Malick Thiaw has made only one appearance for Schalke but he is already being chased by a number of the Premier League’s largest clubs. According to reports, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool are interested in the 18-year-old.
That’s current deal runs until 2021 and he’s stalling on a new contract. The adolescent has a £7million launch clause and the English trio are weighing up whether to trigger it to nab themselves a possible bargain.
According to the Mirror, Liverpool have experienced scouts watching the centre-back this year and he has been occupying for Schalke’s under-19 side. He must have caught David Wagner’s eye, too, together with the eldest Königsblauen manager giving the child his first appearance for the senior staff earlier this season.
Thiaw was a part of the Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach academies before coming to Gelsenkirchen in 2015. Since then he’s progressed through the ranks and it seemed a certainty that he would be playing to the first-team on a regular basis in the not too distant future.
The 18-year-old has been compared to Liverpool centre-back Joel Matip because of his size and composure on the ball.
Injuries have plagued his time on Merseyside but he is not the only. Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren are prone to picking up knocks and reports have emerged to indicate the defence is a place the Premier League leaders want to bolster when the transfer window opens again.
The latter parted with £27million to secure the help of highly-rated William Saliba past summer. They know the going rate for centre-backs and to trap a possibly brilliant one for south of £10million will be quite shrewd business. But a job like Thiaw would no doubt intrigue manager Pep Guardiola.
For once, the hyperlinks do make a good deal of sense. But what is it that makes the adolescent such a prospect?
To be successful in the English top-flight, a centre-back has to be comfortable on the ball and dominant in the atmosphere. Thiaw ticks both of these boxes. From the Bundesliga Under-19 league, the Schalke guy has won 73 percent of his aerial duels. For a little context, that puts him at precisely the exact same world as Virgil van Dijk. The Dutch colossus wins 75 percent of his aerial conflicts.
He reads the game well, making 4.3 interceptions, but perhaps his greatest advantage is how confident he’s on the ball. He’s attempting, normally, 58 passes per 90 and finishing near 90 percent of them. He is frugal in possession but he is not afraid to take risks to help the team progress up the pitch.
There is a lot for teams to work with and for £7million, Thiaw is a complete no-brainer of a signing. Even if he does not go on to fulfill the prosperity of potential he has, he would make a good squad player.