FC Schalke 04 has just confirmed that their number 1 goalkeeper and captain, Alexander Nübel, will leave on a free transfer at the end of the season. It is as arresting a move for the neutral observer and as it is devastating for the Gelsenkirchen supporters. Schalke 04 sporting director Jochen Schneider was naturally disappointed by the course of events. He said,
After all the discussions that we had with Alexander Nübel and his agent over the past months, we are not very surprised by his decision and naturally respect it. Of course, we do not have to understand his decision.
"I’m convinced that Alex will give everything for the club until the end of the season. From summer 2020, we will continue on our path without him."— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) December 22, 2019
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The race for Nübel’s signature will now heat up to intense levels — or will it? Bild claims that Nübel’s next club will be no other than Bayern Munich, stating that he will join the club on a 5-year-contract starting July 2020. The goalkeeper has also been linked to Premier League teams such as Tottenham Hotspur and Bundesliga heavyweights Red Bull Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund.
According to Bild however, Nübel will train at the highest level and get to know his new club while waiting as the long-term solution for Manuel Neuer, whose contract ends in 2023. Nübel will learn from arguably the best goalkeeper Germany has produced and receive regular starts in agreement with Neuer.
If what Bild says is true, it means two things:
1. Bayern has confronted Neuer about signing Nübel and persuaded him to agree that Nübel may play a certain number of games, such as the games for the DFB Pokal. It would be highly unlikely that Nübel would agree to join Bayern merely to serve as Neuer’s backup for three years. If Nübel signs for Bayern in July 2020, he will arrive as Bayern’s long-term strategy and someone who will play a fixed percentage of games every season until Neuer either retires or leaves Bayern.
2. Sven Ulreich’s days in Munich are numbered, and Christian Fruchtl may very well leave as well.