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Premier League

Lewis Holtby snubs Arsenal to join rivals Tottenham

Germany international has signed a pre-contract agreement to join in the summer

Tottenham have won the race to sign the highly-rated Germany international Lewis Holtby.

The Schalke 04 midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and has signed a pre-contract agreement to move to White Hart Lane in the summer.

Announcing the news on Tottenham's official website, a statement read: "We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement with Germany Under-21 captain Lewis Holtby to join the Club in July from Bundesliga side Schalke, subject to a medical."

Holtby has been eagerly sought since announcing he would not be extending his contract with Schalke and was wanted by Arsenal, particularly after impressive performances against them in the Champions League earlier this season.

There was a firm offer from Liverpool, who were the first Premier League club to show real interest. There had also been informal enquiries from Everton.

It was Holtby's preference that he plays for a club with a guarantee of European competition and while Internazionale and Valencia also made enquiries the 22-year-old had a long-held plan to come to England.

Although he was eligible to play for England through his father, a former soldier in the British army who used to be stationed in Monchengladbach, Holtby opted to represent his country of birth.

He rose through the national youth team ranks before earning three full caps for Germany.

He is the current captain of the Germany Under-21 side and is expected to lead the team at this summer's European Championship in Israel.

Yesterday Steffen Freund, Tottenham’s assistant head coach, said Holtby would adapt quickly to football in England. “For Lewis it would not be a problem because he is half-English and loves the Premier League,” Freund is quoted by The Evening Standard as saying. “I know him, he is the captain of the German Under-21 team and will lead them at the European Championship in Israel next summer.

“He is out of contract at the age of 22. I don’t think I have to say any more. I don’t know him well but what I can say is that he is a really good player."