FC Schalke 04 sign talented teenager Leon Goretzka
Last season, Goretzka as a 17-year-old played 32 matches for VfL Bochum in the German second tier and comparisons with the legendary Michael Ballack are being made.
It took the transfer a while to be completed this summer, actually it still isn’t complete with financial details to be worked out but Leon Goretzka yesterday had his first training session with the royal blues as a guest player.
Asked why he moved to Schalke, Goretzka said, “I was determined to take the next step in my career and I want to continue developing on a high level. With this objective in mind I see Schalke as the right address for me. The conditions are perfect here. The standard in training is higher. Schalke are a big club who are always in contention at the top and represented in Europe.”
“I also want to finish my school-leaving exams, for me that’s very important. By moving to Schalke, I’m not compelled to change schools in the decisive phase. The club and my school have assured me of their full support. I’m very grateful for that because at no time was it an option for me to leave school early,” Goretzka added.
The Goretzka signing follows the new Schalke 04 strategy of signing talented, young German players. The club already has in-house talents in 19-year-old Julian Draxler, who is a regular with the first team and a German international; then there’s 17-year-old Max Meyer, who is said to be the next big thing in German football, and 20-year-old defender Sead Kolasinac. Besides these, the club signed 21-year-old Christian Clemens from FC Koln.
About the new strategy of giving youngsters a chance Goretzka said, “it was certainly one of the key reasons for my move! Schalke’s youth work has been superb for years. The way young players are developed here is outstanding. Julian Draxler is a very good example of that. His progress impresses me. He’s two years older than me but has already achieved an incredible amount. I think I can get the odd tip from him and learn a few things. Julian has come on fantastically well and shown that you can make it as a young player.”
The future looks bright for Schalke, but these youngsters all might need to develop into regular Bundesliga players quickly, which the demanding Schalke fans will demand.
Meanwhile, Germany can also be happy to have youngsters like Leon Goretzka following in the footsteps of Mario Götze, Thomas Müller and Julian Draxler.