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Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has lived in the shadow of his more illustrious teammate Robin van Persie for the better part of his international career, despite boasting of an exceptional international record, scoring 34 times in just 59 appearances for Netherlands.
His exploits at club level have varied significantly. After setting the Duth Ere Divisie alight, a big money move to Real Madrid beckoned, but Huntelaar failed to find his feet in La Liga and was subsequently shipped off to AC Milan after just one season. His time in Italy was just as awful, but Schalke decided to take a punt on a player who seemed to have lost both his touch and his confidence.
The move to Germany though proved to be a masterstroke, and after an indifferent first season, Huntelaar smashed home 48 goals in just 47 appearances last season. He has started the 2011-12 season well too with 5 goals in 8 games, and with his contract coming to an end next summer it will come as no surprise if Europe's elite line-up outside his door once again.
While a move back to Spain or Italy appears unlikely the 29-year old striker might like the idea of trying his luck in England. Talks of a new contract between Schalke and Huntelaar have reached an impasse long back, and the club's General Manager Horst Heldt admitted in an interview with DerWesten that while he remained hopeful of keeping the player, the club has already begun looking around at alternatives.
Huntelaar could take up the option of entering into a pre-contract in January, with Schalke unlikely to agree to sell the player should they progress in the UEFA Champions League. That could also give Klaas-Jan the opportunity to demand a significant signing on fee in the absence of any transfer fee.
Top clubs in England who may look to target the player include Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle, all of whom are looking to strengthen their forward line. While Chelsea and Arsenal would promise the lure of Champions League football, the rest are likely to offer significantly more playing time, giving Huntelaar plenty of options.
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