Schalke 04 midfielder Leon Goretzka is reportedly set to turn down offers from a clutch of European football's biggest names to join Bayern Munich.
The German's contract with his current club is poised to expire at the end of the 2017-18 season, meaning he is free to discuss terms with another team from January onwards. According to Fabrizio Romano of Calciomercato, he will make the switch to Bayern.
"Juventus have been scouting him for a very long time," the report continued. "The Bianconeri director of football Fabio Paratici is a long time admirer of the footballer, but the Old Lady won't make an attempt to sign him."
It's suggested Juve will not try to get the better of Bayern in the chase for Goretzka "as executives of the two clubs are on very good terms."
Goretzka is one of the most exciting prospects in the German game at the moment, having cemented his position in the Schalke midfield.
The uMAXit Football account took a look at the figures behind the 22-year-old's impressive 2016-17 campaign in the Bundesliga:
uMAXit Football @uMAXitFootball
Leon Goretzka's Bundesliga season by numbers: 77 interceptions 55.2% forward passes 44 tackles won 34 chances created 5 goals Talent. 💫 https://t.co/chpdwCxETe2017-9-5 17:00:13
It's not a shock that so many of European football's elite are interested in snapping up Goretzka on a free transfer, as he has so much to his game.
The midfielder is at his best when deployed in the middle of midfield, where he can tap into his multifaceted playing style to have a big influence on matches. Goretzka doesn't shirk his defensive responsibilities and is always alert to danger, but he's also adept at pushing forward and can open up passing avenues with his surges.
For Schalke, losing him for nothing would represent a big disappointment. ESPN's Janus's Michallik believes the Bundesliga side would be able to pick up a massive amount of money for the player if his contract wasn't set to run out:
Janusz Michallik @JanuszMichallik
Goretzka still at Schalke. Hardly even mentioned in rumors. £21m value (TM). I'd pay twice that, at least.2017-8-9 10:55:37
For a rising star of German football, it may make sense to move to the biggest club in the Bundesliga. But there will be challenges for Goretzka at Bayern.
Indeed, there are stars aplenty to call upon in midfield, including Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara, Joshua Kimmich, Sebastian Rudy and Corentin Tolisso, while Renato Sanches is also expected to return from his loan at Swansea City at the end of the season. The Schalke man would be far from guaranteed a starting spot.
Still, that'd be the case at most of the clubs aforementioned. It means the onus will be on Goretzka to raise his game for the remainder of this campaign and give himself the best chance possible of starting football matches for his new team in 2018-19.