FC Schalke 04 signed Michael Gregoritsch on a loan deal in the winter transfer window, but the former Augsburg star failed to establish himself as a starter.
After his first game with FC Schalke 04, it looked like Michael Gregoritsch would be a dream addition. The former FC Augsburg prospect scored and assisted in a 2-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach, playing a key role in the Royal Blues’ dominant performance against a team they were also in contention with for a Champions League place.
However, Gregoritsch’s play fell off sharply in the following matches. He never scored or assisted after his dream debut against Gladbach. After recording four key passes in an incredible display against the Foals, per WhoScored.com, the forward only had two key passes the rest of the season and played the full 90 minutes just twice more.
Gregoritsch’s deal with Augsburg did not have an option to buy, but the Austrian international was so high on joining Schalke that there were rumblings he could try to join Die Knappen permanently if his loan spell were successful.
Here are three reasons why that won’t happen.
1. The Cost
Augsburg and other smaller Bundesliga clubs will have to sell star players in order to stay afloat, so Michael Gregoritsch could be expendable from their perspective. After all, they have a few significantly more productive attackers, such as 2019-2020 breakout star Florian Niederlechner.
However, Schalke aren’t in a great financial situation either after missing out on any sort of European competition in 2019-2020. They have their own financial worries, such as Benjamin Stambouli‘s future wages or their ability to sign future superstar center back Jean-Clair Todibo permanently from FC Barcelona.
Despite a woeful patch of games, Gregoritsch is still worth seven million euros, per Transfermarkt, and has promise in the right setup at the age of 25. There are teams that would be more likely to meet Augsburg’s asking price than the Royal Blues.
2. Not the right fit?
Michael Gregoritsch was a difference-maker in Schalke’s first game of the Rückrunde vs. Gladbach, setting up so many great chances for others and generally making a nuisance of himself in the opposition’s final third.
However, Gregoritsch looked completely out of sorts in other games and did not show any sort of chemistry with Benito Raman or the other attackers. Gregoritsch made poor runs off the ball and wouldn’t come back to help midfielders who needed a passing option. His play was stagnant, and it just didn’t seem like he was a positional fit for Schalke.
When Gregoritsch played, Raman had to move to the right to accommodate him, which hurt Raman’s effectiveness. And since Schalke received encouraging performances from Raman and paid for him last summer, they will want to make sure the young Belgian forward has every opportunity to succeed. If Gregoritsch is a roadblock to Raman’s form, then he’s out of place.
3. Two young stars
When adjusting to statistics per 90 minutes, Kutucu led Schalke with 3.4 dribbles per 90, even beating out one-time MVP candidate Amine Harit.
Matondo isn’t as dynamic on the ball as Kutucu, but he is a positive, hard-working player who can make dangerous runs off the ball as a striker or put in a real shift on either wing.
In Kutucu or Matondo, Schalke could have a great partner for Raman in the attack. Although Gregoritsch’s display against Gladbach was worth praising highly, Kutucu and Matondo both had better 2019-2020 seasons than the older, more expensive Augsburg forward.
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Sticking with those two is the best policy for Schalke, and they need to really do whatever they can to put Kutucu in a position to break out. He had some particularly encouraging showings as a substitute in 2019-2020.