Leeds United have already shown ambition in the transfer window ahead of their return to the Premier League. The capture of Spain international Rodrigo from Valencia for a club-record was a statement of intent. The Whites have also completed the signing of SC Freiburg defender Robin Koch, who is also a Germany international.
But Leeds’ interest in Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder Julian Draxler is an audacious one, especially for a club who have not been in the Premier League for 16 years.
The Whites have made an approach to sign the 26-year-old German from the French champions in the ongoing transfer. Leeds are in the market to bring in a forward-thinking midfielder with Udinese’s Rodrigo De Paul also on their radar.
But signing Draxler would be a real coup and they are aware that it would instantly improve their squad and give them a better chance of surviving in the Premier League. Leeds United’s ambition shows that they want to more than just survive and are intent on thriving in the top tier.
Can Leeds United land Julian Draxler?
PSG have been trying to sell Julian Draxler over the last two years but the attacking midfielder has been hard to dislodge. He is in the final year of his contract at the Parc des Princes and the club are desperate to sell him in order to prevent him from leaving on a free transfer at the end of next season.
Draxler played just 22 times for PSG last season and only just returned to the Germany squad again after being out of the national team for a while. But he is not in any hurry to leave PSG and wants to join one of the big clubs in Europe.
A move to England appeals to him and he is still young enough to revive his career in the Premier League. But Draxler is believed to be interested in a move to one of the big six of the Premier League. He still wants to play in Europe and believes he is good enough to feature in one of the heavyweights of English football.
Julian Draxler has not reacted positively to the interest from Leeds and is currently unconvinced about moving to Elland Road. Despite the stature, Leeds enjoy in English football, the Yorkshire giants are only preparing for life in the Premier League for the first time in 16 years and will need to rebuild their reputation in order to attract players of Draxler’s talent.
But Leeds United have shown in this window that they have the pull to sign top players from outside England when they signed 29-year-old striker Rodrigo from Valencia. The Spaniard was wanted at Atletico Madrid last summer and Barcelona were in for him as recently as the January transfer window.
Marcelo Bielsa will need to provide the magic touch again
The Whites have been prepared to pay big fees to reconstruct their squad for the needs of the Premier League. They forked out a club-record fee to sign Rodrigo from Valencia, they could have to spend big again if they want to Udinese’s Rodrigo De Paul and are claimed to have offered €22m for 18-year-old Dinamo Zagreb defender Josko Gvardiol.
Leeds director of football Victor Orta led the negotiations with Valencia for Rodrigo and was in constant touch with the player to convince him to move to England. But when the decisive moment came, it was Marcelo Bielsa who spoke at length with the Spain international and sold the move to Elland Road in the ongoing window.
The Leeds manager has turned out to be an asset for the club in their attempts to attract top talent to Elland Road. His reputation as a coach has been good enough to force players into considering an approach from a side who have been missing from the Premier League for 16 years.
While they have been prepared to spend big sums, Bielsa’s name has given them access to a level of talent that might not have tried to sign with another manager at the helm.
For the moment, Julian Draxler remains unconvinced but if Leeds can manage to work out a deal with PSG, Marcelo Bielsa would have to pick up the phone and call the player. If the Leeds manager also wants the player at Elland Road, the club would back the Argentinian to sell the opportunity to be a star at Leeds to the 26-year-old.
Leeds are some way away from doing a deal and it will still require a lot of legwork. But if they reach within striking distance of signing him, Leeds will hope that Bielsa will provide the final touch that could see them land a player of Draxler’s quality before the end of the transfer window next month.