German midfielder Julian Draxler is one of the youngest players in the World Cup and one of the biggest up-and-coming stars in Europe.
The 20-year-old has played a key role in Germany’s run to the World Cup final and is one of the most talked-about players this summer on the transfer mark et.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Was the Fourth Youngest Player Ever to Play in Germany’s Top Pro League
2. He Scored His First International Goal in a Friendly Against the United States
Draxler scored his first (and so far only) international goal in a friendly against the United States at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. in 2013.
Draxler’s goal came in the 81st minute and brought Germany to within 4-3 in what ended as a 4-3 U.S. win as the Red White and Blue was preparing for a World Cup qualifier in Jamaica.
3. Arsenal & Tottenham Have Both Sought Him
Though Draxler has said he wants to play professionally for at least one more year in Germany, he’s been reported to be a target of two teams in the English Premiere League: Arsenal and Tottenham.
Arsenal initially expressed interest, the Independent and other media outlets reported in January that a deal appeared imminent.
Draxler said in May that he had no interest in leaving Schalke but that was before reports emerged that Tottenham was preparing a $29 million transfer offer.
The Daily Star reported that Draxler recently signed a five-year extension to stay in Germany. The extension has complicated English’ clubs’ efforts to lure him, but that hasn’t stopped Totenham from pursuing him.
Draxler’s plans to stay in Gelsenkirchen will make Spurs’ pursuit of the midfielder very difficult, and they may be forced to pay a-lot more than £17m as the German international recently signed a new five-year-deal at the Veltins Arena.
In addition to the interest form Arsenal and Tottenham, Sportsmole reported last summer that English power Manchester City and Spanish giant Real Madrid were pursuing him, causing him sleepless nights while pondering his future:
4. He’s Known His Girlfriend, Lena, Since the 2 Were in 5th Grade
According to the German newspaper Bild, Draxler has known his girlfriend, Lena, since the two were going to school together in fifth grade.
The paper notes that while Real Madrid and others were pursuing Draxler in the summer of 2013, he was on vacation in Egypt with Lena.
Lena, who Fabwags.com reports has been dating Draxler for about three years, has been in the stands in Brazil throughout Germany’s run to the final.
5. The Guardian Named Him One of Europe’s ‘Next 10 Big Things’
One of the many glowing assessments of Draxler’s talent came from The Guardian, which in January named him one of the “next 10 big things” in European soccer.
The paper wrote:
Draxler became the Bundesliga’s fourth youngest debutant in 2011, and has since built a towering reputation at club and international level, drawing scouts from across Europe, and sending his valuation soaring towards £40m.