FC Schalke 04 will likely sell disgruntled center midfielder Nabil Bentaleb this winter, and they could replace him with a talented Serie A midfielder in Seko Fofana.
Nabil Bentaleb is a talented center midfielder who joined FC Schalke 04 a couple of years ago to a great deal of fanfare after a successful loan spell from Tottenham, and while he’ll most likely be sold this winter after never getting a fair shake this season after injury, he showed his quality at times for the Royal Blues.
But since Bentaleb will be sold for a fresh start, Schalke have to mull over center midfield options to replace him. The club’s depth in midfield has taken a hit after Weston McKennie dislocated his shoulder against Eintracht Frankfurt in December, and while his recovery seems to be going well, the Royal Blues have to start prioritizing depth as the gear up for a huge Rückrunde; they are squarely in the race for a Champions League spot.
Per a report from FootMercato.net, Schalke have reportedly shown interest in Seko Fofana, who is enjoying a strong 2019-2020 season with Udinese in Serie A. The report most strongly links Fofana to Galatasaray as a replacement for Steven N’Zonzi.
Fofana is an attacking-minded center midfielder who is smooth on the ball. Per WhoScored.com, the Ivory Coast international has completed 86.7% of his passes with 1.1 key passes per game, one goal, and two assists. Fofana has nine appearances, with five of those being starts.
The 24-year-old is trending upwards and has shown that he’s a quality center midfielder who can start in a pinch for a club like Schalke. He is of Schalke quality, though he would be a backup on a team with Amine Harit, Suat Serdar, and Omar Mascarell playing at a world-class level this season at three very different midfield positions.
Still, the depth should help the Royal Blues. Like Bentaleb, Fofana is a smart, technical player. He’d bring attacking fluidity off the bench and would be an interesting complement on the bench to McKennie, who is more of the grind-it-out defender in midfield.
It’s unlikely Schalke end up signing Fofana, who looks bound for Galatasaray. But it is nonetheless interesting – and encouraging – to see the club monitoring a quality, relatively young player who is on the rise in Italy’s top flight.