After a poor start to the season, Bundesliga strugglers Schalke have been dealt another blow. Currently 13th in the table, Schalke will lose Brazilian centre-back Naldo. The 36-year-old is set to join struggling Ligue 1 side AS Monaco, leaving Schalke after two-and-a-half years with the club. Undergoing a medical on Wednesday, Naldo will join his new club later this week, according to RMC.
Naldo Agrees to Join AS Monaco
Monaco Add a Valuable Veteran
After an appalling start to the season, Monaco were always going to be aggressive this January. Set to be the club’s first signing of the January window, Naldo adds valuable leadership, something a young Monaco squad has lacked this season. Moving from one struggling team to another, the experienced Brazilian should make an immediate impact. As Monaco close in on Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas, manager Thierry Henry is clearly looking to add quality to a lacklustre squad. Adding experienced, talented players should help a team that has only won three league games so far this season. In a relegation battle, expect Monaco to make more moves before the window closes.
Schalke’s Struggles Continue
2018 was a year of ups and downs for Schalke. Under manager Domenico Tedesco, Schalke finished the 2017/18 Bundesliga season in second place. This was a superb achievement, with Naldo playing a key role. However, it’s been downhill ever since, as the club now sits 13th in the table. The team’s awful start to the season was due to a mix of injuries and the club failing to replace key players in the summer. A squad with an average age of just 26, Schalke’s transfer and recruitment policy aren’t working. Letting players like Leon Goretzka leave on a free and failing to replace them has led to the team struggling on a weekly basis.
Filling the Void
Schalke’s transfer policy is responsible for the team’s struggles, a policy which has Tedesco on the hot seat. Losing a key leader like Naldo is unfortunate, as the team will have to look elsewhere to replace the Brazilian’s quality. Naldo leaving halfway through the season puts Schalke in a difficult position. Struggling with injuries, Schalke are not spoilt for choice. Matija Nastasić and Salif Sané will likely start on a regular basis, with Benjamin Stambouli playing a backup role. However, with Schalke conceding 24 goals in just 17 league games, investing in a new defender could benefit the team greatly. If the team fails to replace Naldo, a bad season could get even worse.