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Transfer rumor: Alexis/Julian Draxler swap in the works?

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Oh, transfer rumors, you never go away, do you?

Celtic v Paris Saint Germain - UEFA Champions League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

I feel like the see-saw that is “Will Alexis stay or won’t he” had taken a little break, but maybe it was just precariously balanced with a tire fire on one end and an overflowing dumpster on the other. Anyhoo, today, the balance yet again shifted, and it shifted in a much more tantalizing way than my metaphor would have suggested.

With Arsenal not selling Alexis this summer, he is of course able to sign a pre-contract agreement (with a non-English club) in January, binding him to a new club and depriving Arsenal of any sort of transfer fee. This was a risk Arsenal chose to take, and one they were comfortable with, knowing that Alexis wouldn’t exactly sleepwalk his way through both a World Cup and a contract year.

Well, the risk of losing him for nothing may have receded a bit today:

Yup. If this rumor is true - and as always, that’s a pretty good-sized, capital-letter sporting IF - this would work out nicely for both sides. Alexis would get his opportunity to win a Champions League, and Arsenal would get long-coveted target Julian Draxler.

But! I’m not sure this actually passes the sniff test, mostly from the PSG side. First, why would they sell Draxler? They’re clearly not super worried about FFP, and while Draxler has mostly made appearances off the bench this season, he doesn’t seem particularly unhappy, nor has he agitated for a move.

Second, and probably more importantly: why would a team as loaded with talent as PSG pay money, or lose a valuable player, to sign Alexis now, when they could get him for free in July? It just doesn’t make sense. PSG aren’t one Alexis away from winning the Champions League, they have all the talent they need for that particular quest.

I mean, I guess anything is possible. I’m just not convinced that PSG - any team, really, but particularly PSG - would pay for Alexis at this point in time. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It would be nice to see a Draxler/Alexis swap, for sure, but I struggle to see the benefit to PSG of a move like that at this point.

I would expect to see Alexis sign a pre-contract with PSG in January before a team offers to buy him. I’ve been wrong before, and I may well be wrong here, but I’m not sure this deal makes a whole lot of sense.