Arsenal appear to have stolen a march on ​Premier League rivals Liverpool in the fierce pursuit of Schalke and Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka, a player believed to have many of Europe's top clubs chasing his signature.

Goretzka has been heavily linked with a switch to ​Liverpool, as well as Manchester United, Barcelona, ​Juventus and ​Bayern Munich, in recent weeks, but a claim from The Sun suggests that Arsenal are currently best placed to win the battle.


22-year-old Goretzka is due to be out of contract at the end of the season and isn't expected to sign a new deal to remain with ​Schalke. That means he is set to be available as a free agent, with the tabloid report claiming that the Gunners are 'closing in' on his signature.

It is alleged that ​Arsenal are 'confident' they have all but wrapped up a deal and are willing to pay the player handsomely, as well as offering a significant signing bonus.

In the same way there were suggestions that versatile Goretzka could replace contract rebel Emre Can at Liverpool, it could be that Arsenal have found their ideal replacement for Mesut Ozil, who has been tipped to join ​Manchester United in summer, or ​Barcelona in January.

Goretzka will officially become eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement ahead of a free summer transfer when he enters the final six months of his current contract on 1st January.

FC Schalke 04 v 1. FSV Mainz 05 - Bundesliga

The player recently explained that a decision regarding his future would be made in January.

"There isn't a deadline, but I think we are in the final phase. The final decision will be made in January," he said of his situation last week.