Max Meyer has plunged his Schalke future into further doubt by rejecting a new deal with the German club.
The 22-year-old has been an integral part of Domenico Tedesco’s side this season, having adapted to a new role at the base of midfield.
But the German international is out of contract in the summer and the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and even Barcelona are circling. All have had him watched this season.
Meyer was told last summer that Leon Goretzka was the club’s primary concern and that - amid cost-cutting measures - they couldn’t afford to keep both.
But with Goretzka having agreed a switch to join Bayern Munich on a free transfer this summer, club chiefs have sought to keep Meyer at the club, having changed their minds following his performances for the Champions League chasers this term.
However Meyer, who has been with the club for nine years, has rejected a £5million-a-year deal at the Veltins Arena.
Schalke CEO Christian Heidel had been hopeful earlier this month that Meyer would elect to stay in Gelsenkirchen.
"Max is very happy here, Schalke is his home, we will try to make it him as comfortable financially as possible," he said.
"He is playing the best season of his life, and the coach has found a position for him that Max didn't believe he could play."
But now, as they make plans for next season, Heidel has admitted: “At the moment, we’re still ready to talk, but we have to plan for the new season.
“Domenico Tedesco has formed the team around him, so that Max Meyer is now in an ideal position. That wasn’t the case before. He has to think, regardless of the economic aspect, ‘would I be in this position at another club?'”
Schalke have lost both Joel Martip and Sead Kolasinac on free transfers to the Premier League - to Liverpool and Arsenal respectively - in recent summers.
Meyer captained Germany's U21 side to European Championship glory last summer, and has also won four senior caps.
Source: Daily Mirror
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