Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool will bid to sign German U21 captain Lewis Holtby from Bundesliga side Schalke 04 as the midfielder looks to tie up his future before his contract runs out in the summer.
The 22 year old has said he would like to move to the Premier League and recently refused to renew his contract with Schalke, meaning that he can agree a pre-contract with overseas clubs from January 1st and the club.
Schalke would prefer to keep the attacking midfielder for the remainder of the season as they look to progress past Galatasary in the Champions League and manager Jens Keller sees Holtby as crucial to their success in the competition as well as helping them qualify again.
Holtby caught the eye of the Premier League clubs through is performances against Arsenal in the group stages this year when he confirmed much of the hype that has built up about him in European football over the last few years.
Tottenham have been reported as being closest to signing the youngster and though Andre Villas-Boas says that Spurs are unlikely to bring in any first team signings in January, the Portugese manager is searching for players to replace the departed Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart