Lewis Holtby will join Tottenham Hotspur at the end of the season, snubbing arch North London rivals Arsenal on the way.
The 22-year-old’s decision┬áwas tipped by the influence of head coach Andre Villas-Boas at White Hart Lane.
After a tough start to the campaign, the former Porto and Chelsea boss has got to grips with his Spurs side, including the likes of foreign imports Moussa Dembele who has settled into life in England.
His planning for next season, though, and another assault on the top-four, has prompted him to make one of the signings of the year in Holtby.
Holtby has become an integral part of Schalke’s side this season, playing in the key attacking-midfield role of the 4-2-3-1 system.
The youngster’s return in the Bundesliga this season is reasonably good given the inconsistent nature of Schalke’s play. Holtby has scored three times in 17 games, setting up another five.
Last season, he only created two goals, but granted, his defensive role prevented much attacking influence. Interestingly, at Mainz, under Thomas Tuchel, he created 10 goals in the 2010-11 season.
His attacking intent, developed as a youngster playing in forward areas, was evident, in comparison with, the unfamiliar deep-lying playmaker position which he featured in up until this season.
And of course, the signing of Roman Neustadter helped solidify Holtby’s role as the main creator.
As expected of someone who developed as a kid in wide-areas at Aachen and Mainz, on loan, he has pace, energy, quick feet and a deceptive range of skill.
He is the sort of player that likes to take the game by the scruff of the neck and make things happen and is maturing into a fine central-midfielder.
It’s interesting to note Bundesliga attackers seem to be the new rock and roll at present, especially following the switch of Shinji Kagawa to Manchester United last summer.
Both he, and Holtby, have very different attributes for a similar area of the pitch. The young German likes to get more involved in the game, and will adapt quickly to the intense nature of the Premier League.
Where as, Kagawa, relied on the ball coming from deep midfielders, allowing him to focus his efforts in the final third. Holtby is a more-rounded, versatile midfielder.
His sweet left-foot will provide excellent balance to the two, or three-man, midfield next season with Holtby comfortable in moving the ball with plenty of pace.
Given his natural position, you would imagine that will allow Villas-Boas to implement a 4-3-3 setup, but a 4-2-3-1 could also work.
From a family of Evertonians, Holtby may have been influenced by Steffen Freund’s presence on the Spurs backroom staff, and will be well-received at White Hart Lane particularly for his work-ethic.
On a side-note, with the Royal Blues planning for a new era under Jens Keller, don’t rule out him pitching up at Tottenham late this month.