The stats that show Arsenal and Madrid were wrong to snub Draxler

In a January transfer window that provided few headline-worthy purchases, Unai Emery and Paris Saint-Germain may have sealed the most astute piece of business of any major team. 

The object of the ex-Sevilla boss' desires was Julian Draxler, the perennial next big German star who had undergone 18 months of football purgatory in Wolfsburg. At just 21, the playmaker appeared to have the pick of Europe's elite as a Schalke wonderkid, but he chose to take a sideways step in moving to a Bundesliga rival and failed to show much progress in the intervening period. 

Class, however, is permanent, a lesson that Emery considered even when it eluded a manager of Arsene Wenger's experience. Real Madrid were another side linked with Draxler, although their FIFA transfer ban meant they were powerless to hijack a €40 million move in January. 

But Arsenal have no such excuse. Forever in the hunt for a reasonably priced addition to his forward line, and not afraid to gripe when the numbers are not to his liking, Wenger simply missed the boat in overlooking Draxler this January. 

And the Germany international has wasted no time in ramming home that message as he revels in a dream start to life under Emery at Parc des Princes. 

Julian Draxler

Playing off Edinson Cavani on the left side of PSG's attacking trident, Draxler has helped himself to four goals in his first eight matches, despite being tasked with creating chances more than finishing them off. He is also no slouch in that regard: he has already created 10 chances for his team-mates. 

What most stands out about the 23-year-old star is his accuracy in front of goal. Those four strikes have come from just seven shots, an astounding conversion rate of 57 percent that would be the envy of the world's best strikers. 

If those encouraging early numbers invite surprise, they should not. Draxler's wonderful 2015-16 season with Wolfsburg included a similar playing pattern: lethal shooting when given the chance, an ever-roving eye to carve out opportunities - creating 49 chances and seven assists in 31 appearances that year - and a need to be constantly involved in the action.

And while the first half of this year in Germany saw Draxler well under-par, he is rapidly returning to his best form. He is also helping to get the very best out of PSG, who had stuttered and spluttered in the first half of the season under the charge of Nice and Monaco as legitimate Ligue 1 rivals. 

Seven of the eight clashes Draxler has disputed have ended in victory for Emery's men, with a tense 1-1 draw against Monaco the only black mark against an otherwise perfect start to the year. All of which should give plenty of food for thought in north London, especially if the newly revitalised forward follows up with another match-winning stint against Barcelona on Tuesday.  

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