Schalke star Julian Draxler has ruled out the prospect of a move to arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Draxler, 19, is a Germany international and has already played in more than 100 competitive games for Schalke, with whom he is under contract until 2016.
Persistent speculation has linked him with a move to Dortmund - especially after the news that Mario Gotze would be leaving in the summer – but he told WDR2 Radio that would not be happening.
“Some took these rumours at face value, and that made me sad,” he said. “Once and for all, I can promise I will not play for Borussia Dortmund.”
Writing later on his Facebook page, Draxler said: “I can assure you that, with all due respect, I will not play for Borussia Dortmund next season if I am not brainwashed. This also applies for the years to come.”
Draxler could be playing under a new manager at Schalke next season, with a report in Bild suggesting former Germany international Stefan Effenberg is leading the race to take over.
According to the paper, Effenberg, 44, has already met the club’s chief executive Clemens Tonnies and general manager Horst Heldt for talks.
Commenting on Sky, Heldt said: “Stefan, certainly, will be a coach in the future. That’s why I understand the speculation.” But he claimed no decision on the next Schalke boss had been taken yet.
Despite edging closer to Champions League qualification, current Schalke boss Jens Keller could struggle to hold onto his job.