Arsenal Fans Could Soon Be Seeing a Lot More of Schalke's Lewis Holtby
Arsenal traveled to Germany's Ruhr valley to face Schalke 04 in their Champions League Group B clash, but it was a player with a very English name who orchestrated the home side coming from two goals down to draw 2-2.
Lewis Holtby used to be a curiosity in England. The highly talented son of a man from Liverpool plying his trade abroad who instead—probably wisely—chose to represent the country of his and his mother's birth.
Now, after English audiences have had two good looks at the midfielder as Schalke have taken four points off the Gunners, they are left wondering what an asset he would have been for their own national team.
The 22-year-old has been enjoying a breakout season for the Royal Blues, having started every single match for them this season. He is well on course to bettering the haul of six Bundesliga goals he registered last season, having already notched up three goals and as many assists this term.
His performance in the 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago was impressive, but he was far more influential back at the Veltins-Arena.
After Arsenal had taken a two-goal lead midway through the first half via a scrappy goal from Theo Walcott and a diving header from Olivier Giroud, Schalke set about making the scoreline a better reflection of their performance.
In first-half stoppage time, Holtby guided a floated ball forward into the path of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar with a weighted volley, and the Dutchman was typically clinical with the finish.
Schalke's equaliser also featured a contribution from Holtby, although there was more than a touch of fortune as his mistimed header went across to Jefferson Farfan and the Peruvian finished via a deflection off Thomas Vermaelen. However, Holtby's overall contribution meant his two assists on the night was not a flattering statistic.
It is little wonder that the German international, who captains the Under-21 side, is a much-coveted player, especially considering his current contract expires at the end of the season.
That means he is able to discuss moves with foreign clubs in January if he does not sign a new deal at the club he joined in 2009, though he has spent around half the subsequent period out on loan.
In the build-up to the second Arsenal game, Holtby admitted he was considering a move to the Premier League.
He said (as reported by ESPN FC): "I know there are concrete offers and clubs are interested. I have always said that one day I would play in England. I wouldn't even rule out Liverpool, even if it would be tough for my dad—he's an Everton fan."
Schalke are one of Germany's biggest clubs and right now look like the main challengers to current league leaders Bayern Munich, but they may struggle to keep hold of a bright young talent if the right offer comes in from England.
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