Schalke 04: Ozan Kabak tasked with reviving investment reputation

Ozan Kabak, Schalke 04 (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Ozan Kabak, Schalke 04 (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images) /

Schalke 04 doesn’t have a good history of big-money investments, but Ozan Kaba could be the guy to change that once and for all.

Schalke 04’s record in the transfer window isn’t a good one. They are among the best in the world at developing young talent, but they are not the best in the world at investing in talent, and that shows when you look at where they invest their money. Ozan Kabak could change that, however.

Among the top ten most expensive transfers in club history, you’ll see such names as Kevin-Prince Boateng, Johannes Geis, and Yevhen Konoplyanka—all ill-fated deals that were not money well spent. Move even further up that list to the top four and you’ll see a similar story. The most expensive is Breel Embolo, who was sold for a cut-rate after proving not up to the task of breathing life into this attack.

At No. 2, Nabil Bentaleb who, while always a decent presence, has not gelled with the state of the club and is likely headed for an exit. At No. 3, Sebastian Rudy, who has been a moot point for ages, despite the fee he commanded.

Ozan Kabak finally justifying a Schalke 04 investment

No. 4 is Ozan Kabak, who received a healthy investment of $16.50m. That’s the kind of fee that Die Knappen does not throw idly about, but it’s also the kind of fee that has lead to more than a few duds.

Which is just one of the reasons why it’s such good news that this sum was spent on Kabak, because he is already proving to be up to the price tag he wielded. Not just that, but his market value has already doubled since joining the Royal Blues.

Kabak started the season on the bench, buried behind Salif Sane, Benjamin Stambouli, and Matija Nastasic, all of whom were solid, reliable defenders who were well-equipped to keep Kabak on the bench, especially as we hadn’t yet seen what Kabak could do. We’d just heard all about his talents, and we’d seen the price tag.

But once he took the pitch, it was immediately clear that he was worthy of the investment. He elevated himself to arguably our best centerback and he thrived not just on defense, but scoring goals on set-pieces too.

Just like that, a big-money (by Schalke’s standards) investment looked to be worthy of the price tag.

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There’s still a lot of time to reevaluate how this goes, but all signs point to money finally being well spent after so many years of it not being.