Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly joined the race to sign Leon Goretzka ahead of the upcoming January transfer window but the Schalke 04 midfielder is said to be determined to wait until the summer to complete a free-agent move to Barcelona.
Mundo Deportivo claims that the La Liga giants and the German international "have an agreement" for the 22-year-old to join Ernesto Valverde's side when his current contract at Schalke expires at the end of the season.
Goretzka has been heavily linked with Barcelona since his impressive performances during the summer Confederations Cup, helping Germany to win the title and even scoring two goals in the semi-final victory over Mexico.
At the time Bayern Munich were said to be in pole position to win the race but the speculation linking him with Barcelona have increased after club technical secretary Robert Fernandez was spotted at a number of Schalke games during the opening part of the season.
It was said that the La Liga giants were even considering paying a cut-price fee to get his services in January in order to avoid more suitors joining the battle in the summer.
However, earlier this month Mundo Deportivo suggested that the club could finally delay his arrival until the summer in order to focus in the January pursuit of Liverpool star Phillippe Coutinho.
Then the Spanish publications already claimed that Goretzka had already made the decision to join Barcelona having turned down the overtures of Bayern, Juventus and Liverpool.
Now Mundo Deportivo says that Barcelona have found an "unexpected ally" in the race with Schalke having decided to keep him until the end of his contract.
The Spanish publication says that Juventus, Liverpool and also Tottenham have made enquiries to sound out his availability for the January window but were told that Goretzka is going nowhere until the summer.
Mundo Deportivo says that Barcelona maintain regular contact with Goretzka's entourage and "both parties have an agreement to wait until the end of the season for the player to join Valverde's side".
Yet, there is nothing signed and the report also added that the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool or Juventus could still join the "auction" in the summer by offering more money to the player to change his mind.
Barcelona, according to the report, are closely tracking the situation to avoid that with hopes that the close relationship between Marc-Andre ter Stegen and the player could also help them to win the race.
Nevertheless, the keeper recently encouraged his club to complete his signing after claiming that his national teammate is ready to play for one of the top European clubs and will only get better in the future.
"Leon is a fantastic player. I like him as a footballer and as a man. He has outstanding footballing qualities. I have to say that he could play for one of the top European clubs," Ter Stegen said.
"What I have seen of him in the national team is extraordinary and remarkable. I also think he will get better in the future. I don't know who will get him in the end. Maybe he stays with Schalke 04 and then you can only congratulate the club [that get his services]."