Barely used by Mauricio Pochettino, Nabil Bentaleb’s loan move to Schalke 04 last summer will have been a relief for the young midfielder, who’d spent much of the previous season either injured or on the bench.
The Tottenham loanee has since enjoyed a very positive season with the Bundesliga side, becoming a key member of their squad, and there’s a strong chance the player could stay there next season, with an automatic clause close to being triggered.
We relayed an article from Bild on Tuesday claiming that one more appearance would see Schalke have to pay Tottenham €19m for Bentaleb, with the midfielder signing a four year deal on the back of the fee being paid.
However, Kicker had previously reported this month the German side had some concerns about Bentaleb wanting European football, something they seem unlikely to be able to obtain considering their current league position, leading to doubts about his future in the Bundesliga.
Moving to the French media, FootMercato on Wednesday back up Bild’s claims, with the website reporting their own information, stating a €21m clause is very much present, and will be triggered in a handful of appearances.
They also add that a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ is in place between Bentaleb and Schalke that could see the midfielder leave as early as this summer if an offer of €30-35m were to land on the Bundesliga club’s desk.
FootMercato then go on to claim that both Manchester United and Liverpool are following the player closely, which makes some sense considering both clubs’ needs.
José Mourinho’s midfield for next season certainly needs some new blood, with Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger ageing and likely to leave, and Bentaleb’s ability to sit in front of the defence as well as score and create (five goals and five assists this season) could make him a viable candidate.
As for Liverpool, their continuous links with Atalanta’s Franck Kessié certainly suggest Jürgen Klopp is looking for a new midfielder, one capable of replacing Lucas Leiva, who has been linked with a return to Brazil quite a lot recently.
It would be a surprise if Tottenham don’t have a clause in the Bentaleb deal which would see them get a large percentage of profit if Schalke sell him immediately.