A German wonder kid that is a free agent. Max Meyer’s situation is truly unique.
The 22 year old midfield talent has just been released by boyhood club Schalke FC after a nine year association with them. He chose to run down his contract with The Royal Blues after friction emerged in his relationship with the club. Despite having the talent capable of being a world beater, there is no desperation or strong desire shown by a club to acquire his services. Media outlets are reporting Arsenal and Liverpool have a long standing interest in Meyer, yet no actions have been taken by either club to get the midfielder to put pen to paper on a move to England.
Maximilian Meyer spent nine years of his youth career at FC Sardegna Oberhausen and Rot-Weiß Oberhausen before catching the eye of Schalke’s scouts. He then started in their fabled youth setup in 2009. Exceptional performances for the U-19s made Meyer’s talent evident with figures to show for. 11 goals and 11 assists in 15 games for Schalke U-19s were astonishing numbers, with his contribution being instrumental in their German U-19 Championship 2011-12 triumph. His fantastic form inevitably caught the attention of general manager Horst Heldt, who easily convinced the boy from Oberhausen to sign his first professional contract.
Due to various departures from the senior team, Meyer was selected in the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League squads for the 2012/13 season at just 17 years of age. 14 appearances for the season was impressive considering his youth and he shortly after left school to focus on his football career.
2013/14 was truly the breakout season for Meyer. A brace in his first game for the reserve team was a sign of good things to come for the now 18 year old. He then assisted Julian Draxler in the Champions League play off against PAOK which was the goal that both got Schalke European football and Meyer plaudits from the media. The midfielder’s good form continued in the Champions League with an impressive performance against Chelsea. But not only was he performing in Europe, he was also showing promise domestically. A goal against title challengers Borussia Dortmund as well as consecutive goals against Eintracht Braunschweig and FC Augsburg showed his pedigree to contribute in all competitions. His tally at the end of the season was 7 goals and 3 assists in all competitions, excellent figures for a midfielder of his age.
2015/16 was where Meyer’s numbers improved to 6 goals and 8 assists for Schalke. Alongside his club form, he was performing brilliantly for Germany U21s with 5 goals in the U21 Euros. Many believed from this point on, that ‘The German Messi’ would transition from an exciting prospect to a world class player in the forseeable future.
Despite contributing to just 1 goal in 2017/18, Meyer’s performances improved with his vision and technical ability suiting his deeper position far more. Furthermore, he was also contributing defensively and provided cover for the back four in a defensive midfield role too. Meyer’s performances in a new role helped Schalke finish as runners up to Bayern Munich. Yet he refused a new contract and has now left the club.
Meyer is a technically gifted player and has all the attributes to succeed as a midfielder. He is a very competent dribbler and an excellent passer which has likened him to Lionel Messi in the past. However more recently, Meyer has shown his prowess in a more defensive role. In spite of the fact he is 5ft 8 inches tall and not very physically strong, the German averaged 2 tackles and 2.3 interceptions a game in 2017/18.
After succeeding in a slightly deeper role, Meyer has therefore shown his versatility to be deployed effectively as an attacking midfielder, a deep lying playmaker and a defensive midfielder. However, he has also gained a reputation for a poor attitude after being banished from first team training towards the end of the 2017/18 season.
One deterrent to either Liverpool or Arsenal signing Meyer is his high wage demands with reports saying he would only accept £4 million a year at Schalke. At 22, Meyer still has plenty of time to develop and has shown he can play in multiple roles successfully. However, he would not start at either club due to the plethora of midfield talent they have at their disposal.
After running down his contract at Schalke, it is evident Meyer is looking for a superior club, yet the lack of interest expressed for him suggests clubs are not too keen on his services. Some say the wonderkid peaked in his teen years, whilst others say he has time to prove his critics wrong. It would be interesting to see Max Meyer at a new club, to find out whether the once so highly rated youngster can now flourish at the top level. But whether Liverpool, Arsenal or any of Europe’s elite take a punt on him may be discovered in the next few weeks.