Two summers ago, Juventus and Schalke were negotiating a transfer. It was, to keep things short and sweet, a complete mess that saw Julian Draxler never donning bianconero. Instead, after weeks and weeks of playing the “Will Draxler actually sign with Juventus or will he go somewhere else game?” the young German midfielder headed to another Bundesliga side, Wolfsburg, rather than signing with Juventus.
This time around, negotiations with Schalke have gone a lot better, a lot smoother and the outcome can safely be described as a lot more successful.
Juventus have announced the signing of 29-year-old Schalke defender and German international Benedikt Howedes on an initial season-long loan with an option to buy come next summer. The official details, courtesy of the Juventus website:
Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that the agreement with FC Gelsenkirchen- Schalke 04 e.V for the temporary acquisition, until 30 June 2018, of the registration rights of the player Benedikt Höwedes has been finalized for a consideration of € 3.5 million, to be paid within 15 September 2017.
Juventus has the right to definitively acquire the player starting from 1 July 2018, or will be obliged to do so if the player completes 25 or more appearances during 2017/2018 football season, for a consideration of € 13 million, to be paid in two financial years. The permanent transfer fee may increase for a maximum € 3 million on achieving challenging team performances within 30 June 2020.
There you go. Juventus started the week with one German. As we hit the second half of the week, that total has doubled. (Although going from one to two is not exactly a massive bounce in numbers.)
As we’ve been saying ever since the first Howedes rumors arrived, adding a player of his quality on this kind of deal is certainly one of the better pieces of business Juventus have done this summer. There is no mandatory option to buy, although if Howedes plays anything like he did during his days with Schalke it will be a pretty easy decision to keep him in Turin beyond just the 2017-18 season.
But the biggest thing is that Juventus has added quite a quality piece to its defensive depth. The magic number of players able to play in center back is now back to five — a number that was sitting still at four ever since Leonardo Bonucci departed for Milan in the middle of July.
The appeal of Howedes, besides his obviously steady play in defense, is the fact that he can play anywhere along the backline. He can play in the center, he can play on the right and he can play in the left. The versatility will be big both in terms of where he can play and giving Juventus some tactical flexibility when competing on multiple fronts. Sounds like a healthier, German version of Martin Caceres or something like that, doesn’t it?
119 - Only Thiago Alcántara (125) had more interceptions than Benedikt Höwedes (119) in the Bundesliga 2016/17. Insight. pic.twitter.com/NKbkVny83M— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) August 30, 2017
Something tells me that’s pretty good. Something tells me that’s going to be a nice little addition to the Juventus roster no matter where Max Allegri lines Howedes up in defense. Yes, yes. Good move, guys. Very good move.