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FEATURE | The French View: Why Julian Draxler can kickstart PSG’s season

As of late, the French champions have come under fire for poor play, lack of on-field cohesion, and motivation. However, regardless of the saying, in football, money can buy you happiness. PSG will sign Wolfsburg’s star Julian Draxler when the January transfer window opens in the coming days, for a reported fee rising to over €40m.

Some may look at this as overspending or a lack of obvious direction in term recruitment strategy on the part of PSG. However, I would say this is exactly what Les Parisiens need to set the ship back on course. Draxler, like Ben Arfa, can play in attacking midfield or on the left or right wing, excellent with both feet. Having had an overwhelmingly disappointing summer window, PSG had resorted to moving the central midfielder Matuidi to the wing and out of the midfield troika, causing them to suffer in midfield and attack as the side’s balance was thrown off. Draxler can add a real threat from 1 on 1 situations and depth to this squad. His ability to play multiple positions at a high level will allow players to fall back into their natural role.

Draxler is a match-up nightmare in size and in speed. He truly brings a dynamic to the club that might just be the missing ingredient to transform this sub-par season. Regardless of if Emery is able to make a change back to his 4-2-3-1 formation or if he stays with the 4-3-3, Draxler can fill in anywhere. The trio of Lucas, Draxler, and Cavani is a mixture of unmatched speed and service in passing. The flexibility he provides with the already impressive PSG squad is a manager’s dream. Emery was brought in to be a general, making changes according to the opposition the club is facing and adapting to matches when things are not going as planned. Draxler could be the piece that allows Emery to have the flexibility to be the creative, fiery, leader people thought he was before he arrived from Spain.

The apparent lack of on-pitch chemistry has been a real problem for PSG by all accounts. Fights on pitch during matches, players showing discontent when being brought off of the pitch and just lack of unity and collective desire. While Draxler is not going to solve all of those problems at once, fresh blood, especially when obviously talented, sometimes finds a way of re-energising everybody else’s batteries.

Draxler is a young player who is still looking to prove himself. The World Cup winner needed a fresh start just as much as PSG are hoping to gain from this signing. He created widespread public discontent against himself at Wolfsburg when he went public with his efforts to force a move away and the bright lights of Paris could really be the environment necessary for Draxler to turns his obvious potential into undoubted talent. When a player like Di Maria finds himself in the starting XI match after match with sub-par showings, it breeds lackadaisical team performances. With Draxler in the squad, there is no longer room for a player to offer careless performances and expect to just start in the next game. At worst, Draxler is giving Emery an insurance policy. At best, he is giving him a game changer.

I believe time will show this was great move for Draxler and PSG and one that assists in pushing the current champions back to the top of the table. Jesé was not able to threaten a starting XI place, and, although he has received minimal opportunities to show his worth, must be seen as a failure at this juncture. Some may see the signing of Draxler to be a little more of a gamble than I do, but I am a firm believer in paying a player for their future ability and not past accomplishments or shortcomings. A player with the youth and talent of Draxler is a gamble I would double down on every time.

A.S.

 

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