FC Schalke 04 are used to young players leaving to other clubs, but they’ll want to make sure one of their ace teenage prospects doesn’t join AC Milan in 2020.
There is little doubt that FC Schalke 04 have one of the best collections of center backs in the Bundesliga.
And if they can sign Jean-Clair Todibo permanently from FC Barcelona, they will have some of the best center backs in all of Europe.
Todibo is a gem who has shined brightly as an active, technically-prolific defender over the past several weeks. Ozan Kabak is already a superstar. Salif Sane has been one of the league’s best defenders over the past couple of seasons. Matija Nastasic is solid. Benjamin Stambouli could be on the way out, but he’s also been a top-notch Bundesliga defender for the Royal Blues.
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So Schalke could have potentially five starting-caliber center backs heading into 2020-2021, and they’ll have at least three.
Schalke’s center back depth makes it more difficult for promising 18-year-old prospect Malick Thiaw to crack the lineup and get the playing time he needs, so AC Milan may be seeing their opportunity.
Per a report from Calciomercato, AC Milan have interest in Thiaw, and that interest would increase significantly if Milan hire Ralf Rangnick.
The RB Leipzig executive is reportedly high on Thiaw, having familiarized himself with the prospect as a Bundesliga manager and head of youth development for one of Europe’s premier teams at developing young talent.
Thiaw’s situation is interesting. He has major upside and is undoubtedly a talented player.
Die Knappen will want to keep him however they can, as the Finland international can be like a Todibo or Kabak. He can be a great young center back who shows versatility and confidence on the ball.
Milan are trying to finally ascend in Serie A and return to their former glory. Signing someone like Thiaw from Schalke would be a big move for them, especially since they lost out on Kabak, who has been exceptional, to the Royal Blues last summer.
Thiaw made his Bundesliga debut for Die Knappen early in March as a substitute in a 1-1 draw with TSG Hoffenheim. If veterans like Stambouli exit this summer, then Schalke may play Thiaw more and have a greater chance at convincing him to hold off Milan’s overtures.