Barcelona's hopes of signing Leon Goretzka during the January transfer window have suffered a setback, with reports in Germany claiming Schalke 04 are ready to keep the coveted midfielder until the summer – even though his contract is due to expire at the end of the season.
Sport Bild reports that the Bundesliga outfit are unlikely to negotiate his departure in January because they would lose up to 40% cent of any potential fee due to various clauses inserted in his contract.
Goretzka moved to the Veltins-Arena from Bochum in the summer of 2013, and the German publication claims his former side will be due 20% of a future transfer after inserting a sell-on clause in that deal.
Furthermore, it is said that the player and his agents would also earn 20% of any fee received by Schalke in a potential sale to other club.
Sport Bild says that both Barcelona and Bayern Munich are closely monitoring the situation, but Schalke are reluctant to sell him in January even though they will lose for free in the summer – unless the player agrees to sign a new deal at the Veltins-Arena stadium.
Schalke understand that Goretzka's continuity could be crucial for the club to achieve their targets, with Domenico Tedesco's side being current in the ninth place of the Bundesliga table, nine points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.
The news from Sport Bild would be a big setback for Barcelona in their hopes of securing the services of the 22-year-old midfielder during the coming January transfer window.
Mundo Deportivo has been reporting that Barcelona plann to advance his arrival to January in order to beat competition from Bayern Munich – and avoid more clubs joining the battle next summer.
The Spanish publication have said that the Catalans were even ready to pay around €10m or €15m (£13.4m, $17.6m) for his services despite knowing he will be a free agent in the summer.
Barcelona's international adviser, Ariedo Braida, travelled to Germany to watch him in action during Schalke's 1-1 draw against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday, with Goretzka scoring a stunning free-kick.
And earlier this week Mundo Deportivo insisted that there is "unanimity" among the Barcelona board that his arrival to the Nou Camp would be a great signing for manager Ernesto Valverde.
Barcelona could still try to sign the Germany international ahead of the summer transfer window if they don't convince Schalke to cash in on in January.
However, they would face stiff competition to secure his services as Bayern won't be the only club interested in signing such a talent on a free-agent move.