Record Italian football champions Juventus have strengthened their backline with the addition of Germany defender Benedikt Höwedes from Schalke on a season-long loan deal with an option to buy.
"In acquiring Höwedes, the Bianconeri have signed a very dependable player, who up until now has spent his entire career at Schalke," Juventus said on their website on Wednesday.
The Turin giants said that the loan fee is 3.5 million euros ($4.15 million) and that they will be obliged to make the deal permanent for 13 million euros ($15.41 million) if the 29-year-old makes at least 25 appearances during the 2017-18 football season.
Juventus wanted a central defender after Leonardo Bonucci's departure to AC Milan. Howedes, who also can play as a left-back or a right-back, will be Juventus' fifth central defence option.
Höwedes was part of a German side that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He was one of just three German players, including Manuel Neuer and Philipp Lahm to play every single minute of Germany's successful World Cup campaign.
The German defender currently has 44 senior caps to his name and two goals.
He was named the captain of Schalke in 2011 and went on to make a total of 240 appearances in all competitions for the team from Gelsenkirchen, scoring 12 goals. His honours at club level, include a German Cup and German Super Cup.
"My first emotions were pretty overwhelmed, I mean this is such a big club and Turin is also a very nice city," Howedes told Juventus TV.
"For me, Juventus is one of the biggest clubs in the world, one of the five biggest, and they are very successful in the last couple of years and I want to be part of it, to do my job here, to be successful in future and do my best."
(With IANS Inputs).