The FC Schalke 04 team is taking shape. The Bundesliga returnee is supposedly taking unusual paths. The additions that the Royal Blues have already made and still want to make should primarily meet two criteria: They must be experienced enough to be able to help immediately with the mission to remain in the class – but at the same time fit into the tight budget.
A prime example is the recent commitment. Maya Yoshida, the captain of the Japan national team, is anything but a prospect at the age of 33. But thanks to the 119 caps and 154 Premier League appearances that the central defender made for Southampton FC between 2010 and 2012, sporting director Rouven Schröder believes he is capable of becoming a leader.
“In terms of football, body and character, he has everything he needs to play an important role in our team,” said Schröder about the designated defense chief. Striker veteran Sebastian Polter (31), who came from VfL Bochum, also fits into this pattern.
Schröder is in the process of making the squad for the first division, which was almost completely reassembled after relegation a year ago, fit for competition. Not an easy task. Although the salary budget for the team will be increased by 50 percent from 20 to 40 million euros, there are still dangers lurking in the planning.
The reason are high earners like Amine Harit and Ozan Kabak. Schröder has to sell players in order to be able to make further commitments. Last season he managed to lend the expensive duo. Now it could happen that Harit and Kabak return to Schalke. “We see in exchange,” said Schröder.
There are expensive legacy issues that Schröder has to deal with. Harit, who was on loan at Olympique Marseille last season, and Kabak, who played at Norwich City, are said to be sold if possible to bring in a fee. Schalke secretly hopes for around eight million euros per player.
Marseille are interested in a permanent Harit signing, but the change in coach there has stalled talks. The situation in the Kabak case is similar: OGC Nice had made a preliminary assessment, but there was also a change of coach there.
Schalke were able to draw a line under the Hamza Mendyl chapter. The Moroccan national player, who was never able to assert himself at Schalke, is making a permanent move to the Belgian first division club OH Löwen.