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Tottenham Hotspur turn to Paris to fill need in attacking band

You want attacking depth? Here’s an option, but it comes with baggage.

Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur’s wheeling and dealing in the transfer market seems to know no boundaries. We all expect Spurs to be linked with half of Europe every summer, but this year the links aren’t just full of bat country, though they’re out there. While we all focus on the big links with Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele, another rumor has popped up that looks more than credible.

Julian Draxler, the versatile attacker for French side Paris Saint-Germain, looks to be headed for the exit and looking for a new home, according to L’Equipe (via Sport Witness). If you’re wondering why you can’t find the link online and we’re not sourcing it, it’s because this is from L’Equipe’s print edition, which Sport Witness has obtained and broken down.

L’Equipe explains the club needs to make €30m from sales before the end of June, this is to balance their accounts and make sure there’s no FFP issues. They’ll have to raise more after that to help with sales, but minds are now concentrated on the first task.

Selling Julian Draxler, for ‘at least €40m’ would ease the issues, and Tottenham are said to have ‘taken the temperature’. That sounds like Spurs have asked for information on a potential move, perhaps from the player’s entourage.

Paris Saint-Germain being in Financial Fair Play trouble isn’t a shock, given the cash they’ve spent on players such as Kylian Mbappe and Neymar (that deal was shady or anything...) in the past couple of years. In regard to Draxler, the most recent radar we can find on him is from the 17/18 season, and it looked pretty good:

Draxler is 25 years old and looks to be done with Paris. Their entire club looks to be in turmoil as Mbappe reportedly handed in a transfer request yesterday and Neymar has also lamented about his move to the French giants. Spurs are also no stranger to dealing with PSG, having purchased UCL hat-trick hero Lucas Moura and fullback Serge Aurier in the past, so one has to believe there is a good relationship between the two clubs.

Draxler is entering the prime of his career and still looks like a quality player. Five goals and 12 assists in 2,977 minutes last season isn’t mind blowing, but when you consider his job last season was to feed the ball to Neymar or Mbappe and look at his passing progression, he made the best of his role.

The concern is two-fold: Is it worth spending 30-40m on Draxler, who is more or less a finished product at this point in hopes he can provide the quality depth needed? The second issue is does he fit in with the squad and Pochettino’s system? The first question is easier to answer, and I think it’s yes. Watching him at PSG, there’s a fantastic player on his best day and picturing him running with the likes of Kane, Son, Dele, Lucas and Lamela is fun.

The second question is harder to answer. Draxler was criticized in his final year at Wolfsburg because he spent a lot of time talking about how badly he wanted to leave instead of handling the situation professionally and, more importantly, internally. In December 2016, a scathing article was written about him in DW, talking about how he had alienated his teammates:

Perhaps those fans were so unhappy because Draxler has spent more time moaning about how much he wants to leave Wolfsburg than he has helping improve the situation. The fact is, not only is Draxler not playing well at the moment but his performances make his discontent apparent. In August, Draxler went public about his desire to leave Wolfsburg after the club’s sporting director Klaus Allofs said he was going nowhere and here we are, nearly four months later, with Draxler working directly against the club once again.”

The article ended with one heck of a mic drop: “They’ll be lucky to be rid of him at this rate.”

To be fair to Draxler, he was 22-years-old at the time and still maturing. He was being asked to do a lot at Wolfsburg while the roster had a ton of turnover. The German side had sold Max Kruse, Bas Dost, Andre Schurrle and Dante while bringing in Jeffrey Bruma, Yannick Gerhardt and Riechedly Bazoer. Draxler was supposed to be one of the crown jewels in attack given what the club had given up but, ultimately, he forced a €40m move that January to PSG. Of course, there was hint of an incident between him and Neymar just five weeks ago where the two almost came to blows over tactics in the dressing room after a match. That one can probably be chalked up to just dealing with Neymar, though.

I have to bring these things up because they’re important to paint the full picture of what Spurs could possibly be purchasing. Outside of the incident with Neymar, Draxler’s time at PSG has more or less been fine. He’s a quality player and the hope is that he’s matured since his time at Wolfsburg. €40m may be the asking price for PSG, but Daniel Levy will know how to hit the weak spot and could bail out PSG if they truly are in FFP trouble.

We’ll follow this one closely as the story progresses, but sound off in the comments on this one: Do you want him or would you rather look elsewhere?