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What Julian Draxler brings to France

Wednesday 4th January 2017
Germany international, Julian Draxler, has officially joined French champions, Paris Saint-Germain from Wolfsburg. The 23-year-old penned down a four-and-a-half contract in the region of €42million.

Draxler told the club's official website.

It is with great joy and anticipation that I join Paris St Germain. For the first time in my career, I'm going to discover a new country, a new league, and I'm very proud to take this new step at a club which has become a benchmark in Europe and has signed a lot of great players in recent years. I will do everything to help PSG win new trophies and continue to grow internationally.

Draxler's transit to France ends a torrid six months which saw the 2014 World Cup winner fall out of favour at Wolfsburg with the midfielder occasionally booed by his own fans. This and other reasons confined the former Schalke prospect to just 12 appearances in the Bundesliga this term without a single goal. It further puts an end to reports linking the player to a host of Europe's elite clubs including Arsenal and Juventus.

Paris, as we all know, is already well stocked for attacking midfielders and wingers, with Ángel Di María, Hatem Ben Arfa, Lucas, Javier Pastore and even summer signing Jesé operating in those positions. However, the club's hierarchy still deemed it fit to inject a fresh dimension to the team's attack considering Unai Emery's lads have thus far struggled this season. PSG, who have swept the Ligue 1 title in the last four seasons, presently trail Nice and Monaco on the log, with an epic clash against Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 still to come.

So what does Draxler bring to Paris?

Draxler is technically adept to playing anywhere in attack which will definitely be a bonus for Emery as he prepares to launch an assault on the league in the second stanza. The 23-year-old's versatility could see him get the nod ahead of Lucas who is more of an orthodox winger. In addition, Draxler's creativity, ability to use both feet, speed, and powerful shot will definitely be a bonus for PSG. Although the German isn't prolific at goalscoring, he could sometimes shoulder the burden of his teammates, like Edinson Cavani and Di María.

No wonder Emery opined that the 23-year-old will "allow us to play more directly, and he'll create assists. With him, we'll be able to play closer to the opposition goal".

But how does Draxler compare to his PSG counterparts?

It will almost be a straight battle between Draxler and Lucas for who joins Di María and Cavani in a three-man attack. In terms of goals, the Brazilian (5) has a superior return than the German who has thus far fired blanks. In his 12 appearances this season, Draxler (21) has created exactly the same chances for his teammates as Lucas who played six games more. What this means is that the ex BV Rentfort prodigy creates a goalscoring opportunity in every 41.9 minutes. Also, the pair is equally matched when it comes to pass accuracy averaging 83 percent per game. However, despite not scoring this season, Draxler seems to have an edge in terms of shot accuracy. The 23-year-old has an average of 67 percent of his shots on target  - 10 more than the Brazilian.

Draxler has also completed a similar amount of take-on as his positional rival at PSG, with 1.9 successful dribbles per game. The Gladbeck-born star is unafraid of carrying out his defensive duties, having made six tackles and won 45.8 percent of his duels this term. Also, at 6ft 2in tall, Draxler also has more physical presence than Lucas who is a little above 5ft 6in.

Considering the stats, will you throw Draxler straight into your team or stick with Lucas if you were Emery?
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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