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Bundesliga

Germany midfielder Holtby to quit Schalke

Bundesliga side Schalke has announced that midfield star Lewis Holtby is to leave the club at the end of the season. The German international is said to be a target of clubs in England, as well as Bayern Munich.

Schalke Sports Director Horst Heldt said in a statement on Friday that Holtby, who joined the club in 2009, had declined an offer to renew his contract beyond 2013.

Referring to an earlier announcement that the player's Schalke teammate Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had extended his own contract with the club, Heldt said the club had been keen for Holtby to do the same.

"We hoped that Lewis would also see his future, even beyond the season, as being at Schalke," said Heldt, while adding that Holtby had now taken "a personal decision that we respect."

The 22-year-old - who has both German and British citizenship - has previously expressed an interest in playing in the English Premier League, with Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur reported to be interested.

Schalke's announcement means the player could make a move as soon as January. That would allow the Gelsenkirchen side to receive a fee for the player rather than see him leave on a free transfer. Heldt confirmed such a move was possible.

As well as the interest from England, media reports have linked Holtby with Bayern Munich. However, the Bavarian connection was dismissed by the player's agent on Thursday.

Although his father is English, Holtby opted to play for Germany last year and now has three caps for the national side.

rc/hc (AP,dpa)