Matthew Hoppe has returned to training with Schalke after a reported illness, and while the club has played up his return, it shouldn’t be taken as a sign that he is staying with the German second-division club.
— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) August 17, 2021
Reports out of England claim that English clubs such as Newcastle and Wolves are considering a bid for the 20-year-old forward, who is fresh off an impressive showing at the Gold Cup, and who is expected to make a summer transfer move away from the recently-relegated Bundesliga club.
Crystal Palace and Everton have also been named as potential destinations for Hoppe.
Hoppe’s return to training shouldn’t be seen as evidence that he is staying put. After all, Weston McKennie took part in training with Schalke a year ago before eventually joining Juventus on a loan that turned into a transfer.
It is clear Hoppe’s representatives are going through the usual motions of floating transfer links and scouring England for potential landing spots for the young forward. The $9.4 million asking price reportedly being sought by Schalke (reported by German outlet Bild) was an ambitious price tag, and is what has limited Hoppe’s options to England, the only market with teams willing to spend anything close to that. Hoppe will have a hard time finding suitors outside England to pay anything close to that price for a relatively unproven striker with a half season of top-flight soccer under his belt.
Still, Hoppe’s six goals in 22 matches in the Bundesliga for Schalke coupled with his strong showing at the Gold Cup has sparked increased interest in teams that see him as a potential gem.
If the reported $2.7 million offer being lined up by Everton is a real figure, then the gap between Schalke’s valuation and what teams are willing to pay could force Hoppe to stay unless Schalke backs off its reported initial valuation.
Of the teams linked to Hoppe, Crystal Palace is the most interesting, with manager Patrick Vieira having coached American players during his time as head coach of New York City FC. Vieira also had a good relationship with U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter when both were coaching in MLS.
Everton, Newcastle United and Wolves have all had American players before, with Owen Otasowie currently at Wolves for the moment, though he is expected to leave via transfer this summer.
Hoppe missed Schalke’s recent 2. Bundesliga match versus Aue with what was reported as a stomach bug. Schalke returns to action on Saturday against Regensberg.
There are still two weeks to go before the European transfer window loses on August 31, so it could be at least another week before Hoppe’s club situation is sorted out.