Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes has signed a new contract to extend his stay at the Veltins-Arena until 2020, as confirmed via a statement on the club’s official website.
The 27-year-old defender has been at Schalke for 15 years and said he is thrilled to continue his career in Gelsenkirchen for another four years.
"My heart was thumping when I put pen to paper," he said.
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"Schalke 04 is a great club with amazing fans, a club I am thankful to for developing me as a youth player in the Knappenschmiede academy."
Howedes’ decision to sign an extension with his boyhood club has shut the door on reported interest from Arsenal, who have been scouring the transfer market for another centre-back to challenge Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista.
The 2014 World Cup winner was reportedly available for as little as £9 million during the final year of his previous contract, which presented a tempting opportunity for the Gunners to snap up a top-quality defender for a cut-price fee.
However, it's believed the latest agreement does not contain a release clause of any amount. This is likely intended to capitalise on Howedes’ affection for Schalke and give the club more control over the compensation they could demand if he were to leave in the future.
Although the versatile defender is a centre-back by trade, he is comfortable operating across the back line, which is an appealing trait given the increasingly tactical demands of the modern game.
It is not difficult to gather why Arsene Wenger was interested in the Schalke icon, but the Gunners boss will now have to search elsewhere if he wants to add some defensive reinforcements over the summer.