March 23, 2017

Julian Draxler’s unhappy marriage with the Wolves continues

Calmer surroundings and Champions League football – those were the two motivating factors behind Julian Draxler’s move from Schalke to VfL Wolfsburg last summer. The player himself had over the last few years been expected to be the saviour of the Royal Blues and whenever Schalke was getting into a new crisis he needed to step up both on and off the pitch.

A lot was expected from the kid who made his Bundesliga debut when he was 17-years and 111 days old and who scored his first goal in a DFB Pokal match against Nürnberg 10 days afterwards. The youngster was a promise to the future, somebody who could lead the Royal Blues to success. Whenever a crisis occurred at the club most of the media were interested in his take and perspective, and the assumption among the media and fans was that he would step up to get his team out of the mess.

The 34 million Euro move to Wolfsburg seemed to be an escape from all of the distractions and drama of Schalke 04. However, as it turns out the success of Wolfsburg at the top end of the table was short-lived. Most of Klaus Allofs’s signings at VfL didn’t perform to the level the club would have hoped, and suddenly Wolfsburg found themselves in mid-table misery. Draxler himself had a mediocre season in his first Wolves’ season, scoring five goals and six assists during his 21 matches for the VW team.

Those who had followed Draxler ever since he broke through knows what his capabilities. At best Draxler can unlock defences with his pace and dribbling skills, and if he’s used in a free position he’s often times impossible to defend against. However, very little of that was seen during his first season at Wolfsburg.

Draxler:”I want out!”

Last season’s Wolfsburg side was lacking in many departments. The biggest question during the campaign was why the Wolves could perform very well during their Champions League matches, but whenever they were playing in domestic competitions the team lacked enthusiasm and fighting spirit. After the season was over it quickly became apparent that both Naldo and World Cup winner Andre Schürrle would leave the club. Later on striker Max Kruse was also transferred to Werder Bremen.

Given the changes within the squad and the lack of Champions League football it isn’t surprising to see that Julian Draxler wants to leave the club as well. Allofs tried to kill the story straight away, telling several news outlets that Draxler would stay at Wolfsburg this season

Upon being confronted with the club’s position the midfielder found very harsh words about his current club when he spoke to Germany’s biggest tabloid paper Bild:

“Before taking a public stance one could have talked to me. From my end I was clear with coach Dieter Hecking after the EUROs telling him that I wanted to leave VfL Wolfsburg. The coach has known this for more than three weeks. I’m very surprised by the fact that my prospects are discussed in the media. I had different expectations. Somebody could have, for instance, gotten in touch with me to ask me what I wanted.”

Draxler went on to say that both Hecking and Allofs promised him that the club would be reasonable if he should receive a good over from a big club. The 22-year-old told Bild that there was an agreement among the three parties that Wolfsburg should be a stepping stone for the talented midfielder.

Allofs:”Julian has chosen the wrong way”

After the interview there was widespread speculation within the media about what was going to happen with Draxler. Some outlets went as far as asking if Wolfsburg was going to force the young midfielder to sit out his multi million Euros deal, forcing the player to watch the action from the stands until 2020. Wolfsburg themselves stated that “no promises were made regarding a transfer during the summer transfer window and the club is not going to grant Julian Draxler’s wishes”.

As it turns out, Draxler has a 75 million Euro release clause in his contract that could be activated next year. Furthermore, Wolfsburg are currently desperate to get as much quality as they possibly could onto the pitch. Leaving Draxler out of the line up would certainly not be a wise move in that regard.

Currently there are several transfer rumours linking Draxler to the likes of Juventus, Everton and Arsenal. None of those clubs are going to be successful in their endeavour to secure his signature if Allofs’s hard-line stance is to be believed.

Allofs himself denied reports of the club wanting to fine the player 100,000 Euros for his comments, but the sporting director stated that Draxler had chosen the “wrong way” when it came to his criticism of the club.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 30-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.