Out-of-favour Spurs midfielder wanted back in Germany.
Bundesliga side Schalke may look to exercise a buy-back clause in the contract of Tottenham midfielder Lewis Holtby in an attempt to lure him back to the club this January, CaughtOffside understands.
The German international left Schalke for Spurs last winter in a £1.4m deal after emerging as one of the best young players in the Bundesliga, though he has since failed to adapt to English football and make a real impact on the Spurs first-team.
The 22-year-old had often been linked with a move to the Premier League due to his having a British father, an Everton fan, but he may now be tempted to return to Germany to kick-start his career again, at the club where he first found his best form.
Schalke have first refusal on Holtby should Spurs choose to sell him, and were also keen to insert a buy-back clause when they agreed to his move, meaning they could potentially bring him back to the club for around £6.5m, should he agree to the move as well.
A loan move could also be an option for Holtby, who has publicly said he will stay at White Hart Lane and fight for his place, though realistically his chances seem even more limited now with the numerous new signings made by Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas during this summer’s transfer window.
With plenty of money to spend from the £85m sale of star player Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham have been able to make major investments to their squad, and have brought in several players that can play in the same position as Holtby.
Brazilian midfielder Paulinho has joined the club from Corinthians, Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen has joined from Ajax, and Belgian winger Nacer Chadli has joined from FC Twente, all taking up three roles Holtby is able to fill.
At his old club Schalke, however, there could be a gap left that he can fill by January, with the probability that big clubs from around Europe will come in for another of their highly coveted assets, 19-year-old attacker Julian Draxler.
Arsenal and Chelsea were strongly linked with the skillful midfielder at points during the summer, though Schalke were insistent that he would not be sold for any price. However, as interest continues to grow in this top young talent, they may be willing to sell him on if there was a chance of convincing Holtby to come back as a replacement.
Holtby is still undecided on his future at Tottenham, and may have a clearer picture of his first-team involvement by the time the transfer window opens again in the new year.