Jermaine Jones will still be allowed to leave Schalke despite the ankle injury suffered by new signing Jan Kirchhoff, his agent has said.
U.S. international midfielder Jones was given permission to stay in Germany to look at offers from other clubs when the rest of the squad travelled to Qatar for their winter training camp.
Kirchhoff, on loan from Bayern Munich, suffered his injury setback soon after arriving at the training camp, and the 23-year old has returned to Germany for tests.
However, Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt told the club's official website that he was "not too worried" about the seriousness of the problem.
And it will not change the club's plans to let 32-year-old Jones to move on, with the player's agent, Roger Wittmann, telling Bild on Monday: "Schalke have given us their word that he can leave."
Earlier on Monday, coach Jens Keller told a news conference why the player would be allowed to move on, explaining: "I could not tell Jones that he'd have a guaranteed starting spot in the second half of the season.
"He was professional about being benched during the first half of the season, but with a World Cup on the horizon, and at the age of 32, it might have become a bit more difficult."
Later on Tuesday, Schalke midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng said that leaving the Royal Blues in the winter might not be what Jones had initially planned on doing.
“Jermaine’s contract will run out in the summer,” Boateng said in Der Westen. “That he has now been released came as a surprise to me and also to Jermaine in the first couple of days. That is a difficult situation.”
While Schalke have said nothing to indicate that Jones has actually been released from his contract, it appears the club are eager to offload the player, who according to recent media reports earns some four million euros per year.