Schalke: The big question about extending Daniel Caligiuri

Schalke are now considering extending their two soon-to-be free agents, Daniel Caligiuri and Benjamin Stambouli. But for Caligiuri, there’s one big question.

Schalke‘s far-too-common problem of letting valuable players walk for free is about to strike again in the coming transfer window. Alexander Nubel has already packed his bags for Bayern Munich and Benjamin Stambouli and Daniel Caligiuri were just a matter of where, as their contracts were set to expire as well.

But in the pause, Die Knappen have reignited interest in keeping both Stambouli and Caligiuri around and extending their contracts. For Stambouli, it’s his versatility that makes him so valuable, being able to play centerback or defensive midfield.

For Caligiuri, it’s something else. Sure, Caligiuri is versatile too. He can play anything on the right flank and just about anything on the left as well. There’s an inherent value to that.

This season, however, he has been playing almost exclusively on the right side of the midfield and he has been woefully inconsistent. I often remark that Caligiuri is capable of quite literally anything, and I still believe that.

The problem is it’s been so hit and miss that he is covering the whole spectrum of ‘anything’ in less than one full season.

So what do Schalke want with extending Caligiuri? Well, other than avoiding the embarrassment of letting yet another player walk for free, they have to ask themselves an important question—who is going to play rightback next year?

By all accounts, Jonjoe Kenny will not be possible. Despite both parties wanting the move, Everton will likely be looking for more money than the Blues are ready to stump up, despite a mutual interest of staying together.

The only other people that have played rightback are Timo Becker, who is also at the end of his contract; Weston McKennie, who needs to be in the midfield; and, you guessed it, Daniel Caligiuri.

There is a very realistic future where Caligiuri is our starting rightback again. He got moved forward to accommodate his preference in the attack and to make way for Jonjoe Kenny, but for the most part, his athleticism makes him a viable, if not unexciting rightback. He can do the job, basically.

We shouldn’t be setting the bar at “he can do the job,” but it’s not the worst idea to avoid having to shell out on a Kenny-esque rightback to take his place.