Schalke’s general manager Horst Heldt has dismissed paper talk linking Julian Draxler with a move to Arsenal as ‘wild speculation’ claiming the midfielder won’t leave the Veltins-Arena this month or in the summer.
The 20-year-old is rumoured to have had a tour of London Colney in recent weeks, shrugged off by Arsene Wenger as unfounded as UFOs, with the Gunners weighing up a bid that would match the German international’s €45 million buyout clause.
Speaking to German newspaper WAZ (no we’ve not made that up) Heldt remained bullish about Schalke’s desire to keep their star man.
“I am not aware that Julian would like to leave us, neither in the winter nor in summer.
“There is no question of a bid regarding Julian. At the end of it, it’s wild speculation, which takes place over there in England.
“The clubs would have to report to us if they were interested.”
Elsewhere, new analysis by the CIES Football Observatory, published today by Sportingintelligence, reveals Arsenal usurped Manchester United as England’s producer of the most players playing in Europe’s ‘Big 5′ divisions for 2012/13.
Last season the review showed the Red Devils had produced 24 such players to the Gunners 20, but this time Arsenal are in the lead with 27 in comparison to United’s 25. Aston Villa are in third place with 15 players with the likes of Chelsea, Sp*rs, Everton and Liverpool not even in double figures.
The Gunners occupy fifth place in the overall European table which is, unsurprisingly, topped by Barcelona.
According to Sportingintelligence: “For these purposes ‘produced’ means a player spent three or more seasons within the development programme of the club in question specifically between the ages of 15 and 21, which are considered a footballer’s most important ‘formative’ years.”
Full table and comparisons here.
Having become Arsenal’s Head of Youth Development back in 1996 it would appear that Liam Brady has done a pretty tidy job overseeing the Academy during the Wenger era.
While only a select few players have gone on to have a long-standing career at Highbury and the Emirates it’s amazing how often you hear familiar names pop up on Soccer Saturday as scorers and alike elsewhere around the country.