Schalke 04 will reportedly offer Liverpool, Juventus and Bayern Munich transfer target Leon Goretzka a huge new contract to keep him at the club, extending to the midfielder a club-record €10 million (£8.9 million) per year.
That's according to Kicker (h/t Calciomercato.com), who note that Schalke cleared the salaries of the likes of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Benedikt Howedes this summer and can afford to sign their young starlet to a new deal.
As shared by Scouted Football, it's a last-gasp offensive from the Gelsenkirchen-based club, with Goretzka set to become a free agent:
Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl
Kicker claim Schalke 04 have offered Leon Goretzka (22) their biggest contract ever: €10 million-a-year. As is, he's free next summer. 🔏 https://t.co/q4uZEbaA372017-9-18 21:15:08
Calciomercato mentioned Liverpool and Juventus as possible destinations, but the strong favourites to land the 22-year-old remain Bayern Munich. Rumours he has already agreed a deal with the Bundesliga giants have floated for some time, although Goretzka has denied those claims.
As noted by Sky Deutschland (h/t ESPN FC's Mark Lovell), he also told reporters he's starting to tire of the constant stream of rumours:
"Honestly, it is really getting on my nerves. 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 has long been touted as one of Germany's top young players, after making his debut with VfL Bochum in 2012 and moving to Schalke the following season.
In Gelsenkirchen, he's developed into a complete central midfielder, capable of adding to the buildup and scoring goals himself while maintaining his defensive focus.
It's that last aspect that makes him stand out the most in the Bundesliga, per WhoScored.com:
He's won possession in the midfield third more times (234) than any other Bundesliga player since August 2015 https://t.co/yiOQpX6ia52017-9-18 16:30:02
Goretzka's showings at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with Germany showed he's ready for the step up to an elite team, and most pundits assume he will not stay with Schalke past the current season.
Bayern have a tendency to snap up the majority of top young talents in Germany and already have plenty of experience bringing in free agents. The club patiently waited to add Robert Lewandowski—a move that paid off in a big way—and it's likely they're doing the same with Goretzka.
He can't sign with a club other than Schalke before January, though, so there's still time left to convince him to alter his plans―even if an agreement with the Bavarians is already in place.
The proposed €10 million-per-year deal is a hefty contract for such a young player, but one most top clubs in the Premier League and Serie A could likely match if needed.