Leon Goretzka is a wanted man. The 22-year-old midfielder is a known Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool target.
“Honestly, it is really getting on my nerves,” he said when stories of a pre-contract agreement with Bayern Munich emerged again in the summer.
“I can see why it interests people but I can only repeat once again, there’s nothing new to report with Munich. I have clearly denied there is an agreement in place — with any club. I can promise you this is the case.”
Goretzka ultimately brought the situation on himself as his contract runs out in the summer of 2018. In January, he can talk to any interested clubs.
Schalke still harbour some hope that they could convince the player of extending his current deal, but with the list of interested clubs growing, it’s very unlikely at this stage.
Bayern will be back in for the box-to-box midfielder, but Barcelona have also emerged as frontrunners for the Germany international.
According to reports in his homeland, Goretzka will reject any advances from the Premier League and only sees the German giants and Barça as possible candidates.
The Bundesliga club hope that the situation will be sorted before the next transfer window.
“I’d like to think that by the winter break we will have clarity,” Schalke sporting executive Christian Heidel told Sport Bild.
Likened to Michael Ballack, what Goretzka brings is a proactive style of play. He’s aggressive and progressive when in possession.
He’ll push the ball forward, will beat opponents off the dribble and take them out the game. One of his best traits is the ability to turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye.
Goretzka is a leader in the middle of the park. He takes responsibility, rather than just pass the buck. Something that the Catalan giants miss in the midfield.
Last term, he averaged 1.8 shots per 90 minutes, 2.7 attempted dribbles, as well as winning 2.3 tackles, making 2.7 interceptions and 0.8 clearances. It shows his ability to play on both sides of the ball and his determination to be a factor all across the pitch.
Over the past two summers, Schalke have lost one of the best players on a free. Joel Matip was first, joining Liverpool in 2016, then this summer, Arsenal snapped up full-back Sead Kolasinac. Goretzka looks like being the next potential star to leave the Veltins-Arena without the German club making a penny.
After failing with multiple bids this summer, Barcelona have possibly moved on from Philippe Coutinho and the 22-year-old German would be perfect for their No.8 role, perhaps even more suited than the Brazilian playmaker.
Last season, Goretzka played 41 times in all competitions. He contributed to 14 goals and proved himself as both a goal creator and goalscorer.
This summer, he made the step up to the German national team and become a star as his phenomenal performances helped them win the Confederations Cup in Russia.
It was in the semi-final where his strong running and dynamic bursts from midfield helped him score twice against Mexico as they won 4-1. They’d go on to beat Chile 1-0 in the final and Goretzka finished with three goals and an assist in four appearances.
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