Arsenal have reportedly made Schalke starlet Leon Goretzka their No. 1 target this summer.
Arsenal have reportedly made Schalke starlet Leon Goretzka their No. 1 target this summer, with the German seemingly identified as a replacement for fellow countryman and ex-Schalke player Mesut Ozil.
Ozil is seen as increasingly likely to leave the Gunners, either for a cut price fee in January or as a free agent at the end of the season, and the club have eyed an opportunity to bring in Goretzka and make the switch without finding themselves sorely out of pocket.
Like Ozil, Goretzka's contract is also expiring and would be available for nothing come 1st July.
According to the Daily Mirror, Schalke have offered the 22-year-old attacking midfielder a new contract. The Bundesliga side would also apparently be willing to listen to offers from suitors in January if the player opts to reject that deal.
Under transfer market rules, Arsenal and other clubs, said to include Manchester City, Liverpool and Juventus, can all formally negotiate with Goretzka when he enters the final six months of his contract on 1st January, with a view to signing a pre-contract agreement for summer.
The Mirror report notes that Arsenal are keeping a close eye on developments, with the implication that they will act accordingly to get their man depending on how the situation might change.
Should Ozil be keen to move in January - Barcelona are rumoured to be making an offer - it might prompt Arsenal to make their own approach for Goretzka sooner.
Yet in separate comments published by the Mirror, Gunners defender Nacho Monreal doesn't believe that Ozil or fellow contract rebel Alexis Sanchez will push to leave in January if the club isn't fully on board, as he claims both players remain committed.
"The feeling is that they will continue," the Spaniard explained. "At no time have we talked about the possibility of them leaving. Not at all. They are committed to the group and we will see what happens. If the club want them to stay beyond December [the January transfer window] they will follow."