Premier League clubs have reportedly been dealt a major transfer blow as Schalke 04 midfielder Leon Goretzka has selected Barcelona as his favoured destination.
The 22-year-old has been linked with an array of European heavyweights over the past year, including English trio Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Goretzka is now into the final six months of his existing contract at the Veltins-Arena, meaning that he is free to discuss a move with rival sides from January.
Schalke are already bracing themselves for the Germany international’s exit, despite offering him a vastly improved contract that would make him the club’s highest-paid player of all time.
According to SportBild, however, Goretzka already has his sights set on Barcelona after holding positive talks with the Catalan giants behind the scenes.
Arsenal are understood to have made Goretzka their top target ahead of next summer, as they seek a replacement for contract rebel Mesut Ozil.