French champions PSG have beaten Barcelona to the signing of Germany under-21 international Thilo Kehrer from Schalke.

According to a report by The Sun, Paris Saint-Germain have agreed a £33 million deal to sign Barcelona target Thilo Kehrer from Bundesliga outfit Schalke. The German youth international is expected to be headed to the French capital for a medical in the coming days, before completing the move.

The 21-year-old Kehrer moved to Schalke from the VfB Stuttgart academy back in 2012 and has risen rapidly through the youth ranks. Having broken into the first-team setup in the 2015-16 season, he became a regular member for the Bundesliga outfit from the next campaign onwards and has made 59 appearances across all competitions so far, scoring four goals and assisting four more.

In the 2017-18 season, the 21-year-old appeared 28 times in the Bundesliga, contributing with 3 goals and 2 assists, as Schalke finished as the runners-up in the German top-flight, behind winners Bayern Munich. The player was also a part of the Germany under-21 side that lifted the U21 European Championships in 2017.

Primarily a centre-back, the 21-year-old can play in full-back positions as well and has been touted as one of the finest young players coming through in Germany. His rapid rise in the past couple of seasons had led to strong interest in him from Barcelona, along with their arch-rivals Real Madrid. However, PSG have swooped in to capture his signing ahead of the Spanish giants.

Paris-bound (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Paris bound. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Confirming the transfer, Schalke’s sporting director Christian Heidel said, “In the end we decided to go for the transfer on financial grounds. Particularly since the player’s contract is due to expire next year. A few weeks ago we had actually agreed a contract extension with Thilo.

“If this offer from PSG were not to have come through, I’m sure he would have gone ahead with the extension, likewise if we had turned the offer down or in the unlikely event something was to stop this deal going ahead.”

PSG have been in the market for a new central defender all summer and have been linked with various names including Bayern Munich’s defensive stalwart Jerome Boateng. The transfer of a promising, young talent like Kehrer has the potential to pay rich dividends in the coming years for Les Parisiens.

Barcelona, on the other hand, sold Yerry Mina to Everton this summer, while another young centre-back Marlon Santos is expected to leave Camp Nou before the transfer window closes. However, the Catalans have brought in Clement Lenglet from Sevilla, to add to an already strong defensive contingent comprising of Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen.

It now remains to be seen if Barcelona set their sights elsewhere after losing out to PSG in pursuit of Kehrer, or if Ernesto Valverde deems his current options to be enough.

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