Holtby flags Schalke exit
Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby has confirmed his intention to leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season.
The 22-year-old has decided against renewing his contract, which expires in the off-season, after failing to reach an agreement with the Bundesliga outfit.
The former Alemannia Aachen star had been locked in negotiations with his employers for several months but, after team-mate and Holland international Klaas-Jan Huntelaar agreed a new deal earlier in December, the club feel they can afford to let the Liverpool and Arsenal target leave.
The club's general manager Horst Heldt has indicated Schalke respect Holtby's decision but is confident he can still play an important role in the remainder of the team's season.
"We wished that Lewis saw his future at Schalke," Heldt told the club's official website.
"But like Klaas-Jan now he has made a personal decision that we respect.
"We are sure that he will give (everything) up to the last day of the season to make the contribution of our team successful."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is reportedly interested in the midfielder and the club now appear favourites to secure the services of Holtby in at the end of the campaign.
However, several of Europe's top teams are also said to be interested, including Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, with Arsenal the other Premier League outfit reportedly linked with a move.