Julian Draxler’s time in Paris has come to an end. The 29-year-old follows his PSG colleague Marco Verratti to Qatar after some wrangling, but the German does not end up at Al-Arabi like the Italian, rather he joins Al-Ahli SC. The announcement was made by his new club on Monday.
For some time now, Julian Draxler has played no part at Paris St Germain, with a loan spell to Lisbon proving unsuccessful for the injury-plagued 29-year-old. He was then linked to Crystal Palace in the summer, but the transfer did not materialise. Now, however, the 2014 World Cup winner has found what he was looking for: Draxler is moving to Doha to join Al-Ahli and, after successfully passing his medical check, will receive a two-year contract with the Qataris until 30 June 2025. In Doha, he will wear shirt number 7.
“The presence of a player like Draxler, with his talent and skills, means a lot for the club and its development,” Al-Ahli president Abdullah Al-Mulla was quoted as saying in a club statement. Draxler, for his part, spoke of being “happy” and promised to give his all “to be a professional who performs the way he is expected to. I hope I can live up to the fans’ expectations.” From a sporting point of view, Draxler is probably not expecting an easy task, as Al-Ahli lost their first three games of the season and occupy penultimate place in the Qatari “Stars League” with a goal difference of 4:10.
A transfer of the former international (58 caps) to Qatar had been on the cards for some time, but it was delayed – reports even surfaced that Draxler had let the deal fall through. But that was not the case, as we now know.
Chapter PSG is closed
Draxler thus finally closes the chapter on Paris St. Germain, who had let him go from VfL Wolfsburg for a transfer fee of 36 million euros at the end of 2016. In Paris, he was never able to fully meet the expectations placed in him, despite regular playing time. His time on the Seine can certainly be described as one with ups and downs: The 29-year-old played a total of 162 games (18 goals) for the French top club in the championship and Champions League; he became French champion four times.
However, they were not really satisfied with him in Paris, more and more he slipped into the second tier and was loaned to Lisbon in the past season. After his return to Paris, it was revealed to the high earner that he would no longer be counted on – this was followed by his relegation to the second training group. It was a hint with the fence post that Draxler obviously understood and eventually got round to signing for a new club.
Did PSG get a good price?
Now a move to four-time Emir of Qatar Cup winners Al-Ahli SC. No details were given about the transfer fee, but it is rumoured to be around ten million euros – not a bad price for a player who only had one year left on his contract and no longer played a role in PSG coach Luis Enrique’s plans. Good connections to Qatar, which PSG undoubtedly has thanks to its owner, the Qatari investor group “Qatar Sports Investments”, may have been helpful in the negotiations.
In Paris, the squad restructuring initiated this summer will thus continue. In recent months, numerous well-known players such as Lionel Messi (Inter Miami), Neymar (Al-Hilal), Marco Verratti, Abdou Diallo (both Al-Arabi SC), El Chadaille Bitshiabu (RB Leipzig), Mauro Icardi (Galatasaray Istanbul), Georginio Wijnaldum (Al-Ettifaq), Junior Dina Ebimbe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Leandro Paredes, Renato Sanches (both AS Roma) and Sergio Ramos (Sevilla FC). Since only Messi and Ramos left on a free transfer, the French even made a tidy profit: the income from the departures is said to amount to around 200 million euros.