Liverpool have been hit with a blow in their reported chase of German starlet Leon Goretzka, with Schalke offering the 22-year-old a bumper new deal in an effort to ward off interest from Europe's bigger clubs.
The Reds are among the clubs hoping to pick up the youngster either on the cheap in January or on a free in the summer, with his contract at the Veltins-Arena running out at the end of the season.
Leon Goretzka has now been directly involved in 7 goals for Germany in 12 games.
5 goals ⚽️
2 assists ️
An absurd backheel. pic.twitter.com/0ltk5pXX12
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 8, 2017
However, Bild report that the German sleeping giants have offered Goretzka up to €8m a year in a potential new deal, plus an exit clause in the instance of a top Champions League side coming along with the willingness to pay for his services.
Manager Christian Heidel said: "We go to the pain threshold and have done everything to show Leon that he is extremely important to Schalke."
A January sale remains unlikely even if no deal is agreed before the winter transfer window opens, with various clauses in contracts and deals meaning that around half of any income would go straight out to various parties including VfL Bochum (20%) and Goretzka and his agent Jörg Neubauer (20%).
Heidel added: "For us, there were always two options: either it is extended or remains until 2018. It was never a topic for us to issue it. We believe that it is best for him to stay here. The ball is now with Leon."
However, he did admit that a new deal would only draw out any potential transfer saga in order to earn Die Königsblauen some value back in the transfer market, adding: "An extension does not mean that he plays here until 2027."