Tottenham Hotspur have signed Lewis Holtby from Schalke 04.
The German midfielder had agreed to join in the summer when his contract expired but Spurs and Schalke agreed a €1.75m deal to bring the transfer forward to this month. Spurs are now finalising his paperwork although it is unclear if he will be ready to play at Norwich City on Wednesday night.
Holtby is a 22-year-old attacking midfielder who has captained Germany Under-21, and has been hailed by Steffen Freund as a “perfect signing” for Spurs. Tottenham have missed central creativity since selling Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart last summer, with Gylfi Sigurdsson struggling to have much of an impact so far at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham assistant manager Freund knows Holtby from his time working for the German football federation and spoke warmly about him earlier this month when the initial pre-contract deal was done.
"He can play behind the striker, on the wings, he can play centre of midfield and he has already a lot of experience," Freund said. "We were looking at him for a few months, that is why we are sure he will strengthen our squad.
“I don’t like to compare him to other players. His natural position in the past was the No 10 in the 4-2-3-1, behind the striker. He can play the final pass and he is really skilful and the perfect signing for our philosophy.”
Freund is confident Holtby will adapt quickly to English football. “I know him really well as I worked for the German FA,” Freund said. “I know he is a really good character, he loves the Premiership, he loves England and his father is English, so everything comes together.”