Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Leon Goretzka (right) of Germany embraced during a recent game with German. Getty


  • The 22-year-old midfielder will be a free-agent in the summer.
  • Recent reports in Spain claimed that the Catalans are considering paying up to £13.2m to sign him in January.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen has encouraged Barcelona to complete the signing of "fantastic" Leon Goretzka from Schalke 04 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.

Goretzka, 22, has emerged a one of the most sought after midfielders around Europe, with his contract at Schalke expiring at the end of the current season.

Barcelona, Bayern Munich and some Premier League clubs were linked with his services in the summer after he proved to be one of the sensations of Confederations Cup, helping Germany to win the title and even scoring two goals in the semi-final victory over Mexico.

Speculation linking him with a move to the Nou Camp has increased in recent weeks with Barca's technical secretary Robert Fernandez having been spotted at a number of Schalke games during the opening part of the season.

Last month, Barcelona's international adviser Ariedo Braida also watched Goretzka scoring a stunning free-kick during Schalke's 1-1 draw against Bayer Leverkusen.

It has been said that Bayern were in the pole position to secure his services on a free at the end of the season.

However, Mundo Deportivo reported last month that Barcelona were considering hijacking that move by trying to acquire his services during the upcoming January transfer window.

The Spanish publication says that Barcelona were ready to pay around €10m or €15m (£13.2m, $17.5m) to convince Schalke to part ways with him in the middle of the season instead of losing him for nothing in the summer.

Earlier this month, Mundo Deportivo insisted that there is "unanimity" among the Barcelona board that signing a 22-year-old German for a cut-price fee is a tempting transfer opportunity.

And Ter Stegen has now backed Barcelona to make the move after admitting that whoever get the services of his compatriot will be a lucky side.

Questioned during an interview with WAZ whether Goretzka has what it takes to play for Barcelona, Ter Stegen replied: "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."

"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]."