Schalke’s horrid form to end the Bundesliga season saw them fall well short of a European qualification spot for next season. With a reported new salary cap also being imposed by the club for financial reasons, one of their star could be on the way out this summer.
Weston McKennie has reportedly hinted at a move away from Schalke with Hertha Berlin interested in acquiring him, Sport 1 reports. Schalke Sporting Director Jochen Schneider also admitted in Wednesday’s press conference that the club cannot afford to pay major contracts with the club in financial struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After the outbreak of COVID-19, we had healthy discussions with the team,” Schneider said. “The players were willing to forego some of their salary until the end of the season and we started putting this into action from March. It’s clear though that these measures won’t be enough and we’ll have to take further action. We have a great squad here and some fantastic characters, though, so I’m convinced that we’ll find a fair solution between us all.
McKennie was a key performer for David Wagner’s side this season when healthy, scoring three goals and adding one assist in 32 combined appearances. However, the 21-year-old alone couldn’t help Schalke avoid a 15-match winless run in all competitions, with the Gelsenkirchen side finishing 12th in the 18-team Bundesliga table.
With Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic set to leave Hertha Berlin this summer, the club is aiming to fill the need of a star midfielder. Hertha will reportedly have to pay at least €25 million for McKennie’s signature, according to the report.
McKennie signed a new contract with Schalke back in 2019, with his new deal running until June 2024. Schneider though isn’t ruling out a possible departure for the U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder, who has 91 career first-team competitive appearances
“A departure is not out of the question,” Schneider said. “I can’t say that 100% right now. The fact is that with Weston we extended until 2024 a year ago.”
Hertha Berlin finished 10th in the Bundesliga this season, two points ahead of Schalke and eight points from the final European qualification spot.