Barcelona's chief international scout Ariedo Braida has played down talk suggesting the Catalan giants will make a January move for Schalke star Leon Goretzka.
Braida was in attendance last Friday [29 September] as Schalke were held to a 1-1 draw against Bayer Leverkusen with the 22-year-old midfielder thought to be the centre of his attention – scoring his side's only goal of the game with a superbly-struck free kick.
The Germany international is out of contract at the end of the 2017-18 season with Barcelona said to be keen on wrapping up a deal before Bayern Munich get their hands on another German talent, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Reports had claimed Barcelona might not wait until next summer when Goretzka will be available on a free transfer and will instead strike a cut-price deal with Schalke in January to try and beat Bayern to the punch.
According to Bild, Braida was also in town to watch over Bayer Leverkusen's 21-year-old centre-half Jonathan Tah last Friday. And while the Barca scout has been impressed with what he has seen from Goretzka, a move this January could be too soon for the club.
Asked about the Germany international, Braida said: "Without a doubt he is a great player. But it is too soon for Barcelona," SPORT report.
Of Braida's trip to Germany, Mundo Deportivo claim that the Barcelona chief also took the opportunity to cast an eye over Bayer Leverkusen duo Julian Brandt and Benjamin Henrichs and Goretzka's teammate Max Meyer.
Henrichs, 20, plays as a full-back for Leverkusen and is among the 25 contenders to win the 2017 'Golden Boy' award - given to young players in Europe under the age of 21 - alongside the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Marcus Rashford. Brandt, meanwhile, has long been regarded as one of Germany's brightest young attacking talents.
Meyer finds himself in a similar position to that of Goretzka in that his current deal with Schalke expires at the end of the season. Tottenham attempted to sign Meyer in the summer of 2017, only to have their offer turned away.