Wednesday, 21st November, 2012
Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt has told in-demand duo Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lewis Holtby that they stand a better chance of consistently playing in the Champions League at the Ruhr giants than at Arsenal or Liverpool.
The English Premier League powerhouses are leading the hunt for Dutch striker Huntelaar and German midfielder Holtby, with both players’ contracts expiring next summer.
Neither Huntelaar nor Holtby has penned an extension yet, with the Dutch goal-getter keeping his options open ahead of a potential switch to the English Premier League, while Holtby’s desire to play in the country of his father’s birth is well-known.
Schalke are desperate to keep hold of both stars though and Heldt has insisted that, if regular Champions League football is what they want, they are better off remaining in Gelsenkirchen, rather than moving to Anfield or the Emirates Stadium.
"Schalke have a better chance of playing in the Champions League consistently than Liverpool or Arsenal", the German club’s sporting director told Bild.
Heldt also insisted that progress to the Round of 16 in this year’s competition, which would be sealed tonight if Huub Stevens’ men can defeat Olympiacos, is crucial to convincing Huntelaar and Holtby to stay put, as well as financially important.
"Financially it is extremely important to still be in the Champions League over winter", he said.
"The players also look at it to know where the club is heading."
Huntelaar is Schalke’s main goal threat and has already shown his potency against Arsenal in the Champions League this season, scoring both at the Emirates Stadium and on home turf, as the Ruhr giants took four points from the two meetings.
Holtby meanwhile is also similarly highly rated and has attracted much attention from England. The 22-year-old midfielder is a key part of Schalke’s attacking threat and a Germany international.
The Ruhr giants recently vowed to intensify talks with both players.
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