Schalke 04: When to expect what’s expected of Rabbi Matondo

Rabbi Matondo has not been at Schalke 04 for over a year, so when can we start seeing what we’ve been expecting to see from him?

On January 30, 2019, Schalke 04 spent around £11m on 18-year-old Rabbi Matondo. With a four and a half year deal to his name, Matondo’s hype train piled up incredibly quickly and the expectations were getting a bit unrealistic.

But here we are, nearly 16 months later, and the question I think we all want to know is when we can expect what we are expecting from Rabbi Matondo? Schalke do not spend money idly and while their history of spending big-ish money isn’t exactly flattering, it has led to some pretty successful tenures at the club.

More specifically though, Schalke fans had just seen Ahmed Kutucu hit the ground running and this year, we’ve seen Ozan Kabak propel himself up our defender charts. Both guys are 19-years-old. The same age as Rabbi Matondo, who is still struggling to figure out what exactly his place is in this whole rebuild.

Schalke 04 expects greatness from Rabbi Matondo—but when?

Against Borussia Dortmund, we saw Matondo for 45 minutes and there was one instance in particular where we saw what he can do and what the hold up is. Matondo infiltrated down the right-hand flank with his speed and dribbling, he cut inside, shaking defenders left and right…

…and then he just rallied. And rallied. And never pulled the trigger on a shot or a pass. He just kept dribbling until he got shut down. Just like that, the attack was over.

Matondo’s final ball has been a major issue with his development. He has almost everything else down. He is a wizard with the ball and can shake just about anyone he’s matchup against, but until that confidence develops with the final ball, he can dribble all he wants, it isn’t going to amount to much of anything.

This is why, in 20 Bundesliga appearances and over 800 minutes played, he has just one goal and no assists to his name. Matondo is a work in progress, but that progress is being held up by one crucial step.

So when can we expect what we expect from the young Welshman? Next season. The Revierderby should have pushed David Wagner over the edge towards more substantial immediate changes and I’d like to believe that means more Matondo and more Ahmed Kutucu, since they are a bigger part of the long-term than Benito Raman and Daniel Caligiuri.

800 minutes is not a lot of time. Once he starts flirting with 2000-2500 minutes, we should start to see those developments settling in and that’s when we can expect Matondo to evolve into a more reliable player.

When that comes is up to David Wagner, but if he can just get to 1200ish minutes this year, he will be well on his way to being a breakout star next year.