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Markus Weinzierl reveals Schalke passed on Serge Gnabry to replace Leroy Sané

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Things might have gone very differently for Weinzierl and Schalke had they acquired Gnabry prior to the 2016/2017 season

Netherlands v Germany - UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Markus Weinzierl is currently unemployed after a year-long spell with VfB Stuttgart that saw the Swabians relegated to the 2. Bundesliga after losing out in two playoff legs to Union Berlin. Before his season with Stuttgart, Weinzierl had coaching spells at Schalke, FC Augsburg, and Jahn Regensburg.

His time at Schalke only lasted for the 2016/2017 season, as he was dismissed from his post after Die Knappen finished in 10th place in the table, 5 places lower than in the previous season. In the summer prior to the 2016/2017 season, Weinzierl was faced with the difficult departure of Leroy Sané for Manchester City for approximately €50 million.

In a recent interview with Leipziger Volkszeitung (via kicker), Weinzierl said he thinks Schalke’s 2016/2017 campaign would have been far different had they found a solid replacement for Sané. He revealed that Serge Gnabry could have been that replacement:

We didn’t use the money that we got for [Sané] well and lost the first five games. In my view, that was a consequence of the transfer policy, and so I obviously wasn’t happy about it. Particularly because we could have gotten Serge Gnabry, who was already at Schalke for negotiations.

FC Schalke 04 v Eintracht Frankfurt - Bundesliga Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Bongarts/Getty Images

At the time, Gnabry was coming off of a loan spell with West Bromwich Albion and was on Werder Bremen’s books after a difficult spell with Arsenal. Despite Weinzierl’s interest in Gnabry, Schalke instead signed Breel Embolo and Yevhen Konoplyanka for a combined €12.5 million. Neither Embolo nor Konoplyanka really proved to be anywhere near as successful as Gnabry was in the 2016/2017 season.

In retrospect, Weinzierl said he wished he had pushed Schalke’s board harder to complete a deal for Gnabry:

I should have imposed my self more. If the club said that Gnabry is too expensive at €5 million, I certainly should have done more for the transfer in retrospect.

1. Bundesliga FC Schalke 04 - SV Werder Bremen Photo by Team 2 Sportphoto\ullstein bild via Getty Images