Schalke: The case for extending Benjamin Stambouli’s contract

Schalke 04, Benjamin Stambouli (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Schalke 04, Benjamin Stambouli (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

Schalke have enough issues to worry about right now, but it’s never the wrong time to consider someone’s future, and Benjamin Stambouli still has one.

Just a week or so ago, Schalke announced that Benjamin Stambouli was officially ruled out for the year. We kind of already knew that as he and Salif Sane both suffered long-term injuries that required surgery, but hearing it for sure has raised the question of whether or not Stambouli has played his last game in Gelsenkirchen.

The general consensus is that he has. That we should let him go and move on. I’m of the opposite opinion. And this year has drastically changed my point of view. Had you asked me last summer, I would have said that Stambouli, Daniel Caligiuri and Bastian Oczipka all should have been let go (on frees… because of poor management).

Nowadays, not so much.

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Part of that is because we have seen how awful defensive injuries have been this year. It hasn’t bit us all that much (5-0 losses notwithstanding) because of the emergence of Ozan Kabak and the health of Matija Nastasic.

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Then we brought in Jean-Clair Todibo to pad that defense and he’s looking just as good.

All things considered, that means we have Kabak, Nastasic, Todibo, and Sane ready for next year. So what’s the point of Stambouli? Glad you asked.

With Stambouli, we have security. Four centerbacks are, as proven this year, dicey. Five is safe. Five is completely safe. It may also seem excessive, but even so, Stambouli began as a defensive midfielder, in case you’ve forgotten, and he still has the propensity to play there.

Speaking of positions you can never take for granted, Omar Mascarell is so important to us that an injury to him (I get sick even thinking about it) would be detrimental. Having a sturdy defensive option to fill in in exactly such a pinch is why you want to keep hold of guys like Stambouli.

Compiling on that, he’s only 29-years-old, and he’s just like Oczipka. If we’re okay counting on Oczipka and his intrinsic reliability, why then wouldn’t we also count on Stambouli? He’s been a trooper for Die Knappen, he’s still useful and I just really, really hate seeing guys leave the club for free.

Like, really hate.

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So yeah, we should offer him a new contract. Though I’m not so sure that David Wagner thinks the same.