One of European football’s burning questions is set for a January answer but only before the situation gets more complicated. The Daily Mail reports Arsenal plan to open negotiations with Schalke 04 midfielder Leon Goretzka with a view to completing the transfer next summer.
The 22-year-old can leave the Bundesliga outfit on a Bosman deal when his contract expires in June. A host of Europe’s biggest clubs are keen on the German international but the Gunners want to strike first.
It’s a role reversal for them with Mesut Özil, 29, linked with a return to Gelsenkirchen where he began his career.
Goretzka has plenty of options to choose from. Bayern Munich claimed they had landed the midfielder earlier in the year but that proved to be false and with Arsenal showing their hand, the Gunners join Manchester City and Roma as admirers.
Sead Kolasinac moved to north London in the summer from Schalke in a similar deal which the Gunners believe left them on good terms with the German club. Signing Sven Mislintat as head of recruitment from Dortmund gives them access to other Bundesliga clubs, a distinct advantage over the likes of their Premier League rivals.
With Goretzka almost certain to leave despite an improved contract offer from his clubs, speculation is rife that Schalke may sell their prized asset for a reduced fee in January.
It’s the sort of deal which will appeal to Arsenal, particularly if they can raise funds by selling Özil at the same time.