The Parc des Princes erupted with joy as attacker Julian Draxler wheeled away in celebration after scoring a sensational goal against Spanish giants FC Barcelona in the home leg of the Round of 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League. The fans were full of praise after the sensational performance by the German attacker on the night with many hailing him as the man to watch out for in the away leg at Camp Nou. Sadly, the 24-year-old flattered to deceive as has been the case throughout his career so far.
The ex-Schalke attacker was hailed by footballing experts after he decided to take a plunge into the unknown by signing on for French giants Paris St Germain from Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg for a then-record sum of £40m. Draxler was more than happy to bid adieu after a cold reception from the fans who indicated their immense disapproval by whistling vociferously during a cameo against Hertha Berlin.
“You can only imagine what these whistles do to a person,” said the 24-year-old who never really set the stage on fire with just five goals in 34 league appearances. The fans were more than happy to slam their record signing as the classic example of a man who was deserting the ship under pressure in comparison to transforming the situation through sheer hard work and willpower as expected.
Draxler was expected to enjoy a critical role under newly appointed manager Unai Emery with his creative gameplay and hunger to excel despite the odds perfectly suited to the Spaniard’s philosophy. The move seemed to be nothing short of a coup early on for both the parties with the German attacker making his presence felt through eye-catching displays and match-winning performances. The confidence and exuberance was certainly evident in his performances on the national stage as well. Germany went on to lift the 2016 Confederations Cup trophy under his captaincy with many hailing him as a sure-shot candidate for a spot in the 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Unfortunately, the cruel hand of fate dealt the harshest blow when he least expected it to! A shambolic performance by Paris St Germain in the away leg against Barcelona resulted in the side crashing out of the Champions League despite enjoying a 4-goal advantage ahead of the second leg. Brazilian superstar Neymar who turned the tide of the game with his stunning performances was earmarked as the perfect marquee signing who could lead the side on to a much-coveted Champions League win. This proved to be the death knell for Draxler who was shunted out of his position on the left wing to accommodate the Brazilian record signing, with limited game time opportunities as well.
Emery’s recent exit has failed to translate into anything fruitful for the German attacker with newly elected manager Thomas Tuchel indicating a keen desire to invest in the services of young talents like Antoine Bernede, Colin Dagba, Christopher Nkunku. Draxler was deployed in central midfield by Unai Emery, as a backup for Marco Verrati, filling in as and when necessary due to his versatility which Tuchel disapproves of to the hilt having indicated a keen desire to encourage only players deemed specialists in their respective positions.
With Neymar occupying the left-sided attacking role and Argentinian footballer, Angel Di Maria’s proven record when operating from the centre leaving Draxler third in line even in the best of circumstances, an extended stint on the bench seems to be the only alternative available for the German attacker at PSG.
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