Barcelona 'likely' to step up Leon Goretzka January pursuit as club cool interest in Maxime Lopez

Mundo Deportivo says that Schalke are keen on selling the midfielder in order to avoid losing him on a free.

Leon Goretzka has also been linked with Bayern Munich.Getty

Barcelona are said to be increasingly confident of completing the signing of Leon Goretzka from Schalke 04 a during the upcoming January transfer window.

Mundo Deportivo, on the other hand, adds that the La Liga giants have cooled their interest in Olympique Marseille starlet Maxime Lopez amid doubts over his physical strength.

The Catalans already bolstered the middle of the park during the summer transfer window with the arrival of Paulinho from Chinese outfit Guangzhou Evergrande.

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However, it has been said that Ernesto Valverde is still looking to strengthen his midfield following Barcelona's unsuccessful attempts to lure Liverpool star Phillipe Coutinho and former Real Madrid ace Angel Di Maria to the club.

Barcelona have been linked with a number of midfielders in recent weeks, including Coutinho, Jean Michael Seri, Goretzka and Lopez.

Mundo Deportivo reported on Tuesday morning (4 October) that the Catalans would still like to sign Coutinho in January if Liverpool part ways with the Brazilian for the same €80m (£70.8m, $94m) plus €30m in add-ons they rejected in the summer.

Now the Catalan publication suggests that Valverde is also likely to add another powerful midfield to his ranks in the form of Goretzka.

Yet, the arrival of the 22-year-old midfielder would be much easier as his contract at Schalke is due to expire at the end of the current season.

Bayern Munich were said to be in the pole position to sign him as a free-agent in the summer but last month Mundo Deportivo reported that Barcelona were considering hijacking the deal by bringing the move forward to the upcoming January transfer window.

The Spanish publication then said that the Catalans would be ready to pay around €10m or €15m to secure his services, with Schalke keen on completing such a deal in order to avoid losing him to a domestic rival for nothing in the summer.

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Earlier this week it emerged that Barcelona's international adviser Ariedo Braida travelled to German to watch him in action during Schalke's 1-1 draw against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday, with Goretzka scoring a stunning free-kick.

And it looks like the Barcelona chief liked what he saw as Mundo Deportivo is now saying that the "Goretzka is scoring points every day ahead of completing a move" to the Nou Camp.

The Spanish publication claims that there is currently "unanimity" among the Barcelona board that his arrival to the Nou Camp would be a great signing for Valverde. Furthermore, they insist Schalke would prefer to sell him in to Barça in January than losing him for free to Bayern at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, last month Mundo Deportivo also said that Barcelona had approached 19-year-old talent Maxime Lopez to sound out if the Marseille starlet would be willing to make a move to the Nou Camp in the future.

Real Madrid and Liverpool have also been linked with the Frenchman in recent times but the Spanish publication claims that the Catalans have cooled the interest in the player amid concerns over his physical strength. Nevertheless, the talented playmaker is only 5.4 feet tall.

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