Belgium boss Marc Wilmots has admitted that he feels Kevin de Bruyne should consider leaving Chelsea for Schalke.
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder, who was withdrawn after 58 minutes in Thursday's 2-0 defeat against Colombia, had impressed in pre-season for the Blues, but, after consecutive starts in the first two league matches of the season, has not featured in the Premier League since September.
Wilmots has previously expressed his desire for De Bruyne to be playing first-team football in a World Cup year, and the 44-year-old coach, who has had three spells in Gelsenkirchen as a player and coach, has now given a potential loan move to the Veltins-Arena his seal of approval.
“If Kevin asked me, I could only tell him good things about Schalke,” said the Belgium boss. “Of course the final decision is up to Chelsea, who have him under contract. But Schalke is definitely a great club.
“Schalke was the best time in my whole career as a player. Unbelievable atmosphere, fantastic fans – the whole club is absolutely unique.”
Die Konigsblauen boss Jens Keller added fuel to the speculation linking De Bruyne with a move to the Veltins-Arena by lauding the young Belgian's ability and admitting the club expect to be active in the January window.
“De Bruyne has enormous quality,” he enthused. “In the winter break, we are more likely to do something rather than let players leave.”
De Bruyne was handed a brief cameo against Schalke in Chelsea's 3-0 Champions League win over the German side in November, though has only started two games – Capital One Cup ties against Swindon and Arsenal – since August.