22 Midfielder Wolfsburg Germany
We said this in the course of giving him a somewhat disappointing C- in 2014:
'Currently idling at the lights when he should be speeding away into the distance, there’s a list of clubs a mile long wanting to take him, feels like it’s time to pick one'
Well, he has picked one, but is it the right one? Jury’s still out but we think it might be.
2015 has been…
Erm, we’re going to be honest and say this isn’t what we had in mind. Throughout his time in the 100 we’ve been a) firm believers in this young footballer and b) convinced he was bound for a really big move. We still believe but for a player who it feels has spent the entirety of his career on the brink of a move to Arsenal, this summer was a strange one.
It started with the fact it was clear a move was now going to happen. There was the usual agent-created stuff about Real, Barca and Bayern for the early part, the realistic and persistent Arsenal stuff in the middle, the strange collapse of an agreed deal with Juventus towards the end, and then once the Kevin De Bruyne transfer to Manchester City was sorted, a club record €35m transfer to Wolfsburg on deadline day.
We’re pleased he’s moved, he had stalled a little and needed a new challenge, but we were convinced he was bound for a new league. The Juventus move would have made so much sense, Arsenal played to their stereotype and dithered horribly but that too would have made sense, Wolfsburg? At first it looked a bit strange but the more we think about it, the more we like it.
He’s not hit his very best for two seasons and the added responsibility at Wolfsburg may well bring it back out of him. He’s still only 22 but it feels like he’s been around for a long time, he needs to settle, focus and enjoy his new surroundings.
The player who made it into the very first 100 was exciting, explosive and played with a smile on his face. Last year he looked like he was playing within himself. For his international ambitions he needs a lot more of the former and less of the latter, and so far the signs are good.
The elephant in the room is Bayern. The longer he stays in a league that is realistically settled by the winter break the more he can be accused of staying within a comfort zone. We were convinced he was moving to a new league, maybe that’s been delayed, maybe not, but along with his team mates he needs to find a way to break Die Roten’s hold on both the silverware and the headlines.
We bid farewell to Julian this year having been ever present on the list since 2012 and, on the whole, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching him. He may have very big things in his future, we were once 100% certain but admittedly have a few doubts now. Either way, we’ll always have a soft spot for you, Drax.
C It’s not the move we expected but we’re happy he can push on again in new surroundings. We still believe
If you've enjoyed reading the #IBWM100 please make a donation to help us keep the site ad free.