The left-sided Moroccan midfielder turned down offers to return to France for a move to Schalke. Initally a loan agreement, Belhanda admitted he is relishing the chance to play in the German Bundesliga.
Younes Belhanda has spoken of his delight to join Schalke on loan until the end of the season, ending a difficult season at Dynamo Kyiv.
The winger had two successful seasons in Ukraine with three domestic honours, but conflict has ravaged the country's domestic game in recent years. But rather than return home to France, Belhanda opted for a move to Gelsenkirchen, a decision that required little time to think over.
"When Schalke knocked at the door, I didn't take long to make my mind up," he told Schalke's official website at the club's training camp in Orlando. "I was fired up and motivated to try and complete the move. It's always been a dream of mine to play in the Bundesliga. To be able to play for such a big club like S04 is obviously a huge bonus."
The 25-year-old winger boasts excellent pace and control on the ball, mixed with aggression and directness. "I want to use my strengths to help the team and I want to try and bring my style of play to our game," Belhanda added. "My aim is to be effective going forward and create a lot of goal chances. I want to be a player who plays key passes."
Born in France, but a Moroccan international, Belhanda arrives with the right pedigree. In 2012, Belhanda helped Montpellier clinch their first-ever French championship with 12 goals in 28 league matches. He signed a five-year-deal at Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kyiv, but admitted after two seasons in Kiev that he was looking for a change.
As a youth player, he was courted by PSG, Lyon and Marseille, his playing style based around Zinedine Zidane. "When I was a kid, I was always mesmerised by Zidane. He really was an unbelievable footballer. In the Bundesliga I always admired Johan Micoud of Werder Bremen. He had such an elegant touch."