Julian Draxler pined for a move to Barcelona up until the twilight of the summer transfer window in the hope the club would abandon attempts to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool. Having been made surplus to requirements at Paris Saint-Germain, Draxler was touted around Europe – Arsenal led the race for the Germany international – but the player desperately wanted to move to the Nou Camp.
Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo understand Draxler's agent Roger Wittman twice travelled to Catalonia to convince Barca's technical secretary to complete a deal for his client, having been given permission by the Ligue 1 giants to negotiate his departure. The La Liga giants however displayed no interest in the 23-year-old as they continued their fruitless pursuit of Coutinho.
Draxler told his Germany teammates during the recent international break that he hoped Barcelona would turn their attention to him if and when they gave up trying to lure Coutinho from Liverpool's clutches. PSG eventually opted to keep hold of Draxler after allowing Blaise Matuidi to join Juventus and Gregory Krychowiak to move to West Bromwich Albion, as Arsenal were once again frustrated in their attempts to bring the ex-Wolfsburg playmaker to north London. The player himself has since suggested he never wanted to leave Paris.
Having seen just 12 minutes of action this season since the arrival of Neymar from Barcelona, Draxler's opportunities are unlikely to improve following the deadline day addition of Kylian Mbappe from Monaco. Arsenal, who were reportedly close to bringing him to the club, may return for Draxler in the summer but any deal could be dependent on the future of Alexis Sanchez who himself is likely to be subject to renewed interest from Manchester City.
Manager Unai Emery eventually pulled the plug on Draxler's departure in the belief he could play a role for the club domestically and in the Champions League, but it remains to be seen whether he can play enough to retain his place in the Germany squad for the 2018 World Cup. Draxler has plenty of credit in the bank after being named the player of the tournament at the Confederations Cup but failure to play regularly this term could come back to haunt him.
Arsenal meanwhile were left empty handed on deadline day having failed to sign both Draxler and Thomas Lemar from Monaco. The Gunners had a £92m offer accepted by the French champions but Arsene Wenger's side deemed they did not have enough time to complete the deal, meaning moves for the France international and Sanchez's departure to City, collapsed.