Adam Szalai to Schalke, “It is up to me to seize the opportunity”

After much speculations and rumors of a move abroad, one of the Bundesliga’s most sought after strikers, Adam Szalai, completed his move to Schalke this week.  The 25-year-old Hungarian underwent his medical in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday following a reported transfer of eight million Euros from Mainz.

Szalai is Schalke’s third signing after Felipe Santana and Christian Clemens and will add much needed reinforcements up top along with competition for Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.  After stints with Stuttgart and Real Madrid’s B team in his early days and a three year spell at Mainz, in which he established himself as one of the best in his position in the league, Szalai will now have a chance to play at the highest level in the Champions League next season.

Admittedly, Szalai had several other offers from clubs around Europe but was adamant about staying in the Bundesliga and making sure that Mainz benefitted from his move, he told Nemzeti Sport:

Well, I can tell you know that besides Schalke other teams were interested in me last season, but I can’t tell you their names, it wouldn’t be fair. I made my decision throughout last season and I told this to the leadership of the club and of course to Thomas Tuchel. The reason why I extended my contract – which was due to expire this summer – was that in this case the club would get some money for me, that was the minimum I could do.

Never shy of adversity despite facing stiff competition in the form of Huntelaar, in a one-striker formation no less, Szalai declared he’s up for the challenge and will make the best of the opportunity presented to him.

I know what I’m doing. I started working in Stuttgart, in Madrid, in Mainz that I knew there is competition and nothing is granted. That is normal. It is up to me if I can seize the opportunity.

For a while in the 2011/12 season, in which he missed the first half of the campaign, it seemed like Szalai’s career was in danger of being derailed.  And this past season as well, he suffered an injury that forced him to miss the final month of the season.  Despite that, he always fought his way back from injury to continue doing what he does best, score goals.  And his time at Schalke should be no different.

Considering that a few years ago in Madrid I watched Huntelaar from the stands with my mouth open and now we are teammates, or that I’m going to play with one the biggest german talents, Julian Draxler or play with Michel Bastos you can understand that I’m proud of my career.

Two years ago at Mainz, Szalai, along with Lewis Holtby and Andre Schürrle made up one of the Bundesliag’s most dangerous trios and their live band celebration attracted the moniker “Bruchweg Boys” as Mainz finished a surprise fifth in the league, their highest in club history.  The “band” is dispersed now despite rumors of a “reunion” in England but the three still stay in contact.

Yeah, I spoke to Lewis recently and he told me it’s my fault that our band didn’t come together in London, but I told him, I can’t be in a better place than the Bundesliga.

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Cristian Nyari

Cristian is a football writer and analyst living in New York City, fascinated with the history and study of the beautiful game and all it entails. Follow Cristian on twitter @Cnyari

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