FC Schalke 04 don’t need to buy any center backs, yet they have been linked with a young defender from Ligue 1.
If there’s one position FC Schalke 04 are especially well-stocked at, then it is center back. Even if Benjamin Stambouli and the Royal Blues cannot agree to a new contract before the summer transfer window opens, Die Knappen will have Salif Sane, Ozan Kabak, and Matija Nastasic as three legitimately great central defenders.
Jean-Clair Todibo will also be on his way back to FC Barcelona, but prospect Malick Thiaw will ensure the club has multiple talented young center backs in the squad.
Despite the lack of a need for a center back, that hasn’t stopped the Royal Blues from being linked with another young player at the position.
According to a report from FussballTransfers.com, Schalke are among the teams with interest in OGC Nice defender Malang Sarr. The 21-year-old is favored to move to Bayer Leverkusen, but a handful of other Bundesliga teams are interested, including Die Knappen’s arch rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Schalke don’t have any money to be making major moves, but Sarr would be a free transfer with his contract expiring at the end of the 2019-2020 season. And since there will be no more Ligue 1 season, Sarr has his future ahead of him.
Since the Royal Blues have to think about re-signing Daniel Caligiuri and Stambouli, they won’t be making competitive offers for Sarr. It’s hard to see Sarr being a better short-term option than Stambouli, and they don’t need a long-term option with Kabak starring and Thiaw developing well. Thiaw wants more playing time, too. Schalke will already have to juggle a bunch of talented players’ minutes next season, so adding Sarr to the mix would only complicate things.
Last season, Sarr had a whopping 1.9 interceptions per game for Nice and could become a big star in defense in the Bundesliga. Bayer would make a ton of sense for him given their needs in defense, and the same could be said for the likes of Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg. But the Royal Blues should save their money in this case.