Schalke are reportedly keen on extending Benjamin Stambouli after all, and all for the better—he has so much yet to give the club.
Schalke have had a bit of trouble lately keeping hold of players. Far too often they walk for free and the club loses out on crucial funds that could be spent elsewhere. This coming summer—or fall, or whenever it happens—Benjamin Stambouli was on target to be another to talk for free. There was no talk of an extension.
Now, however, there is. According to Bulinews, Schalke are, in fact, looking to keep Stambouli beyond this year, even if that means just extending his contract to flip around and sell him rather than seeing him leave for free.
I’d argue that Stambouli should be more than just sale bait, though. This is a guy who still has so much more to give the club.
When he first arrived, Stambouli was a utility player, rotating between defensive midfield and centerback. Lately, however, he has ascended the ranks to become one of our primary centerbacks alongside Salif Sane.
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He’d still be there, if not for injuries. Nowadays, he’s likely playing catch up to Ozan Kabak, but the capacity is still there for Stambouli to play a huge role for Schalke moving forward. Whether that be a starter or as a tremendous rotational option in European competitions.
Stambouli’s ability to rotate between the two positions is something we just don’t have much of without modifying the personnel at the club. Omar Mascarell does his job well and Sane, Kabak, and Matija Nastasic do their job well, but depth is crucial, as we’re learning this year. You can never have too much defensive help. We’ve seen Mascarell get hurt, we’ve seen all our starting centerbacks hurt, we’ve seen this defensive corps decimated and if that hasn’t spurred Schalke to look into keeping Stambouli for another year, I don’t know what does.
The alternative is to buy new options. But the problem there is that Stambouli would be leaving for free. Thus, precious transfer funds that should be going towards the attack have to be turned around and invested in a defense that can be better solved by just giving Stambouli a new contract.
It’s all about practicality. Stambouli is practical, sensible, and affordable. The alternative is anything but. Until such a time that we don’t have to worry about practicality first (hopefully never), stick to keeping what works.