FC Schalke 04 have been linked to goalkeepers recently, but here’s why they should stand by Markus Schubert as the starter next season.
Teams are always looking to optimize their lineups, but in light of the 2019-2020 Bundesliga season potentially being canceled for good, FC Schalke 04 must be more prudent than usual with where they choose to invest their money.
Recently, we’ve seen the Royal Blues linked to goalkeepers to replace Alexander Nübel, who will exit to Bayern Munich in the summer on a free transfer. Hendrik van Crombrugge, who is coming off an exceptional season at Anderlecht, has been frequently mentioned. And even Zack Steffen was rumored before it became clear that he isn’t a realistic option.
With the caveat that the rumor mill isn’t always a reflection of reality, I’m more puzzled that Schalke seem so interested in adding another goalkeeper. I understand the Royal Blues may want to find a direct replacement for Nübel, but don’t they already have one in Schubert? And if we’re being honest, Schubert is a better player than the departing Germany international.
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Perhaps Schalke are hesitant with giving Schubert the “keys to the kingdom”, so to speak, at the age of 22 when the 2020-2021 season opens.
Plus, the only time Schubert looked nervous was against Bayern at the Allianz Arena. And that happens to basically every young defensive player.
Statistically, Schubert was one of the Bundesliga’s best goalkeepers last season. He first made a name for himself by making insane saves when Nübel was suspended.
And Schubert never made an awful mistake outside of the Bayern loss, whereas Nübel consistently made poor decisions, even in the Hinrunde when he was actually playing well.
According to FBRef.com, Schubert had the second-best post-shot expected goals minus goals allowed mark in the league. Nübel was in the “red” in this statistic in 13th.
The only goalkeeper rated above Schubert was Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Yann Sommer, who is widely regarded as the Bundesliga’s best. Peter Gulasci and Lukas Hradecky, who are also highly-regarded, were in the top five behind Schubert.
So while this statistic can suggest a keeper is more lucky than good, it often suggests a keeper is saving shots that are expected goals. Since Schubert rates so much more highly than Nübel – they had, more or less, the same defense – and is among established great keepers in the league, it’s fair to suggest that Schubert is on track to be one of the best in the league.
And he did all this in first season at Schalke from Dynamo Dresden as a 21-year-old. If Schubert’s nerves get the better of him, the Royal Blues should take the lumps and let a future superstar develop. They’ll also have a steady veteran – and former captain – in Ralf Fährmann returning from loan.
Do Schalke need to purchase another keeper? No way! It would be a waste of financial resources and another roadblock to Schubert developing into a, likely, better keeper than the talented young man leaving them for Manuel Neuer‘s backup spot.