By Paul Clennam
Manchester United have entered the race to sign Schalke starlet Julian Draxler.
Club scouts have watched the 20-year-old five times this season with a view to pursuing a move for him next summer.
United boss David Moyes has been an admirer of Draxler for more than two years and hopes that a deal can be struck with Schalke despite interest also coming from a number of top European clubs.
|VIEW FROM GERMANY
|By Daniel Buse | Goal Germany
"Draxler, faced with huge expectations, has not performed consistently on a brilliant level this season.
"Nevertheless, he has led Schalke into the group stages of the Champions League - without his stellar performance against PAOK in Saloniki, they would be playing in the Europa League.
"He has something special that makes him a standout performer but he is not yet at 100 per cent. Thus far, Draxler has been involved in nine Schalke goals in 18 competitive matches, which, with his potential, is not enough. He can do better and he knows it."
Draxler's preferred option is a move to La Liga but he would also entertain the idea of playing for a Premier League giant if he feels that a move is right for him.
Draxler has a €45.5 million release clause in his contract. United would like to try and strike a deal for €35m, but it seems unlikely that Schalke will accept anything less than his buyout price.
The German rejected a pre-contract approach from Chelsea in July and it is thought in Germany that he will look at potential moves following this summer's World Cup in Brazil.
Draxler, who signed a new contract at the Veltins Arena in May despite being linked heavily with a switch to Schalke's rivals Dortmund, revealed ahead of Germany's friendly against England at Wembley that he would be open to a future move to the Premier League.
"I like English football. I like the Premier League, of course - it's one of the best leagues in the world," he told the BBC on Tuesday.
"You have big clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea - of course it's a big dream to play for one of them.
"I have my favourite team but, at the moment, I'm at Schalke. I don't want to talk about other clubs."
Draxler came on as a second-half substitute as Germany won 1-0 on Tuesday and impressed United defender Rio Ferdinand, who praised the attacker on Twitter.
"The kid Draxler has got some ... liked what I've seen of him up to now," wrote the centre-back.