August 20, 2017
Paris Saint-Germain broke multiple banks to sign Neymar from Barcelona, and with rumours suggesting that Kylian Mbappe will join him at the Parc des Princes, Unai Emery will undoubtedly need to sell a couple of players to balance the books. One of such players is reportedly Julian Draxler, who has been linked with a host of English clubs.
Draxler, an electric young German footballer with the world at his feet, can play across attacking midfield but mainly plies his trade from the left-wing. This has led many to believe that there is credence in the notion that he could be heading to Manchester United instead of the heavily touted Ivan Perisic, when, for a variety of reasons, this is most likely not the case.
Asked about potentially replacing Anthony Martial at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho stated that he has no such plans, instead declaring that the wide player he wanted would be a candidate to play as a wingback when he wants to use three at the back formations.
“Probably the player that I was looking for is a player that allows me to play with three at the back and play wing backs.
“Because – as a pure attacking player – Anthony is a good player. He is one of the players I believe is going to have a better season this season than the previous season.”
Draxler’s quality in front of goal and prowess around the box are his best attributes. Excellent in almost all aspects of attacking and possession football, he has never developed a reputation for owning the wing in the same fashion as Perisic, or Antonio Valencia. Instead, the German creates chances and goals by moving towards the centre of the pitch and looking to use his gifted right foot.
Germany used a 3-4-3 formation frequently during Euro 2016, and Draxler only featured in the front three; in fact, WhoScored highlights “defensive contribution” as one of his weaknesses, as he averaged fewer defensive actions in two matches than Perisic in one match last season. The Croatian isn’t a wingback by trade, either, and his numbers would be expected to improve in a more defensive role.
It is easy to conclude that Draxler wouldn’t be an effective wingback, and Mourinho’s comments shed light upon why Perisic is such a specific target, and why United wouldn’t pay the asking price for a player in a specific role for a system that isn’t used in most matches.
Paris Saint-Germain signed the 23-year-old in January and given that he is one of the brightest talents in football, replacing him after a promising six months would reek of desperation. The only situation that would explain a potential move to United would be an irresistibly low asking price, which, considering the previous fact, is highly unlikely.
Thus, do not expect Julian Draxler to sign for Manchester United, regardless of the rumours and the added credence of Paris Saint-Germain’s need to sell players. Jose Mourinho’s squad is well-stocked in all positions, and if another player is to sign, it is more likely to be a player to strengthen the side’s versatility.