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Aug 30, 2012

Schalke to bring in Afellay

With just over 24 hours of the transfer window left, Schalke have started doing business in earnest.

The Ruhrpott side is looking to bring in Ibrahim Afellay on loan from Barcelona to replace the outgoing Manuel Jurado who is set to join Spartak Moscow.

"Negotiations to sign Afellay are at an advanced stage," Schalke director of sport Horst Heldt told the press on Thursday.

Coach Huub Stevens, who was Afellay's coach at PSV Eindhoven, explained the Dutchman could play in central midfield, as well as on the wing.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has already welcomed his compatriot to the club, he tweeted: "I want to welcome Ibrahim Afellay at #S04.!! Tomorrow training at 16.00.. Don't forget ;) wilkommen Ibrahim Afellay..!"

Midfielder Jurado, however, seems to be on his way out of Schalke. Jurado, who failed to make a lasting impression at Schalke, is for a loan move to Russian giants Spartak Moscow.

"The player is wanting to take on a new challenge," Heldt stated.

Whilst those two deals are close to completion, the future of centre-back Kyriakos Papadopoulus remains unclear. Despite reports to the contrary, Schalke are yet to turn down a €20 million offer for Greece international defender Papadopoulos, according to Heldt.

Papadopoulos, 20, has been offered a three-year-contract by Zenit St.Petersburg. The defender would earn €3 million per year. Zenit, who have increased their initial offer of €15-20 million, have already reached an agreement with the Greece international, according to reports in Greece and Russia.

However, Heldt did not confirm the transfer was taking place, he said: "The Russians were very, very persistent, but no final decision has been made."

"The player likes it here and can imagine playing for Schalke longer – and he is an important player for us," Heldt added.

Heldt had earlier categorical denied the Royal Blues were to sell the centre back. According to local paper Revier Sport Schalke still hope to extend the Greek's contract from 2015 to 2017. This would double his current salary to €2 million. According to Revier Sport sources the contract would also include a release clause of between €15-18 million.

Yet DerWesten claims Schalke could take the Zenit's money for to business reasons. Meanwhile Papadopolous' team-mate Huntelaar told DerWesten the Greek's potential departure would not be a good signal for the team.

Huntelaar, who is in the last year of his contract, has been in talks with Schalke and said he will decide whether to stay with Die Knappen in the near future. Papadoplous' importance to his colleagues, could be a key factor when it to decided whether to sell the defender.

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