Schalke have confirmed that Sead Kolasinac will return to Arsenal this summer following his loan spell in the second half of last season.
The left-back returned to his former club in January in the hope of rescuing them from a relegation battle. However, having taken Shkodran Mustafi with him, it didn’t work out. They finished bottom of the Bundesliga, 15 points adrift of Werder Bremen above them.
As a consequence, Schalke can’t afford to keep Kolasinac or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the veteran Dutch striker who also rejoined in January.
In a statement on the club’s official website, board member Peter Knabel explained: “On a sporting and personal front, it’s a painful decision to have to make
“Considering the current budget and squad structure – well-known challenges that have been openly discussed – there was no alternative.
“We also can’t afford to spend weeks going back and forth given that we have a short pre-season and how quickly the new campaign will come about; we have to make decisions in Schalke 04’s best interests now. That is why this step is necessary.”
On taking an early decision, he added: “Sead and Klaas-Jan deserve that at least. We’re very grateful that they supported their beloved club for this past six months to the best of their ability.
“You could always sense how much Schalke 04 means to them and the connection they feel to the club. We would like to say thank you for the incredible passion and support that they showed the club in this difficult period, and wish them all the best for the future both on and off the pitch.”
While Kolasinac, 27, still has one year left on his current Arsenal contract it’s almost certain he’ll be playing his football elsewhere next season. Italian side Lazio and Turkish outfit Galatasaray have been linked recently and we expect there will plenty of other suitors…until they see how much we’re paying him.
Mikel Arteta took a gamble not replacing Kolasinac in January and was left exposed when Kieran Tierney picked up an injury in the closing stages of the season. Finding a suitable replacement for the Bosnian is a priority this summer.