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Leon Goretzka could still stay at Schalke, says sporting director Heidel

He's been strongly linked with Barcelona and Bayern Munich in recent weeks but Leon Goretzka could still sign a new deal at Schalke, according to the club's sporting director. Goretzka's current contract expires in June.

The young midfielder has enjoyed a breakout 2017, starring in Germany's Condfederations Cup win before racking up four goals in nine Bundesliga appearances this term, as Schalke have risen to fourth in the table under new coach Domenico Tedesco.

The 22-year-old will be able leave the Royal Blues for nothing on June 30 but Schalke's sporting director Christian Heidel told Monday's edition of German football magazine kicker that he could stay with the club he joined from Bochum in 2013.

"I have faith in Leon and his advisers. We remain in the race," Heidel said.

Goretzka is missing Germany's friendly games against England and France through injury but is expected to make the World Cup squad next year after impressing national team coach Joachim Löw.

Leon Goretzka on the ball for Germany against Northern Ireland (Reuters/C. Kilcoyne)

Leon Goretzka has impressed for Germany

But it's his relationship with his boss at club level that Heidel thinks may tempt the midfielder to stick in Gelsenkirchen, despite interest from a number of Europe's leading clubs.

 "I know that he thinks highly of the coach and realizes that Schalke are getting better with Tedesco. I once told him 'you must become the boss at Schalke and then leave one day as Mister Schalke,'" Heidel said.

Heidel said he expcets more players will run down their contracts in the future because of the rises in transfer fees but also expressed hope that midfielder Max Meyer will stay on as well after rejecting a first contract renewal offer beyond 2018.

Schalke have seen several talented youngsters leave in recent seasons, including Julian Draxler, Leroy Sane and Joel Matip, who left on a free transfer in 2016.

Watch video 00:44

Leon Goretzka - from Bochum to the big-time!

(mp DPA/SID)

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