Legacy burdens hinder transfers: Schalke pays for players who have been gone for a long time

FC Schalke 04 returns to the Bundesliga.

Legacy burdens hinder transfers: Schalke pays for players who have been gone for a long time

FC Schalke 04 returns to the Bundesliga. But with big financial problems. The club cannot afford to sign defensive boss Ko Itakura, further transfers will be difficult. This is also due to liabilities for players who have long since left the club.

FC Schalke 04 is back in the Bundesliga, but money worries remain. So promotion hero Ko Itakura has to leave the club, the defense chief is simply too expensive for the club. This is also due to contaminated sites, to contracts that the former Schalke manager Christian Heidel had agreed.

"We don't want to talk around it - at this point in time, when numerous squad decisions still have to be implemented, we couldn't take the purchase option. The financial volume was simply too large and would have exceeded our carefully set framework," said sporting director Rouven Schröder on the decision at Defense Chief Itakura. The purchase option was 5.5 million euros, and Schalke would have had to negotiate the contract with the Japanese. Too much money. "Actually, I still can't believe it," stated promotion coach Mike Büskens. "We probably can't handle the economic package, a sum that just a few years ago would not even have caused a frown among the decision-makers at the time."

But now there is not much money left. Also because the club is still in debt. Among other things, because of Sebastian Rudy. He only played one full season for FC Schalke after coming from Bayern in August 2018. 30 games, a few of them in the 2020/2021 season, was not enough for more before he finally moved on to his former club TSG Hoffenheim. He has now played 304 times for the Kraichgauer and is their record player. Nevertheless, the royal blues are still paying for the former international, reports the "WAZ". Namely parts of the fee that FC Bayern still receives, although the transfer was almost four years ago.

According to the report, Heidel had agreed to pay in installments at the time, with which the total of 16 million euros could be paid to Munich. It was great back then so that you didn't have to pay all at once, but today it's still a burden for a player who hasn't been active for the club for a long time.

The club also pays severance payments to players who signed contract terminations after being relegated to the Bundesliga. Omar Mascarell is said to be one of them. The fact that he and his colleagues didn't want the sum all at once helped at the moment, but now it's still a burden on Schalke. Overall, according to "WAZ", it is almost ten million euros that the club has to pay for transfers and severance payments.

And then FC Schalke also faces the problem of having to look for a new shirt sponsor. According to the head of the supervisory board, Bärbel Bergerhoff-Wodopia, the Gelsenkirchen-based housing group Vivawest is unable to maintain the sponsorship: "I can't imagine that Vivawest can actually be the main sponsor of the size of the 1st Bundesliga. The rise was to that The time when Vivawest got involved is not yet visible. However, a sponsorship contract from a Bundesliga team cannot be compared to a second division team in terms of effort."

Vivawest spontaneously stepped in in March when Schalke parted ways with longtime shirt sponsor Gazprom due to the Russian attack on Ukraine. According to "WAZ", Schalke is still aiming for further cooperation with Vivawest. "We are very happy to have Vivawest on our side. Both sides agree that we are aiming for a long-term partnership. We are in talks with Vivawest about the level at which this cooperation will take place in the coming years," said Schalkes CEO Bernd Schroeder. "At the same time, we are talking to potential new partners - and yes, this is also about a possible change in the position of main sponsor. Nothing has been decided so far."

It is quite possible that Vivawest will ultimately be forced to remain a sponsor, because according to "WAZ" the company cannot prematurely exit the contract, which runs until 2023. Only Schalke should be able to pronounce this separation. And it seems questionable whether the club can find a new shirt sponsor so quickly.

The money would be less with Vivawest or with a successor on the chest. According to reports, Schalke received double the money from the entry of the housing group: the Russian gas company Gazprom did not demand its money back, Vivawest paid on top of that. In any case, things would get tighter financially for the new season.

That complicates squad planning immensely. Without big money there are no big players. But they would actually be necessary when returning to the Bundesliga. Instead, the club will have to focus on loans and free transfers. Such a transfer could be goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, who had announced his departure from relegated Arminia Bielefeld and is now free on the market. Tom Krauss could also strengthen the club, reports the "WAZ". The 20-year-old was last loaned from RB Leipzig to 1. FC Nürnberg, he said a return to Leipzig was out of the question - and expressed his interest on Sky: "Schalke is an issue." The club could probably afford the midfielder on loan.

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