Schalke: There’s no better time for Malick Thiaw to stay put

Schalke youngster Malick Thiaw is receiving a lot of interest, but there is no better time in his career to stay put. Just look around, young man.

In the span of about a week, both AC Milan and Liverpool registered interest for young Schalke centerback Malick Thiaw. This is a club that’s used to such situations. They are a factory of talented young players and that factory populates so many of the top clubs across the world stage.

Malick Thiaw is just the latest to draw attention, but times, they are a-changing (ain’t that right, Bob Dylan?). With Die Knappen aiming to stay consistently relevant in European Football and get back to their rightful place competing for Bundesliga titles, there really is no better time to be a youngster coming up through Knappenschmiede.

But it’s more than that. It’s not just a “the team is doing better, so you should stay and help them do that.” Even honing in specifically on Thiaw and his situation, there is no better time to be a young, talented centerback at FC Schalke.

I’ve been talking a lot about the defensive situation lately, and for just cause. With rumors abounding that Jean-Clair Todibo is going to stay permanently, it may seem counterintuitive for Thiaw to also see his future no immediately blocked.

But it’s not.

As we saw this year, injuries are vicious. But obviously Thiaw doesn’t want to count on injuries. He won’t have to, though. Wagner put all his faith in Ozan Kabak, who was just as old as Thiaw will be next year, to back up the Salif Sane/Benjamin Stambouli duo. When they both went down, he went right to Kabak, who did the job and has now earned his starting job next to Salif Sane.

Depending on what Matija Nastasic does, that leaves Sane and Kabak starting, with Nastasic and Todibo in behind. Thiaw would essentially be walking into a swing role with plenty of opportunities to rise up the ranks. Defensive mobility at this club is clear and obvious, and all Thiaw has to do is prove himself a couple of times before he drives Nastasic or even Sane aside.

Again, that’s what Kabak did. He got his chance, took it, and is now irreplaceable.

Going to Liverpool or Milan or anywhere else would not accommodate him so nicely. He’s on a fast track at a club that promotes youth before they make signings. If he doesn’t breakthrough next year, it’ll be the next. Easy.