Tottenham may want to think twice about dealing with Schalke, and opening the door for one of the club's superstars to move to rivals Arsenal.
It's the potential destination for Holtby which causes concern, a return to former club Schalke as suggested by the player's agent yesterday.
Marcus Noack told Bild: "Lewis is desperate to play, which is why we are looking intensively for solutions, Schalke is an interesting option."
It's easy to see why Holtby is so keen to transfer, for he finds himself well down the list of midfielder minutes played in the Premier League compared to his teammates, only playing narrowly more than Etienne Capoue who missed two months with injury, while Christian Eriksen has featured far more despite missing six weeks.
The problem is for Spurs if they sell Lewis Holtby back to Schalke, they are helping the German side prepare for the eventual departure of Julian Draxler.
The prodigious German international has been widely linked with Arsenal, and is even claimed to be in regular contact with Arsene Wenger and had a tour of the Gunners training ground.
Having recently signed Sidney Sam from Bayer Leverkusen, German newspaper Bild go onto speculate that by acquiring Holtby, they would be purchasing Draxler's replacements early.
It leaves Spurs in an uncomfortable position. In the summer they sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, which caused the Spanish side to sell Mesut Ozil to Arsenal to balance the books.
While Draxler - who has a release clause of €45 million which can be activated in the summer - may be sold in any case, surely the last thing Spurs want to risk doing is speeding up the process?
image: © achimh