The Mirror's John Cross and The Telegraph's Matt Law both published stories several hours ago asserting that Julian Draxler is eager for a transfer to Arsenal, and doesn't want to wait until summer to make the move to North London.
Arsenal went for talks in Germany this week and Draxler plus his representatives have made it clear they are keen on a move to London.
But the price is still likely to be a sticking point as Schalke are ready to cash in now but not for less than £35m, while Draxler has a £40m buy-out clause which is valid in the summer.
Law's story is similar to Cross', but specifically names a £36 million bid to move the German international to the Emirates. He notes:
Sources in Germany on Friday night claimed Arsenal have agreed a fee with Schalke that would make Draxler the second most expensive player in Arsenal’s history and that negotiations with the player have already started.
Schalke could stipulate that they want to keep Draxler until the end of the season, but the 20-year-old is believed to be keen to move before the transfer window shuts.
The reports follow Norweigan journalist and knower-of-many-things-German Jan Aage Fjortoft, who tweeted this while Arsenal was in the process of dismantling Coventry City in their FA Cup match:
Re: Draxler I understand that Schalke and Arsenal have agreed a fee. If he will leave now I don't know. But this is latest info #afc— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) January 24, 2014
Cross had his own series of tweets, post-Arsene Wenger press conference, that acknowledged how awesomely coy Wenger is being:
#afc Wenger insisted no deal agreed for Draxler yet. He's very good at transfer poker. Saw my questions/attempts coming a mile off!— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 24, 2014
Having insisted there was nothing going on at all, Wenger finished with: "we don't rule it out." #draxler— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 24, 2014
My impression is they'd like to get it done, they're hoping to get it done and don't wanna blow it by saying the wrong thing #draxler— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 24, 2014
Your pants have been warned.