The last time we saw Marko Pjaca on a field at the senior level, he was writhing in pain after suffering a major knee injury on international duty. Outside of the fact that it was a torn ACL, there wasn’t much known. We didn’t know how long he would be out for, and subsequently the timetable as for when he would return to the best team in Italy was a complete unknown.
That was in late-March. Now, as January gets going, Pjaca is back and ready to get some playing time for the first time in nearly a year.
It just won’t happen at Juventus. At least for the immediate future, that is.
Pjaca, Juve’s 22-year-old Croatian winger who they signed for €23 million two summer transfer windows ago, is heading to the Bundesliga for the next couple of months in an attempt to get much more playing time than he would get in Turin the rest of this season. The destination is Gelsenkirchen, Germany, where Pjaca will suit up for Schalke until the end of the 2017-18 season, joining the club on a six-month loan deal.
From Juventus’ official website:
Turin, 5 January 2018 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that the agreement with FC Gelsenkirchen- Schalke 04 e.V for the loan, until 30 June 2018, of the registration rights of the player Marko Pjaca has been finalized for a consideration of € 0.8 million, to be paid in two equal installments within 15 April 2018. The loan fee may increase for a maximum € 0.2 million on the player achieving given performances within 30 June 2018.
IT'S OFFICIAL! @marko_pjaca20 has joined the Royal Blues on loan from @juventusfcen until the end of the season.— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) January 4, 2018
Welcome to Schalke, Marko #S04 pic.twitter.com/uFTJaM1cBL
Pjaca, who made a handful of appearances for Juve’s primavera squad before receiving a couple of call-ups to Serie A and Coppa Italia games in recent weeks, was not on the bench for Juve’s 2-0 win over Torino on Wednesday night.
We now know why.
Of note: There is no option to buy in this deal. Pjaca will head to Schalke, hopefully start a good number of games and/or get plenty of playing time and then come back to Juventus at the start of the summer to try and find his place in what (hopefully) is another Scudetto-winning side.
#Pjaca: "The coach has told me a lot about his playing style and I liked that. Now I'm just hoping for as many games as possible." #S04 pic.twitter.com/3kQiKvpwoB— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) January 4, 2018
We wish young Marko all the best in Germany. May he start to truly fulfill the kind of promise we heard about when Juventus first signed him.