Barclays Premier League duo Arsenal and Manchester United have been dealt a huge blow in their bid to sign German defender Benedikt Höwedes this summer, according to Mirror Sport.
The Schalke defender has two years left on his contract at the Veltins-Arena and has been attracting the interest of both English giants, who are keen to strengthen in that department this summer.
With manager Roberto Di Matteo leaving the club in May after just seven months in charge, it would have been of no surprise if a number of the clubs top players, including Höwedes looked to follow suit.
However, Schalke sports director Horst Heldt has revealed the 27-year-old German World Cup winner rejected offers from two unnamed clubs which could have been from the Gunners and United, although that has not been confirmed.
“There were two offers from abroad. We are happy he decided to stay here,” Heldt said at the club’s official unveiling of new coach Andre Breitenreiter on Monday afternoon.
If reports are to be believed then both Arsene Wenger and Louis van Gaal will have to turn attentions elsewhere in order to add a centre-back to their respective squads this summer.
United’s need for a new defender is more pressing than that of their fierce rivals as it’s a position of most concern given the struggles in that area since the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
van Gaal was rarely able to field a regular centre-back pairing last year and has been linked with a host of new names this summer, with Valencia’s Nicolas Otamendi seemingly the first choice and reports in Independent Sport suggested a verbal agreement has been reached.
Meanwhile Arsenal’s apparent interest in Höwedes has come as somewhat of a surprise given the signing of Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista in the January transfer window.
Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy all provide suitable options at centre-back meaning the Gunners have more than enough cover in that department.