Liverpool have been handed a blow in their pursuit of soon-to-be free agent Leon Goretzka after Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich made their interest known in signing the midfielder.
The midfielder has entered the final six-months on his contract with the Die Königsblauen and has thus far refused their offer of a new deal said to be worth around €12m-a-year (£10.6m, $14.4m).
The Germany international has attracted interest from a number of clubs owing to his contractual situation with Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern, and Liverpool interested suitors. The Reds were installed as favourites after Jurgen Klopp identified him as a priority signing to the strengthen the midfielder as they face the possibility of Emre Can also leaving on a free transfer.
Apart from the Bavarian giants, the midfielder can negotiate a pre-contract with the other three clubs as they are outside Germany, but interest from the Bundesliga leaders could sway his head from suitors outside his homeland.
"Leon Goretzka is a great player, that's clear," Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"But he is a Schalke player and we obviously respect that. But he is a Germany international and we can say that we are interested in him," he added.
Recent reports suggested that Bayern had already reached an agreement with Goretzka over a free transfer in the summer, but the Schalke chief dismissed the speculation and confirmed that the midfielder had not yet communicated his decision to the club.
"Leon has not informed us so far that he has decided to leave us," Schalke's sporting director Christian Heidel said, as quoted by Goal.com. "I trust Leon and his agent, with whom I was in contact yesterday [Sunday, 31 December]."
The central midfielder has impressed for club and country in the last 12 months and despite Schalke's hefty offer, it is most likely that he will leave the Veltins-Arena at the end of the current campaign.
The Germany international recently revealed that a decision with regards to his future will be done in January, but made it clear that it will not be done in haste as he needs to consider 'a million things' before he decides on his next destination.