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Julian Draxler: beneficiary and victim of PSG's robust spending

Friday 8th September 2017
In January, Julian Draxler made a grand switch to Paris Saint-Germain with instant impact. Now, €400 million later, he's an economic casualty.

High-spending clubs never seem to tire of splashing the cash. In the quest to compete on all fronts, they will go all out for any player. Stratospheric fees and Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations are inconveniences at most. New records are created and eclipsed almost annually. New arrivals can only mean one thing. Last year's flavour of the month will pay the ultimate price.

PSG has never shied away from throwing cash around since being acquired by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) in 2011. The club has become a major player on the transfer scene, pushing the envelope from day one. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Thiagos Silva and Motta, Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi, David Beckham, Yohan Cabaye, Angel Di Maria, David Luiz, Edinson Cavani, and Draxler form a galaxy of stars attracted by the astronomical pay on offer at the Parc des Princes.
Sorry, Lucas Moura, you're a star, too.

Yet none among those transactions match the club's ruthless business in the last window. First, Les Parisiennes shattered the world transfer record by activating Neymar's €200 million buy-out clause from Barcelona. As if that wasn't enough, the six-time Ligue 1 champions agreed on a season-long loan with Monaco for Kylian Mbappe. The 18-year-old's deal contains an obligation to buy the young forward for €180 million in 2018. Put in perspective, PSG has now spent over €1 billion on transfer fees in the six years since QSI took over.

Much to Barcelona and La Liga president Javier Tebas' delight, UEFA has opened an FFP investigation into the latest deals. A more immediate consequence, though, is limited game time for other world-class players. Last season, that was Blaise Matiudi. The Frenchman moved to Juventus this summer. Now, Draxler has drawn the short straw.
Despite joining them in the winter, Draxler quickly became a PSG star. After 18 quiet months at Wolfsburg--a measly five goals in 30+ games--the 23-year-old stormed France reborn. He struck twice in both his Ligue 1 and Coup de France debuts before hitting eight others in 23 appearances. Fleet of foot and intense, the German dazzled his way into Parisian hearts.

Indeed, the German international merits a place on Unai Emery's team sheet judging by his first season exploits. That hasn't been the case. The Gladbeck native has yet to start a single game. Worse, he has only made two cameo substitute appearances for less than 15 minutes combined.

The ex-Sevilla manager has (unsurprisingly) given preference to his newest acquisition, Neymar, pairing the Brazilian superstar alongside Cavani and Di Maria. Even with little or no help from the former Schalke man, PSG has begun the campaign on fire. They've won all four games while scoring 14 times.
Matters can only grow more critical for the 23-year-old following Mbappe's arrival. The young Frenchman is almost certain to head straight into the first team, leaving Draxler further down the pecking order.

Arsenal failed in their attempt to lure the player to the Emirates. Sometimes the deal you turn down is the best one you could have made.  It will likely be an inactive three months in Paris for Draxler. One of die Mannschaft's most valuable assets has become a discarded toy, a victim of PSG's robust spending and reactionary thinking.
Toby Prince

If the sport has 11-men on each side, a ball and lasts for 90 minutes then I'll write about it. Simply put, I'm an unrepentant soccer freak that other freaks will, however, call a geek. I do find time for music when not watching the beautiful game, though and have been known to produce the odd track. 


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