Tottenham Hotspur have managed to win the race for the services of Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby.
Holtby’s contract at his current club Schalke 04 runs until 30 June 2013. Since he only has 6 months left on his contract, the 22-year old midfielder was allowed to open talks with other clubs about a possible January departure or a pre-contract agreement regarding a Summer move.
Despite Schalke’s attempt to extend his contract, the Germany Under-21 captain decided to not extend his contract.
“We hoped Lewis would want to stay at FC Schalke 04 beyond the end of the season. But, as with Klaas-Jan, he has taken a personal decision and we respect that,” declared Schalke’s sporting director Horst Heldt.
“We are convinced he will continue to give 100 per cent to the last kick of the season to make his contribution to the team’s success.”
Holtby had no shortage of suitors with Arsenal, Liverpool and Bayern Munich all said to have been interested in signing him.
Eventually Spurs won the race to sign Holtby. According to German tabloid Bild the player will receive a £500,00 sign-on fee as part of the pre-contract agreement.
Holtby made his professional debut for Alemmania Aachen in the 2. Bundesliga (Germany’s second tier) in 2007. He moved to Schalke in 2009. The creative midfielder enjoyed loan spells at Bochum and Mainz before cementing his place in Schalke’s first team in the 2011/12 season.
To date, Holtby has made 61 Bundesliga appearances for Schalke, scoring 12 goals and providing 11 assists.
Holtby is the son of an English father – a former soldier from Liverpool – and a German mother. As a result, the transition to England will probably be easy for him.
Holtby has represented Germany at Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 level. Although he was eligible to play for England due to his father being English, he opted to make his debut for Germany’s senior national team in June 2011 during a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier against Azerbaijan, thereby foregoing the option to represent England at senior level.
Holtby will join Spurs’ squad in July during the 2013-14 pre-season, subject to a medical.