Recently, Schalke signed Sidney Sam directly from domestic rivals, Bayer Leverkusen. The German arrives in the summer for as little as €2.5m; the release clause that was inserted into his contract at Leverkusen. For Schalke, it’s an absolute steal, to say the least. Schalke’s general manager Horst Heldt relieves some pressure from his shoulders with a superb piece of business. Often criticised for his management technique, but nobody can have any qualms with Heldt in regards to this transfer.
Effect on Leverkusen
Sidney Sam to Schalke for €2.5m is a bargain. No doubt about it. Especially when taking his form from this season into consideration, it is almost daylight robbery. Sam has been involved in twelve of Leverkusen’s goals this season; scoring seven and assisting five of those. 2013-14 has seen Sam flourish under Hyypiä as he has managed to show his capabilities with a stretch of injury-free games. Yet, even that didn’t last, after thirteen games into this Bundesliga season, Sam has been ruled out with a thigh injury. Currently, it’s unlikely to be Leverkusen’s main concern. Not only will they be kicking themselves for inserting a low release clause into his contract – they now have to start searching for his replacement. Finding someone to fill Sam’s boots will be tricky. Leverkusen have time on their side to do so, but losing an integral member affects any team
Effect on Schalke
Sidney Sam brings further quality to Schalke’s squad. Whether Jens Keller will remain in the Schalke hot seat to utilise the new man is another question – but Sam could potentially explode into life at Schalke; boosting the morale and belief amongst players and supporters. It goes without saying, Schalke have been bleak thus far. Schalke currently have a fair few options for the commonly deployed three behind the main striker. Sam’s name being thrown into the mix provides further competition and keeps the other members on their toes. Psychologically, Sidney Sam’s arrival sends signals of intent across the Schalke squad. Furthermore, and physically, Sidney Sam adds another dimension for Schalke’s attack. The dynamism incorporated into his play is essential for what he does so well; bursting drives at opposition defences, taking risks, as well as long-range efforts from time to time. He’ll need to show his talent from the off, as he’ll be in for a bumpy ride at Schalke. A ride that he will be playing a big part in.
How, reading between the lines, Sam’s imminent arrival at Schalke could have more meaning to it than simply being ‘further competition’. The ever-reliable BILD claim that their ‘inside sources’ slipped them the news on Draxler’s future. Julian Draxler is expected to depart Schalke after the World Cup, for an estimated fee of €45m. An unbelievable sum of money. A sum that only Europe’s top dogs could afford. Draxler’s eventual departure is expected by all. However, has Sidney Sam been recruited to replace from next season onwards? It’s seeming more likely as the speculation goes by. Saying that, he could easily be the ageing Jefferson Farfan’s eventual replacement, in his favoured position on the right of midfield. He provides sufficient quality to lead the next generation of Schalke; should all go to plan and he remains in Gelsenkirchen.
Schalke will reap the benefits on signing Sidney Sam. The management staff will be hoping he provides the required impact to take them forward. There’s further issues that need resolving off of the field, such as Jens Keller’s future, but Sam can help change Schalke fortunes on the field.
Effect on Sidney Sam
As for Sidney Sam himself, his decision to change clubs had bewildered a few. Is the larger paycheck the cause for having his arm twisted? It wouldn’t come as a surprise; given the emphasis on money within the beautiful game nowadays. I’m not labelling Sidney Sam as a player motivated by money, by any means. It just seems a strange move given both clubs recent predicament. Schalke have been underwhelming this season. They currently lie in seventh place, behind the likes of; Hertha Berlin, VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach. The results of unimpressive, lethargic performances from them this season. A common featuring under Jens Keller, which is detrimental to his job security.
Leverkusen on the other hand are a complete contrast. Currently, they’re enjoying a wonderful season with ex-Liverpool centre half, Sami Hyypiä at the helm. The likes of Sidney Sam, Stefan Keißling and Simon Rolfes being at the forefront in the club’s success. Effective attacking football is the featuring, something which Sam has thrived being a part of, clearly. Will he have the same outcome at Schalke? It’s under the spotlight. Also, the level of football he’ll be playing at next season and beyond has left many Bundesliga fans dubious. Schalke are looking certain not to qualify for the 2014-15 Champions League, barring a miracle rückrunde. In comparison to the soaring Bayer Leverkusen, currently in second and looking worthy of Champions League qualification.
Sam’s given up Leverkusen, a side that will continue to improve at the highest level, for Schalke – a side currently in the means of transition. Time will tell if it’s worth it and what exactly Sidney Sam’s thoughts were behind such a move.
This article was a guest piece by Liam Lee Feel, follow him on Twitter @Liam10Lee, he’s always up for football chats and debates.