extended break after participating in the national team's tour of the United States in June and joined up with his team-mates for pre-season training on Monday.

The sought-after midfielder penned a new Schalke contract late last season, tying Draxler to the Royal Blues until 2018 and including a €45 million release clause.

Draxler confirmed he had several offers during the summer break but decided to stay at Schalke because he has everything he needs at the Bundesliga club.

"I mulled over everything, got through all scenarios. But in the end it was a thing of the heart and my gut instincts," he told kicker. "I won't go into details, but I can confirm clubs from Spain and England were interested.

"It wouldn't have been about the money but the sporting challenges," Draxler said. "Schalke 04 is among the biggest European clubs. I might have knocked back a lot of money. But I don't have to live from water and bread here," he continued.

During last season, Draxler became the youngest player in German history to clock up more than 100 competitive games at the highest level. He began the season on the wing, but after Lewis Holtby's departure to Tottenham in January he was partially moved into central midfield, sharing the central berth with Brazilian midfielder Raffael.

"The number 10 position is my favourite position," Draxler said. "But when Raffael played there last season I wasn't disappointed. What matters is I am on the pitch."

Draxler admitted that being offered the chance to play in central midfield was a major factor when considering his career options during the summer break, with his eyes firmly set on a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"It wouldn't have been ideal to make the switch one year before the World Cup. Even if I have enough confidence," Draxler added. "There would have been no guarantees that I'd get constant playing time at my new club.

"It is not like I will definitely stay here for only one more season. 2014 is still far away for me, I fully concentrate on the upcoming season. If I should get attractive offers after that, I will sit down and consider what's best for me then."

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