FC Schalke 04 faces an uncertain future with their star man Leon Goretzka. Retired German Euro champion Oliver Bierhoff has already said that the German midfielder is moving to the Premier League, and it won’t be that unfamiliar of a feeling for the Royal Blues, who have lost Sead Kolasinac, Joel Matip, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Leroy Sane to the poachers over in England.
Max Meyer may also opt to try his fortunes across the English Channel, leaving Schalke in a familiar position – having to recoup on all the players that left them for free.
Last summer was perhaps the toughest, because, finishing 9th in the table, Schalke had no pull from European competitions. They had to convince players to join them based on the vision of Domenico Tedesco, the hope of a brighter future and, clearly the most powerful of the three, the raw emotion that Schalke supporters feel for their team. No matter who stays or who goes.
That is how the Royal Blues landed their one “big” signing of the summer, and even that one big signing was rather understated. £7 million for young Moroccan attacker Amine Harit.
Harit, 20, had also been scouted by Arsenal, among other clubs, but according to Christian Heidl at the start of the year, they were able to win over Harit through their knowledge of their target. The former Nantes man is an emotion-driven player and they appealed to him by showing him the emotion of their supporters.
Call it a way to get a quick jab at Arsenal, who nabbed their Bundesliga Team of the Year member Sead Kolasinac on a free earlier that summer.
Harit has been steadily building on momentum with his new club. He has come agonizingly close to opening his goal account and has created two assists among a slew of other chances and positive moments. His dribbling skill is reminiscent of fellow Moroccan winger, but one who did choose England, Sofiane Boufal of Southampton. Harit leads the team in dribbles completed, he’s third in chances created and, perhaps most importantly, he isn’t as remiss with the ball as, say, Boufal. Harit is one of those wonderful souls out on the wings that is protective of the ball. He is only being dispossessed 0.8 times per appearance. That’s less even than hotshot Leon Goretzka.
Being an emotion-driven player, he is only going to be further boosted by Morocco’s qualification for the World Cup, which was secured this international break, giving the crafty young attacker so much to fuel his play going into the weekend’s match-up with Hamburger SV.
As with any emotion or confidence driven player, the more you pile on that foundation, the more you can fall back on when troubles rear their ugly head, and Harit has proven to have so many building blocks just waiting to be solidified in the mortar of experience.
Which brings us to the one concern that Schalke could have – losing him.
They didn’t really mess around with this, locking him in until 2021 with his deal over the summer, giving the club plenty of time to fill his emotional tank with all the Royal Blue he can handle.
In the end, Harit may prove to be a major triumph over the predatory status of the Premier League, as he willingly chose Schalke over whatever clubs in England were clamoring over him. And if Schalke can match the emotion that has been delivered with a bit of success, then Harit may have himself a permanent home.
Header photo courtesy of ESPN FC
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