Holtby is 22 years of age and is captain of the German Under-21 team who will be taking part in the Euro Under-21 championships in Israel during the summer. Holtby joined Schalke in the summer of 2009 from Alemannia Aachen where he had made 35 League and Cup appearances, scoring 10 goals. He made six appearances for Schalke then in January 2010 he went out on loan to VfL Bochum for the rest of the season. He spent the next season with Mainz 05 before returning to Schalke where he has made a total of 78 League and Cup appearances, including experience in the Champions League. His goal tally for Schalke is 13. He has made three appearances for the full German international team, making his debut in a friendly in November, 2010 and then his competitive debut the following June in a Euro 2012 qualifying match.
Tottenham’s move to complete the signing during this month’s transfer window appears to have been sparked by the injury to Sandro. Tottenham were keen to strengthen the midfield after the loss of the Brazilian for the rest of the season and Schalke were eager to receive a transfer fee rather than the compensation set by UEFA for the transfer of young players at the end of their contracts. Holtby is not, however, a direct replacement for Sandro, being more of a creative midfield player.
Holtby’s father is from Liverpool and it was always Lewis’ intention to play for a Premier League club. His signing will give Andre Villas-Boas more options in a midfield which has lacked some creativity since the summer departure of Luka Modric.