Manchester United target Ozan Kabak has completed a €15m transfer from VfB Stuttgart to Schalke 04, who have also given Weston McKennie a new contract.
19-year-old Kabak quickly adapted to German football last season upon arriving at Stuttgart in January from Galatasaray in an €11m deal. He made 15 appearances and scored three goals in the Bundesliga.
Despite only featuring for half of the season and failing to save Stuttgart from relegation, the centre-back was crowned the Bundesliga’s Rookie of the Year for his stunning progress.
With Stuttgart dropping down to the German second division, however, several outlets linked Kabak with a summer exit.
At the top of the list was United, who desperately need some solid defensive reinforcements for next term. And Kabak, who has been compared to Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, would have been a welcome addition for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Arsenal, Tottenham, AC Milan and Bayern Munich were also allegedly interested in the highly-rated teenager.
But Kabak has instead chosen to play his football next season at Schalke, who avoided relegation in last season’s Bundesliga by a mere five points. Although regular opportunities will be more likely with David Wagner’s side compared to his other options.
“We are very happy that we have managed to win one of the biggest current European talents for Schalke,” read a Schalke statement from sporting director Jochen Schneider.
“Despite very well-known competitors, Ozan Kabak deliberately chose our club.
“My thanks go especially to head coach David Wagner and Michael Reschke as technical director, who convinced Ozan decisively that the step to Schalke is the right one for him.”
Meanwhile, United States international Weston McKennie has signed a new five-year contract with Schalke.
The 20-year-old is a product of the club’s youth academy after arriving in 2016 from Dallas, Texas. He has since gone on to make 59 appearances in the Royal Blues midfield and scored his first two goals for them last season.
“The decision was very easy for me because I was constantly allowed to enjoy incredibly great support from the fans,” said McKennie.
“The staff were also always behind me. I’m looking forward to everything that’s coming.”
McKennie is currently preparing for the US’ Gold Cup semi-final clash with Curacao on Sunday.