Schalke 04 midfielder, Lewis Holtby, whose future was seemingly destined for North London with English club Tottenham Hotspur, has thrown doubt about his next move by admitting his dream would be to play for the club both he and his father support, Everton.
London based newspaper, The Sunday Express, today reported Holtby as saying,
“I used to sit with my dad in front of the TV and long to play in England. My father has been an Everton fan since he was five and he infected me with the Everton virus! Since then I have been an Everton fan. It would be realising a dream for me to play in the Premier League one day.”
This admission represents a huge twist in this transfer saga, as Tottenham believed they would get their man in the summer on a free transfer after the German international had signed a pre-contract agreement only last week.
It is also believed that Holtby’s club, Schalke, are willing to let him leave Gelsenkirchen during this transfer window so they can recover some sort of fee for a player who is likely to command plenty of interest from clubs both in the Bundesliga and the Premier League.
The agreement Holtby has signed with Spurs relates to a move in the summer but does not bind him to leaving to join another club during this transfer window should the right offer for player and club come along.
With the proposed summer transfer now in jeopardy, it is possible Tottenham may be persuaded by today’s news to offer cash to secure the services of their man earlier than scheduled. But the reports will also alert other potential new employers that the Holtby move may not be a done deal after all, and at the head of that queue could be the 22-year-old’s boyhood favourites, Everton.
The Goodison Park club, currently in the race to finish in a Champions League qualification place, are desperate to bolster their squad with creative midfield talent as the season moves towards its conclusion and with the longer term possibility of losing star man Marouane Fellaini in the summer, manager David Moyes will be keen to add quality to his club as soon as possible.
Although one of England’s largest clubs, Everton notably suffer from a lack of available finances for permanent transfers. The loan market has been successfully farmed over recent years by Moyes. But with a very reasonable £1.5 million price tag attached to the player, a daring raid by the Toffees could give the young German with an English father his dream move to Merseyside.
Schalke’s managing director, Horst Heldt, has admitted that Holtby could move this month if the club can find a replacement within the time constraints of the January window.
So could Holtby be about to swap the blue of Schalke for the blue of Everton? Watch this space….