Schalke 04 have offered Leon Goretzka a lucrative club-record deal in order to keep the talented midfielder at the Veltins-Arena amid interest from a whole host of European heavyweights including Arsenal and Barcelona, according to the latest reports from Germany.
Goretzka has emerged as one of the hottest properties in European football over recent months due to a combination of his stellar form for both club and country and the fact that his current contract is set to expire at the end of the season.
The 22-year-old is free to negotiate with foreign suitors in January and the Mail reported last week that Arsenal, facing stern competition from several rivals including Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern Munich and Juventus, were set to open talks over a possible agreement for next season.
However, Mundo Deportivo subsequently suggested that Goretzka held a face-to-face meeting with two Barcelona officials during the November international break in order to reaffirm his desire to move to Catalonia and discuss a potential summer switch to the Nou Camp.
Blaugrana general manager Pep Segura and other officials are already believed to have met with agent Jorg Neubauer, meanwhile.
Despite many already considering his exit a foregone conclusion, sporting director Christian Heidel recently insisted that Schalke "remain in the race" for Goretzka, who has made 129 senior appearances for the club since joining from VFL Bochum in 2013.
Bild now claim that Die Konigsblauen have submitted the German international a contract proposal that would pay him €12m (£10.7m, $14.2m) per year including bonuses and, perhaps even more crucially, contains a buyout clause "in the mid double-digit million range" that would make it easier for him to depart in the future.
Goretzka, previously dismissive of speculation that he had already agreed to join Bayern in 2018-19, is said to be happy with the direction under new head coach Domenico Tedesco, who had led Schalke to their highest position in the Bundesliga standings - second - since November 2012 after being hired as the successor to the sacked Markus Weinzierl in June.
He was introduced as a first-half replacement for Franco Di Santo on Saturday [25 November] as the seven-time German champions, now third courtesy of RB Leipzig's win over Werder Bremen, recovered from being four goals down inside 25 minutes to draw 4-4 with 10-man Borussia Dortmund in an extraordinary Ruhr derby clash at the Westfalenstadion.
Heidel is apparently hoping that such an incredible experience may play a role in helping Goretzka to stay in Gelsenkirchen, where progress finally seems to be being made after years of frustrating underachievement.