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Are Arsenal out of the Draxler transfer sweepstakes?

Horst Heldt, Schalke's sporting director that Arsenal fans have come to know over the past month, has appeared to toss a healthy amount of cold water on the prospects of his club's crown jewel, Julian Draxler, moving this month

Lars Baron

The transfer saga of Julian Draxler has more bends and turns, more highs and lows, than the world-famous Monaco GP circuit. One day, the only thing left to conclude his transfer to Arsenal is Schalke's signoff on the fee, the next day the transfer's off and Arsenal are, yet again, left without a transfer dance partner. And that's just if you've followed the newspapers. Twitter's a completely different story full of poseurs, imposters and attention-seeking "ITK's." So it stands to reason that, a day after everyone thought Draxler was getting ready to start flat shopping in North London, that the news coming out of the Ruhr region that he's staying at Schalke.

Because January transfer window, that's why.

The Guardian has decided to debunk the Mirror's report yesterday that Draxler was all but signed by Arsenal, by quoting Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt from his press conference earlier today:

"We are happy to have such a world class player in our lines. I am very convinced that Draxler will be playing for us in the Rueckrunde [second half of the season] but most probably beyond that," he said at a news conference on Thursday. "We are not interested in letting Julian leave, and he has also not approached us about a transfer."

A couple things to note both here and with the entire Draxler situation.

One, much like Arsene Wenger's infamous reluctance on showing his hand at potential transfers in the works, there's the very real possibility that Heldt is letting current closed-door negotiations play out with the local media eager to do his bidding.

By simply saying this in front of cameras and reporters willing to quote him, he's put pressure back on Arsenal to come to the table with a better offer, something that shouldn't shock us who are familiar with Wenger's negotiating ways and methods. He knows Arsenal fans are clamoring for Draxler's signature, and with only a day and some change left to secure it, he's upping the stakes for what it's going to take to get Draxler as well as to keep his fans - and some of his own players - happy.

Further, if all of the above from Heldt were true (which I highly doubt), it would contradict nearly everything that's been said about Draxler, his intentions on moving abroad and Schalke's willingness to sell their prized asset. Just a couple weeks ago, Heldt himself said that they could be forced to sell Draxler due to "factors [we] cannot influence." And Draxler himself, back in September, appeared to be thinking of future landing spots, admitting he wouldn't turn down an opportunity if a club came to Schalke looking to buy.

All of this leads me to believe that this is still far from over and to expect more in the coming hours. My suggestion is to not conclude anything yet and to expect more drama coming from all interested sides of this prolonged transfer saga.