Julian Draxler has handed Arsenal Football Club a boost in their pursuit of the Schalke star after confessing that he was willing to consider his future if an interested suitor activated his release clause.
The Gunners were widely expected to sign the 20-year-old during the January transfer window but the North London club failed to seal a deal before the transfer day deadline.
The Germany international, who has a €45m (£40m) release clause has scored four goals and made five assists in 20 appearances in all competitions this season, a performance which had alerting the Gunners and other European clubs.
Draxler says he is happy with his current situation which allows him to weigh a new challenge if a club is willing to pay his release clause, whilst guaranteeing Schalke good monetary returns.
Draxler told German newspaper WAZ “I prolonged my contract because I feel fine here and the long-term deal shows the appreciation and popularity I enjoy at Schalke.
“It’s no secret that I have a release clause and therefore have the opportunity to consider what is best for my development every year.
“Of course, the clause leaves a lot of room for speculation, but it is also good for both sides.
“It’s good for Schalke because the club does not have to let go of me on the cheap and, in their worst-case scenario, they would still get a lot of money for me.
“And for me it’s good because I can make my own decision if a club decides to pay 45 million euros for me and I want a new challenge.”
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has announced that he will not be signing a new deal at the club.
The 28-year-old, who has a year left on his current contract, confirmed that he had met with manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
But he revealed that they disagree on the way the club should move forward.
“I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract,” the Dutchman wrote on his personal website.
The striker had previously kept quiet over his future and refused to commit to a decision until Wednesday.
The Dutchman, who joined Arsenal from Feyenoord in 2004, added: “I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC.
“Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last eight years.
“As soon as Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.”
Van Persie ended last season as the English Premier League’s top scorer with 30 goals, helping the Gunners to a third-placed finish.
Reigning champions Manchester City have been linked with a move for the prolific frontman, while European heavyweights Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are all thought to be interested.
Manager Arsene Wenger stated the importance of keeping Van Persie at the club earlier this month but the 28-year-old Dutchman has decided against prolonging his deal.