By Hassan Talib Haji
Schalke have agreed terms with Mainz defender Jan Kirchhoff, Goal.com can exclusively reveal.
The Gelsenkirchen club's general manager, Horst Heldt, had admitted that there was interest in the Germany Under-21 international, whose current contract runs out in the summer.
And Schalke have moved swiftly ahead of the January transfer window to ensure the centre-back is willing to sign a deal which will keep him at the Bundesliga side until 2016.
A serious knee injury to key defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos has caused the club - who currently sit seventh in the German top division - to react by splashing out at the start of 2013.
Christoph Moritz is believed to be wanted by Mainz, raising the possibility of the Bundesliga clubs sorting out a transfer exchange deal during the winter transfer window.
A switch to Schalke would offer Kirchhoff the opportunity of Champions League football this season too, as the squad finished top of Group B ahead of Arsenal, Olympiakos and Montpellier.
They will face Galatasaray in the last 16 of the elite European competition.