At 20 years old, Julian Draxler has the footballing world at his feet. Immensely talented, coveted by some of Europe’s top clubs and set to play a role for Germany at the World Cup in the summer, the attacking midfielder looks set for superstardom.
However, despite the gifted youngster’s ability, his next 24 months will be critical in determining just how successful his career will be. In that time he is likely to have the option to leave Schalke for fortune and fame elsewhere, but Draxler must pick the right move – if he decides to leave Gelsenkirchen at all.
What does the short-to-medium term future hold for Draxler?
Staying with Schalke
Leaving his boyhood club is surely something that the gifted German will not take lightly and there is certainly an argument to suggest that Draxler should stay where he is for the considerable future.
Having come through the youth ranks at the Veltins-Arena, his star quality has been unearthed with Schalke and he can have a significant role in helping the club grow.
Jens Keller’s men look almost assured a place in next season’s Champions League, sitting in third place currently and only a point behind second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
With experienced campaigners like Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Benedikt Höwedes backed up by mercurial young stars such as Max Meyer and Draxler himself, Schalke have an enviable mix in their squad.
The club looks set to be proactive in the transfer market this summer and have already signed Germany international Sidney Sam from Bayer Leverkusen.
All-in-all, things are looking very bright for Schalke and staying with his current side could well be a perfect way for Draxler to grow. With his national team chances not depending on a move either, the reasons for him to stay put start to stack up.
Move within Germany
Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has recently stated that the club are realistic when it comes to Draxler, with the draw of a move elsewhere and the financial might of other sides having the ability to push the Gelsenkirchen side into a corner.
For Draxler a move elsewhere in his homeland points in only one direction – Bayern Munich.
The current European and Bundesliga champions have managed to tempt young German talent away from rivals in the recent past, like Mario Götze, and surely will be keeping a very close eye on Draxler.
Should Draxler follow in the footsteps of former team-mate Manuel Neuer and opt for the Allianz Arena, he would have the chance to fight for domestic and European honours.
Playing alongside world-class stars would only improve him as a player, while the financial benefits would come as an added bonus.
With the likes of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben not getting any younger, the Bavarian powerhouses will be looking for able and versatile widemen like Draxler to take the pair’s places in forthcoming years.
To commandeer a regular starting place in the Bayern Munich starting XI however takes some doing, and a move to Pep Guardiola’s charges would surely test just how good Draxler really is. He may have to bide his time to get regular game time – which could be the making or breaking of him.
To move to one of England’s top sides would see a lot of pressure put on the youngster’s shoulders, just as countryman Mesut Özil is finding out in North London.
However, with his ability not in doubt, Draxler certainly has what it takes to be a real star in the Premier League.
It will more than likely only be a matter of time before Schalke are bullied into parting company with their prize asset and the allure of one of Europe’s biggest teams becomes too much for Draxler.
However, in the short term the youngster would be wise to continue his education in Gelsenkirchen as part of an ambitious and exciting Schalke team.
Draxler will have the chance to star for his country and play in the Champions League without having to move clubs, and as such any such transfer – whether within or out of Germany – would be wise to be put on the backburner for the time being.