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Holtby close to new Schalke deal

Contract negotiations between Schalke and Lewis Holtby have entered their final stage, kicker has reported.

Holtby, 22, has enjoyed an outstanding season so far, moving to a central midfield role after Raul left the club at the end of last season.

The Germany Under-21 skipper has scored three goals, made two and twice been named Schalke Player of the Month.

His contract runs out at the end of this season, when he would become a free agent if no new deal can be agreed.

And Holtby, whose father is English, has said it would be a dream to play in the Premier League.

Before the start of the season, he had played down the looming contract talks, explaining that he wanted "to concentrate on football only".

However, kicker says the chances of a contract extension being agreed are good, and the new deal could include a big-money release clause.

In an earlier interview, Holtby had told the magazine that a move to England was "a long way off", adding: "I will be playing for Schalke, and that's what I focus on."

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