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Holtby heading to Tottenham in January; Verbeek praises Maher

FC Schalke 04 No. 10 Lewis Holtby is set to join Spurs during the winter transfer window after the two clubs agreed a fee of €1.5 million for the player.

FC Schalke 04 No. 10 Lewis Holtby is set to join Tottenham Hotspur during the winter transfer window after the two clubs agreed a fee of €1.5 million for the Germany Under-21 international, ESPN understands.

Holtby, 22, has already put pen to paper on a five-year pre-contract at White Hart Lane, forcing Schalke 04 to cash in on their ace instead of allowing him to leave on a free transfer in the summer.

Spurs revived their interest in bringing Holtby to North London in January following the season-ending injury to in-form Brazil international midfielder Sandro.

After rejecting Spurs’ initial attempt to lure the 22-year-old to White Hart Lane, Schalke 04 finally gave in for a modest fee of €1.5 million.

The Germany Under-21 international is probably worth more than €25 million, and is undoubtedly Andre Villas-Boas’ best piece of business in the transfer market since leaving Portuguese Primeira Liga giants FC Porto for the Premier League in 2011.

“We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement with Schalke for the immediate transfer of Lewis Holtby,” read a statement on Spurs’ official website.

“We have found the best solution for all parties involved. Lewis had signalled that he was not reluctant to leave the club early and five months before the end of his contract FC Schalke 04 has received a decent transfer fee,” added Schalke 04 manager Horst Heldt.

The departure of Holtby leaves Schalke 04 at less than full strength with a UEFA Champions League tie against Turkish Super League leaders Galatasaray on the horizon.

The Royal Blues are now reportedly set to swoop for Olympique Lyonnais winger Michel Bastos.

Bastos, 29, is scheduled to undergo a medical at the club on Monday, with Schalke 04 set to sign him on loan until 2014.

The deal will cost the Bundesliga side €1.85 million, and includes an option to make the switch permanent at the end of both seasons.

Verbeek praises Maher

AZ Alkmaar boss Gertjan Verbeek has heaped praise on 19-year-old attacking midfielder Adam Maher, while insisting that ‘Arsenal is a perfect club for him,’ according to Sky Sports.

The Holland international ace is reportedly attracting interest from a number of top clubs across Europe, including English Premier League duo Arsenal and Manchester City.

Verbeek has somewhat tipped the balance in the Gunners’ favour upon revealing that a move to the Emirates Stadium would be in the best interest of the player.

“I think Arsenal is a perfect club for him. With Arsene Wenger, who worked with young talents like him before,” Verbeek told Studio Voetbal.

“He can get the most out of himself at Arsenal. Look at Robin van Persie, he joined Arsenal at a young age and look what he achieved.”

However, a deal may not be on the horizon, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger having revealed that the club are not close to signing any players at the moment.

Mon 28 January, 2013
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