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Bundesliga

Sign of a January sale? Julian Draxler dropped from Wolfsburg squad

Julian Draxler wants out of Wolfsburg, and judging by fans' reactions last weekend, they'd be glad to see the back of him too. Draxler's not in the squad for the trip to Munich.

Fußball Bundesliga VfL Wolfsburg - Hertha BSC (picture-alliance/Krause)

Draxler need not swap his training bib for first-team threads this weekend

VfL Wolfsburg will travel to the Allianz Arena on Saturday without German international Julian Draxler, who would be fit and available to play.

Coach Valerien Ismael did not include the attacking midfielder in his 18-man squad after the club's final training session on Friday. The club did not immediately comment on the 23-year-old's exclusion. However, Ismael did describe the upcoming game as "the most difficult away fixture of the season," and then duly decided he did not want Draxler's help in it. 

UEFA EURO 2016 - Achtelfinale | Deutschland vs. Slowakei Löw und Draxler (Reuters/P. Rossignol)

Despite his club woes, Draxler remains at least a fringe player in Jogi Löw's national squad

Draxler first made his wish to leave Wolfsburg public this summer, just one season after joining from Schalke. He reiterated this desire last weekend, when he came off the bench in the home defeat to Hertha Berlin to a chorus of boos and jeers from the Wolfsburg fans. Prior to this fixture, he had delivered a string of lackluster displays for Ismael's struggling Wolves.

His exclusion ahead of such a big game is just the latest indication of a possible departure in the January transfer window. On paper, Draxler has a 100-million-euro ($105-million) release clause in his contract. In reality, though, Wolfsburg are liable to settle for a fraction of that price. They bought him for a club record 35 million euros in August 2015, and media reports in Germany currently suggest that the VW-backed outfit is hoping to break even. 

Supposed suitors for the gifted but streaky right-footed flair player include Arsenal, Paris St. Germain and Juventus.

Wolfsburg's season to date has been almost as miserable as Draxler's - the club sits 15th in the league and its number 10 is yet to contribute a Bundesliga goal or assist.

"I believe that the club and its surroundings currently have bigger problems than my personality," Draxler recently said. In the aftermath of the VW emissions scandal in the US, various projects in Wolfsburg have been called into question, with promotional endeavors like VfL Wolfsburg top of the list of possible victims. VW has already canned its motor racing program in the World Rally Championship while subsidiary Audi pulled out of the World Endurance Championships (the series including the 24 hours of Le Mans), albeit not officially acknowledging any connection to "Dieselgate" in either case. 

Schalke 04 Vertragsverlängerung Julian Draxler Plakat (imago/Team 2)

Schalke fans might not be so surprised by Draxler's sudden wish to seek pastures new - they were treated to this billboard back in 2013

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