By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Schalke 04 to snap up Vedad Ibisevic on a free transfer?

Reports suggest Vedad Ibisevic could join Schalke 04 after leaving Hertha BSC at the end of his contract.
Reliable sources at Germany’s pre-eminent footballing publication Kicker confirm reports surfacing in Sport Bild that Schalke 04 are currently in negotiations to secure the services of former Hertha BSC Captain Vedad Ibisevic.

An official confirmation from the club is still lacking. A Schalke spokesperson declined to comment on the possible move, noting that the club “do not [discuss] rumors as a matter of general principal.”

Should the deal go through, the Königsblauen will be able to acquire Ibisevic on a free transfer. Hertha declined to extend the 36-year-old Bosnian international at the conclusion of the 2019/20 season. The release came despite the fact that Ibisevic enjoyed something of a revival under new Hertha manager Bruno Labbadia in the season’s final nine fixtures.

Sparingly used by the trio of managers Ante Covic, Jürgen Klinsmann, and Alexander Nourri, Ibisevic found new life under the Labbadia regime. He started seven of the nine matches taking place after the enforced COVID break, finding the back of the net on four occasions. It was nevertheless foreseeable that new attacking additions procured during the January transfer window, Matheus Cunha and Krzysztof Piatek, would push him out of the clubs plans.

The anemic Schalke attack contributed to a monumental collapse that saw David Wagner’s side slide from place five to place twelve during the second half of the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign. The Royal Blues managed only one league win against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 18th round. Though the squad was able advance to the quarterfinals of the DFB Pokal, their league form never recovered over a torrid sixteen-game winless streak.

Injuries forced Schalke to effectively operate without a natural striker during this spell. Attacking threats Amine Harit, Suat Serdar, Benito Raman, Omar Mascarell, Daniel Caligiuri, and Alessandro Schöpf all missed significant time out injured. Thirty-one-year-old Guido Burgstaller was unable to record a single goal all season. Attacking midfielder Michael Greogritsch, brought in on loan from FC Augsburg in the January window, proved a total flop with only one goal in his first match.

In Ibisevic, Wagner could hardly find a more experienced Bundesliga player. His overall stats confirm as much. Over the course of fifteen Bundesliga seasons for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart, and Hertha, Ibisevic had made 340 appearances, in which he’s scored 127 goals and supplied 52 assists. In addition to that, he’s tallied 20 times in 39 DFB-Pokal appearances.

At best, however, Wagner’s work in rebuilding the Schalke attack has only just begun. The team managed only 38 total goals in the whole of the previous campaign. Two offensive players returning from loan, Mark Uth (1. FC Köln) and Steven Skyrzybski (Fortuna Düsseldorf), can be expected to contribute a little. The effect on offensive output may nevertheless be neutralized by the departure of the team’s most effective no.8, Weston McKennie.

Schalke’s well-publicized financial difficulties likely preclude the signing of even one expensive transfer. It should be expected that the club will thus continue to snatch up players on frees. The club may attempt to catch lighting in a bottle by signing more players who, despite declining skills, still maintain name recognition and a reputation for potential. Candidates currently wandering the market include Kevin Stöger, Fabian Johnson and Felix Kroos.

Euro 2024

Match days

Long reads

Exclusive interviews

Team News

Europa League - Atalanta - Leverkusen