Heldt plays down Huntelaar exit talk
Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has played down speculation that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar could leave the club in January.
Netherlands star Huntelaar, 29, is in the final year of his contract and has recently been linked with several European clubs, with Gazzetta dello Sport suggesting a move to Inter Milan and L’Equipe claiming Arsenal have already agreed terms over a winter move.
“At this point, these stories are no more than fairytales to me,” Heldt told waz.de. “I have not heard anything about it.”
Schalke and Huntelaar have continued to stress that they will resume talks about a new contract in January, although the player has argued that he wants to have clarity over the identity of the Schalke coach for next season before making any decision. There has been speculation over the future of Huub Stevens, who is also in the final year of his contract.
Meanwhile, Heldt remains open to the possibility of signing a replacement for injured Greece international Kyriakos Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos had to undergo knee surgery on Monday and is set to be absent for some time, with Heldt saying the club “can’t rule anything out”.
Though the club still has four centre-backs available, only Benedikt Howedes can be deemed reliable. Cameroon international Joel Matip, 21, has not found his form playing in defence, while former Real Madrid star Christoph Metzelder is injury-prone and it remains to be seen whether 19-year-old Sead Kolasniac can step up.