Schalke’s Time to Forgive and Forget? The Return of Sidney Sam

It all seemed pretty cut and dry at the time-Sidney Sam was ‘persona non grata’ at the Veltins Arena following the fall-out from Schalke’s defeat to Köln.  Sam was out on his ear with no future at the club.

As the club statement at the time read: ‘Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt announced there would be consequences after Sunday’s defeat away to 1. FC Köln and the first action has been taken: Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam have been suspended indefinitely from the club with immediate effect’.

It wasn’t made clear the precise reasons for such a rash reaction, but it was clear that it was the end of the road for Boateng and Sam. It’s over, finito, the end, we’re through!

Sidney Sam
Sidney Sam

While the Königsblauen have stuck to their guns over Boateng and can’t wait to sever ties and get him off their wage bill, Sam on the other hand looks to have been forgiven and given a route back to the first-team.

With a potential move to Eintracht Frankfurt falling through earlier this summer, the 27-year-old has returned to pre-season training and new trainer Andre Breitenreiter seems prepared to give the former Bayer Leverkusen attacker another chance.

Quite what was behind the failed medical at Frankfurt (a kidney problem was reported) remains unconfirmed, but could it prove to be a blessing in disguise for Schalke?

“Sidney Sam will be joining us on Thursday,” Breitenreiter told the club’s official website. “He spoke with me last week. We had a long and intense conversation in which he has shown himself very insightful and humble.

“Sidney wants what he has not done well in the past, to make now much better and asked for a second chance. Ultimately we want to give him this opportunity. We have all made mistakes at some point. Horst Heldt has given his okay.”

Was Sam hard done by with the suspension along with Boateng?

You can understand the frustration with the Ghanaian international, who had put in a host of lethargic performances and then capped it all by smoking and drinking alcohol just prior to a drugs test in February 2014.

Sam however, who only joined the club last summer, was hampered by knee and hamstring injuries, but put in some quite impressive displays prior to that, showing clear potential.

With Jefferson Farfan recently departed to Al-Jazira in the UAE, Julian Draxler reportedly close to signing for Juventus, and Xherdan Shaqiri stalling over a move, it could be highly pragmatic decision to forgive and forget. Sam’s talent was clear for all to see during his four seasons at Leverkusen and the potential to return to top form is clearly there. One could make a legitimate argument that Heldt would be cutting off his nose to spite his face were he not to reconsider his original decision concerning Sam’s future with Schalke.

There is a reason Armin Veh wanted to take him to Frankfurt, and there is a reason he became a German international while at Leverkusen- he’s a highly talented footballer.

The decision to forgive and forget in Gelsenkirchen could well prove an astute one.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.