Amine Harit – Schalke's Moroccan jewel
Amine Harit’s importance for Schalke 04 has grown enormously during his first season in Germany as the young talent has developed into a key player for the Gelsenkirchen side.
|Amine Harit.||Uwe Speck/WITTERS|
When Amine Harit decided to move to Schalke 04 from Ligue 1 side Nantes last summer, he turned down several European top clubs – including Arsenal and Bayern München – as he thought that would be best for his development.
"When such a big club calls you, then you obviously think a lot about it. But you ask yourself: What is the best for my development? I came to the conclusion that Schalke and their project fits me better," he told Bild.
And while you can only guess about how Harit would have done at Bayern or Arsenal, it definitely seems like he made a wise decision when he picked Schalke. The 20-year-old has been in the lineup for nearly every Bundesliga game this season, and although he impressed right from the start, it’s clear that he has already developed a lot this season.
With his silky touch, vision and eye for both his teammates and the goal, the French-born Moroccan midfielder has developed into an irreplaceable part of the Schalke team as he thrives in the free role that Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco has given him.
"Before every game, the coach tells me to be concentrated, but also just to play my game, without thinking too much. When the opportunity comes, you can anytime switch positions with your teammates to make the team even more unpredictable for the opponents. I'm more than happy with what I've achieved so far," Harit recently told Bundesliga.com.
Harit has Moroccan parents and plays for Morocco’s national team, but he was born in France and also represented various French national youth teams. And playing for the French U-19 team at the UEFA European U-19 Championship in Germany in 2016, he caught the eye of a bunch of talent scouts.
Playing alongside Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé and RB Leipzig’s Jean-Kevin Augustin among others, Harit was a revelation at the tournament, and after France’s impressive 4-0 win over Italy in the final, he was named in the team of the tournament.
At that point, Harit still hadn’t played a senior match for Nantes, but when the 2016/17 season started, he was suddenly in the lineup.
“The way people looked at me had changed. If I’m playing at the moment in Ligue 1, it’s 90 percent down to the Euros, and also thanks to the work I’ve done in order to convince the manager,” he told L’Equipe during the season.
Harit impressed highly in his debut season in Ligue 1 although he just scored once and made one assist in 30 matches. He signed a long-term contract with Nantes in January, but with the huge interest in him, the French club had to let him go after the season.
With three goals and seven assists in 19 matches to his name at Schalke 04, Harit has already taken a big leap forward in Germany at just 20 years old. Huge things are expected from him in the future, and the fact that he has already shown a good and mature understanding for what’s best for his development only makes the expectations bigger.
At the moment, Schalke seems like the perfect place for him to grow.