Julian Draxler: I had sleepless nights
Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler has said he had "sleepless nights" after turning down offers from Real Madrid and Manchester City during the summer.
Draxler, 19, put pen to paper on a new Schalke deal, reported to include a €45 million release clause, in May.
Both Real and City had wanted to trigger the clause - but the Germany international opted to stay with the Royal Blues for at least one more season.
"I stewed over it," he told Bild. "You never know if you will get those offers again. But in the end, my gut instincts, my heart and my perspective tipped the scales in favour for Schalke."
Draxler, who last season became the youngest player to ever to play 100 competitive games for a Bundesliga club, will play a major role in Schalke's bid to challenge for honours in the new season.
Recently, Horst Heldt admitted Schalke would not have had a Plan B if Draxler had opted to leave, giving the Schalke general manager some sleepless nights.
"Same here," Draxler said. "I sat by myself and mulled over the offers." He added that the amount of his release clause astonished him, adding: "No human is worth that much. But my goal now is to top my performances from last year."
Draxler had also been a reported target for Schalke’s rivals Borussia Dortmund, and said: "To get it straight once again: Unless I am brainwashed, I will never make the switch to Dortmund."
Schalke have not won the German championship for 55 years, last lifting the silver plate five years before the introduction of the Bundesliga, but have come close several times.
In a recent interview, US international Jermaine Jones said they needed to aim for the title.
"The championship would be the Schalke fairytale – and, of course, this would also be my dream," he added. "Bayern have made super signings, and I definitely expect them to win the title. But we will not throw in the towel."