Draxler to carry Schalke in his heart

2015-09-01 16:54
Julian Draxler (AFP)

Berlin - Germany international Julian Draxler admitted he will "always carry Schalke 04" in his heart, despite being unveiled as Wolfsburg's replacement for Kevin de Bruyne on Tuesday, alongside Brazil defender Dante.

Having sold De Bruyne to Manchester City on Sunday for a reported record fee of €74 million Wolfsburg wasted no time by signing centre-back Dante from Bayern Munich and Draxler from Schalke on Monday.

Draxler, 21, who like De Bruyne is an attacking midfielder, cost Wolfsburg a reported €35 million, while they paid around €4 million for the 31-year-old Dante.

After 14 years with Gelsenkirchen's Schalke, Draxler said he needed a change, but admitted it was hard to get used to the green of Wolfsburg after the Royal Blue of Schalke.

"I'll always wear Schalke in my heart," he told a press conference on Tuesday.

"The situation is still very unusual. When I walk through the dressing room, everything here is green and not blue, but I needed a change of air."

Schalke fans reacted angrily to his departure.

"Julian is a Schalke boy and should have stayed so! That's why it is all the sadder that he's left," fumed one typically disgruntled Schalke fan in German daily Bild.

Draxler has not been called into the Germany squad for Friday's key Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland in Frankfurt with Joachim Loew's side second in Group D behind the visitors.

After two stagnant years in Schalke, Draxler will make the step up to become the world-class attacking midfielder Wolfsburg need to fulfill their European ambitions as they prepare for their first Champions League campaign since 2009.

But Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking warned reporters not to compare Draxler to De Bruyne.

"Don't make the mistake of comparing De Bruyne to Draxler, he is a very different type of player," said Hecking in an attempt to take some of the expectations off their new signing.

Germany coach Joachim Loew backed Draxler's move to Wolfsburg.

"My expectation is that he will play to his class and skills and will be more consistent," said the Germany boss.

Having won three back-to-back Bundesliga titles and been part of Bayern's treble-winning team in 2013, Brazil's Dante arrives in Wolfsburg with a string of experience and eager to link up with fellow Selecao internationals Luiz Gustavo and Naldo.

He admits he was "sad" to leave Bayern, but Hecking said he hopes Dante's experience will rub off on his new team-mates.

"We're hoping we can annoy Bayern again with Dante in our team," said Hecking, while director of sport Klaus Allofs added: "He has not only the quality, but also the mentality that you need to succeed.

Read more on:    schalke  |  wolfsburg  |  dante  |  julian draxler  |  soccer

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