Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Liverpool Face Fierce Competition For This Schalke Youngster: Is He A Prospect For The Future?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by The Daily Mail, Liverpool are among a whole host of clubs keeping tabs on the development of Schalke youngster Malick Thiaw ahead of the summer transfer window. The same source has also mentioned that the Reds will face stiff competition from Arsenal, Manchester City and several other clubs in pursuit of the Finnish centre-back in the off-season.

Thiaw’s Incredible Rise In German Football

The 18-year-old has come through Schalke’s youth system and is currently a consistent performer for the club’s Under-19 team. He made his Bundesliga debut when he came off the bench against TSG Hoffenheim earlier this month before their season came to a standstill because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite operating at the heart of the defence, the talented teenager has a prolific goal-scoring record in the U-19 Bundesliga West where he has banged in eight goals and provided one assist in 20 matches this term. He is currently the skipper of Schalke’s U-19 side and is on the verge of breaking out as a regular first-team starter at the VELTINS-Arena.

The 6ft 3in centre-half is an imposing presence and can overpower the opposition using his strength which makes him a threat at both ends of the pitch. It is unusual for a defender to score so many goals even if it is at the Under-19 level. Thiaw has the ceiling to become a world-class defender someday but only if he works hard on improving his game on the field.

Rilind Hetemi (L) of Dortmund and Malick Thiaw (R) of Schalke in action during the B Juniors Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 on April 8, 2018 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Lukas Schulze/Bongarts/Getty Images)

What Are The Finnish Starlet’s Strengths And Weaknesses?

As mentioned earlier, Thiaw is a commanding presence at the back and can dominate the opposition with authority and conviction. He excels at making clearing headers and also scores his fair share of goals from set-pieces at the opposite end. The Schalke prospect can also make some crucial interceptions for his side and is not afraid to clear his lines when pushed back inside his own box. However, he is still quite raw and would need time to develop into a top talent.

Is Thiaw A Star In The Making?

For now, if Liverpool can win the race to land him this summer, then it could turn out to be a great piece of business for them in the long-run. At the moment, Thiaw is too inexperienced to play in the Premier League, but in time, he will undoubtedly make an impact in Jurgen Klopp’s first-team.

Thiaw will likely join the Merseyside club’s youth set-up before he gets a chance to play with the senior squad. Thus, the Anfield faithful will have to be patient if they want to see the Finnish whizkid perform at a high level. The early signs have been quite promising, but the jury is still out on whether he would be able to cope with the high intensity of English football. However, there is no denying that Thiaw is a player to look out for in the future, so Liverpool will do well to lure him away from Schalke before the start of the new season.

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