At the moment Schalke seems to be one of those clubs at which, when things go wrong, the players are slammed and the manager, and those above him, largely get away without similar criticism.
The German club had a torrid start to the season which saw them at the bottom of the Bundesliga, at one point there was a steady stream of articles about players lacking character and commitment… and it didn’t take a great leap to believe it was coming directly from those in charge at the club.
It went way over the top and Nabil Bentaleb, who had joined Schalke on loan from Tottenham, was among those getting the worst criticism. Bentaleb’s character was repeatedly slated, for no good reason, and it’s a wonder the then Tottenham owned player didn’t give up.
Since then Bentaleb has proven to be one of Schalke’s best players and a permanent move from Tottenham has been activated.
Schalke’s Bentaleb inspired good run hasn’t continued and the German club haven’t won any of their last four games. The last time Schalke did win was against PAOK in the Europa League, and one of the scorers in a 3-0 victory was Max Meyer.
Meyer is now the one getting criticism, direct from Schalke manager Markus Weinzierl. Linked repeatedly and seriously with Tottenham, it would be no surprise to see Meyer head for the welcoming arms of Mauricio Pochettino during the summer.
Germany’s Revier Sport explain that Weinzerl could have criticised the whole team after Schalke’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, but instead singled out 21 year old Meyer.
Schalke simply aren’t getting enough out of the talented youngster, and Revier explain it’s a situation which has also happened with others. That situation, and the pressure piled on, gives players like Meyer a ‘reason to leave’ in the summer.
It fits in well for Tottenham.
More than once in recent months it’s been pointed out that without European football, Schalke will find it hard to hang on to Meyer, with Tottenham mentioned as a possible destination. Given the club are now 12th in the Bundesliga, it’s not looking promising.
Asked in November ‘As a national team player you are in great demand. Is it true that Tottenham wanted you in summer?’, Meyer replied: “I know that interest was there and the club was asked. But Schalke immediately put a stop to it. So the matter was settled. Of course, I have dealt with it. But I also know what I have at Schalke, and I like to play for this club.”
That came after claims at the end of the last summer window that Tottenham had approached Schalke about a deal. At the time the price was put at around €45m, but Spurs didn’t make an official offer.
Since then the projected fee has dropped to €40m, but given that Meyer’s contract ends in June 2018, Daniel Levy would surely feel he can talk that amount down.
Meyer can play through the middle or on either wing. He last played for the German national team in August, and scored, and it would be understandable if he considers his time at Schalke done.