Wednesday Kickoff: Arsenal closing in on Draxler; Transfer spending increases; and more

Julian Draxler of FC Schalke 04

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

For the second transfer window in a row, Arsenal could go down to the final moments before signing someone.

According to multiple reports in England, Arsenal officials are currently in Germany negotiating the transfer of Schalke 04 attacker Julian Draxler. The 20-year-old German international has been a transfer target of Arsenal’s for quite some time but the reports state that Arsenal are wary of meeting Schalke’s £37 million price tag. It’s thought that Arsenal would prefer not to pay more than £30 million for Draxler.

With the January transfer window closing on Friday evening, Arsenal have only a few days to improve their squad ahead of the final four months of the English Premier League season. The club drew 2-2 with Southampton on Tuesday and after the game the team learned that midfielder Aaron Ramsey could miss another 4-6 weeks with a thigh injury.

Despite the interest from Arsenal (and previously, Real Madrid), Schalke officials have gone on the record stating that they have no plans to sell Draxler this month. Draxler still have four seasons remaining on his current contract which he signed last summer.

Here are some more stories to start your Wednesday:

ENGLAND DOMINATE PREVIOUS YEAR AS TRANSFER SPENDING RISES

Transfer spending rose by 41 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to a report published on Wednesday by FIFA.

In evaluating all the cross-border transfers in the 2013 calendar year, FIFA found that 12,309 international transfers totaled $3.7 billion in transfer fees. Leading the spending again were English clubs, who spent a combined $913 million, or 25 percent of the total. Brazil saw the most transfers in and out of the country as well with 1,402 player transactions.

The numbers shown in FIFA’s international transfer matching system (ITMS) were skewed by spending of some of the world’s biggest clubs. According to FIFA, AS Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Real Madrid accounted for $828 million in transfer spending alone, good for more than 22 percent of the global total.

ORIENTE PETROLERO, MORELIA KICK OFF COPA LIBERTADORES 

The rainy and bogged down pitch in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia played host on Tuesday to the opening match at the 2014 Copa Libertadores.

Oriente Petrolero, last season’s Bolivian league runner-up, hosted Uruguayan side Nacional and came out winners by a 1-0 scoreline. Oriente midfielder Gualberto Mojica scored the tournament’s first goal in the 33rd minute with a blast from the top of the box after evading two defenders.

Also in action on Tuesday evening was Mexican club Morelia hosting Colombian club Independiente Santa Fe. Playing their first game under Eduardo de la Torre, Morelia topped their South American opponents, 2-1, but it sets up an interesting return leg next Tuesday.

20-year-old Armando Zamorano was the star of the match for Morelia, setting up Hector Mancilla in the 27th minute for Monarcas’ first goal before showing some nifty dribbling to score a goal of his own in the 66th minute. Santa Fe’s Omar Perez could have tied the score in the 77th minute but his penalty kick fired right down the middle was saved. However, he made up for his mistake in the 85th minute with a powerful free kick goal.

QUICK KICKS

Italian third division (Serie C) club Nocerina were kicked out of the league and fined €10,000 for their un-sporting display against Salernitana. Nocerina used all three of their substitutions in the first two minutes of the match and then five players went off injured in the next 20 minutes, forcing the referee to abandon the game. (REPORT)

Tottenham have been subject to transfer fraud after someone claimed to have permission from FC Twente for Spurs to sign forward Luc Castaignos. (REPORT)

Liverpool are reportedly chasing £16 million Ukrainian international Yevhen Konoplyanka. (REPORT)

AS Roma are close to completing the transfer of 17-year-old Swedish forward Valmer Berisha, who is being compared back home to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. (REPORT)

Cerezo Osaka will pay new-signing Diego Forlan a reported J-League record $5.8 million per season. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Arsenal sealing the Draxler deal before the end of the window? Worried about the increased transfer spending? Impressed with Zamorano’s performance?

Share your thoughts below.

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2 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Arsenal closing in on Draxler; Transfer spending increases; and more

  1. Drew says:

    Any word on if Jones is practicing or playing? Haven’t heard a thing since he was left of the Middle East trip for Schalke.