Ozan Kabak‘s quick rise at Schalke shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise, but seeing his value already doubled is still a satisfying situation to see.
Schalke‘s defense has been the unanimous positive talking point of the season, and for just cause. Not only have they managed to keep their defensive solidity through a handful of injuries, but they’ve also managed to sprout some serious hype around their young defensive talents, with Ozan Kabak taking the majority of the cake.
What started with the solidity of Salif Sane and Benjamin Stambouli quickly had to be manipulated, as both went down with season-ending injuries, and with Matija Nastasic also struggling to stay healthy, so much revolved around Ozan Kabak, the 19-year-old defensive wonderboy.
It takes someone special to be plugged into a battered defense on a team that relies so much on that defense. But Kabak wasn’t just plugged in, you could argue he upgraded the defense.
Seeing Kabak instantaneously settle in was pretty remarkable, the way he was perfectly comfortable defending every kind of situation, from aerial duels to racing back one-on-one against opposing strikers.
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Also, consider that the lad kept scoring goals on set pieces. It was like a mini-Naldo.
It became apparent incredibly quickly that even if Stambouli and Sane were healthy, Kabak would have to be starting. He was just too good not too.
Perhaps we should have expected this. After all, £15m is a lot to spend on a teenage defender, but Die Knappen has a track record of spending wisely, so the fact that they were willing to drop that much on him should have been a sign that he was something special. We shouldn’t have even needed that first fantastic foray into professional football to see it firsthand.
By that token, it also shouldn’t be all that surprising that Kabak’s value has already doubled in about half a season. Schalke purchased him for £15m and he is now valued at £30m. And all I can think to say is “duh.” It’s like his rapid growth was completely natural and expected, even with how remarkable it was to watch and be a part of.
Monetary value doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re hoping to keep a player forever, as we should be planning for with Kabak. And I mean forever. But it’s still nice to know, in a weird way, that it’s being seen around the world just how good he is.