Reports today have suggested that Wolfsburg midfielder Julian Draxler could be on his way to the French capital for an enormous €75m fee – which would make him the most expensive German footballer of all time and the Bundesliga’s second most valuable export.
And while there’s no doubt that PSG can afford him, it’s perhaps not immediately clear how the German would fit into Unai Emery’s plans. Les Parisiens are relatively well stocked in terms of creativity – Angel Di Maria and Lucas Moura provide a threat from wide while Javier Pastore has been handed the vacant 10 jersey. Moreover, the calculated risk of Hatem Ben Arfa is waiting for his chance and former Real Madrid man Jesé Rodríguez will return from injury after the international break. So is there really room for Draxler?
The answer is yes. The German had an outstanding European Championships on the left hand side for Germany but can be utilized on either wing, as well as through the middle where he is arguably most proficient. A move for Draxler would probably require a tinker to the current formation – PSG played in a 4-3-3 in their defeat to Monaco last night but should one of the three midfielders drop out, it would create room for Draxler to slot into the number ten role with two sitting deeper behind him. Indeed, the solidity of a Thiago Motta and Marco Verratti partnership at the heart of midfield would lay an outstanding base upon which Di Maria, Draxler and Lucas could thrive going forward.
Another option could be to put Draxler out wide on the left and have Di Maria operate through the middle, where he was so successful for Argentina and Real Madrid in 2014. Whoever would take the wide role, however, is almost secondary – the real boon of signing Draxler would be the guaranteed end product he’d provide.
Draxler missed the tail end of Wolfsburg’s 2015/16 season, sitting out the final four games, but still managed to record nine goals and seven assists in all competitions from 33 games. This kind of contribution could be vitally important if PSG are to breathe new life into Edinson Cavani, who has the unenviable task of replacing the iconic Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front on a full-time basis. If Draxler does arrive, it would help the Uruguayan no end – whether that be taking the burden off the beleaguered striker, providing him with more opportunities to find the net or even both.
PSG aren’t in a bad place right now, having dispatched both Bastia and Metz in their first two Ligue 1 fixtures. But that Monaco result will hurt, especially with the international break to mull over their sins. However, a super signing like Draxler could be just the tonic if they wish to press hard for more than just the division title this season.