Football: In-demand Germany international Leon Goretzka to join Bayern Munich on a free transfer in July

Leon Goretzka is out of contract with Schalke at the end of the season and will be a free transfer.
Leon Goretzka is out of contract with Schalke at the end of the season and will be a free transfer.PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have signed a contract with talented Germany international Leon Goretzka, who will join the club in July, his current side Schalke 04 said on Friday (Jan 19).

The 22-year-old midfielder, who won the Confederations Cup with Germany last year and is set to be part of their World Cup squad in June, is considered among the finest talents in his homeland.

He is out of contract with Schalke at the end of the season and will be a free transfer. Goretzka had been linked with several English Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

"Leon Goretzka informed us at the start of this week that he wanted to leave the club and join Bayern," Schalke sports director Christian Heidel told reporters.

Heidel said the player had passed a medical at Bayern on Thursday and Bayern chief executive officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had called to let Schalke know. He then signed a contract with Bayern.

"We are losing a very, very good player. He signed a contract at Bayern starting from July 1, 2018," Heidel said.

He said the club had tried everything to keep the player, who has risen to become a team leader after joining as a teenager five years ago.

Bayern are 13 points clear at the top of the table and are on course for a record-extending sixth straight German league title.