Arsene Wenger is keen to bolster his attack after injury to Theo Walcott and believes the German, who has a reported £40m release clause, could be developed into a centre-forwardEXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Arsenal are weighing up a January move for Julian Draxler as they assess new options to reinforce their attack this month, Goal understands.
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As it stands, Schalke are determined to resist any move for Julian Draxler this month, a stance aided by the fact that the player himself is content at the club for now. However, Arsenal's interest in the 20-year-old is strong and it's clear they won't take 'no' as an answer lightly.
Even if Schalke can resist the Londoners' approaches this month, though, come the summer there are new cards in that transfer poker game and Draxler will have the best hand. He can decide what he wants to do, as the buy-out clause in his contract comes into effect.
It would be a surprise if he moved before the World Cup in Brazil, but with Arsenal's spending power, attraction, and the presence of Draxler's compatriots Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, it looks like Draxler could be a big piece in Wenger's puzzle soon - whether it is now or the summer remains to be seen.
Diego Costa, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Fernando Llorente feature prominently on Arsenal's target list, while Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata is considered a back-up option on loan.
Draxler is a long-term target of the Gunners, who believe the 20-year-old German can be developed from a wide player into a centre-forward.
Wenger had already begun exploring the possibility of capturing Draxler this summer but is now considering an approach to Schalke this month.
The Bundesliga club are unlikely to be interested in selling their prize asset in mid-season, especially given the reported £40 million release clause inserted in the five-year contract Draxler signed last summer.
Arsenal's already thin forward options have been decimated further over the last week by the cruciate ligament injury that will sideline Walcott for the rest of the season and Nicklas Bendtner's damaged ankle ligaments, which Wenger expects to keep him out for three more weeks.
Goal understands that Bendtner is making good progress and could return earlier than expected, which is why Wenger sanctioned rookie striker Chuba Akpom's month-long loan to Brentford on Thursday.
Akpom's loan will be extended until the end of the season if Arsenal suffer no more forward injuries. Meanwhile, the return to training on Monday of Yaya Sanogo, the France Under-21 international who has yet to make his full debut for the Gunners, has strengthened the squad and Wenger's options.
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Wenger had been reluctant to utilise Bendtner before his injury and has shown little faith in Walcott or Lukas Podolski moving inside from the flanks and spearheading the attack.
The Arsenal boss has admitted that he will have to delve into the January transfer market to bolster his centre-forward options, saying Walcott's injury has "accelerated" his plans for the winter window.
Goal revealed in December that Arsenal had dispatched scouts to monitor in-form Atletico Madrid striker Costa, who figures prominently on a five-man January striker shortlist compiled by the club, which also includes Paris Saint-Germain's Lavezzi, Juventus' Llorente and AC Milan's Stephan El Shaarawy, who has subsequently broken down with injury.
Wenger has also laid the foundations for a loan deal for Spain Under-21 international Morata if he cannot secure a marquee forward in the notoriously difficult winter window.