Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes has moved to end speculation about his future, with both Arsenal and Manchester United credited with interest, by signing a new deal with the Bundesliga club.

According to talkSPORT, Arsenal and Manchester United have both been pursuing Howedes, with the Germany international's deal with Schalke set to expire at the end of next season.

Defensive reinforcements are likely to be summer priorities for both Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, as both the Arsenal and Manchester United managers strive to bolster their back lines for different reasons.

Arsenal's defence has come in for severe criticism this season, with Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen attracting the ire of many supporters while, at Manchester United, doubts remain about the longevity of Old Trafford veterans. Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

Arsenal and Manchester United will, however, have to look elsewhere for a summer defensive target after Howedes, who has made 11 appearances for Germany, committed his future to Schalke until 2017.

"Schalke is a positive club where I feel very, very comfortable," the 25-year-old told the club's official website. "The familiar environment and the interaction with the fans is something I like."

Schalke's sporting director Horst Heldt added: "Benedikt is a home-grown performer and one of the faces of our club."

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