Schalke in transfer negotiations for USMNT, Hertha DF Brooks

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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U.S. national team defender John Brooks is playing some of the best soccer of his young career, which has the 22-year-old center back drawing interest from clubs much bigger and much more perennially dominant than his current employers, Hertha Berlin.

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Though Hertha are currently third in the Bundesliga, four points clear of fourth in their bid for automatic qualification into next season’s UEFA Champions League, the money in Germany’s top flight still resides in the accounts of Champions League regulars like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke.

It’s the last of those three who have reportedly recently agreed a deal to send defender Joel Matip to Premier League side Liverpool and view the 6-foot-4 German-born giant as a possible replacement. In a recent interview, Schalke chairman Clemens Tonnies mentioned Brooks, as well as Tottenham Hotspur summer signing Kevin Wimmer, as someone for whom he is in “intensive discussions.”

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Hertha have engaged in discussions with Brooks’ representatives over a new contract to extend his stay in the German capital. His current contract expires at the end of the 2016-17 season. The January transfer window closes in Germany on Feb. 1, just as in the Premier League.