The fans of Hertha BSC traditionally wish FC Schalke 04 nothing good. In this respect, they should be quite satisfied at the moment, regardless of how their own team performs. Schalke, promoted to the Bundesliga, are still waiting for a win after four match days. They have already conceded eleven goals, even though they haven’t played against Bayern Munich yet.
However, it remains to be seen whether that is really a reason for Hertha fans to be happy. Because in the goal of Schalke is Alexander Schwolow, a loan from Hertha BSC. The Berliners themselves no longer have a use for the goalkeeper, who they brought from Freiburg in 2020 for seven million euros.
Hertha would like to get Schwolow permanently off the payroll, but his previous appearances at Schalke were not, all in all, a recommendation for a permanent commitment. So it’s quite possible that the goalkeeper will return to Berlin next summer. That would not be completely new for Hertha BSC.
Deadline Day, that sounds final somewhere. After that there is nothing. In the case of Hertha BSC it is only to a limited extent. Many of the transfers made by the club this summer are footnoted: Is only on loan. Or: Is only lent. Which means nothing else than: It can be gone again next summer. Or maybe it will be back next summer. “We’ll still have to clean up a few things,” says Fredi Bobic, Hertha’s head of sport, with a view to the coming year. “It’s very demanding.”
Bobic has already had enough of this experience. In the second half of the previous season, ten players were loaned out to other clubs, with Arne Maier and Eduard Löwen alone subsequently being sold. Everyone else returned to Hertha first. And while coach Sandro Schwarz only planned Dodi Lukebakio and Jessic Ngankam from the start, Daishawn Redan and Omar Alderete were immediately loaned out again, but this time to other clubs.
The same goes for Krzysztof Piatek, whose loan to US Salernitana in Serie A was completed on Deadline Day. It was the last transaction Hertha made on Thursday. Fredi Bobic announced three hours before the transfer deadline in an interview with Sky: “We have nothing left to do.”
The Italian first division club, which according to the “Bild” newspaper pays a rental fee of one million euros for the Pole, has a purchase option for the Pole after the season for – depending on the source – seven to ten million euros. Already this season, however, Hertha is saving Piatek’s exorbitantly high annual salary of over 4.5 million euros.
“With the transfer we have found a solution that is satisfactory for all parties,” says Bobic. “I hope he does his digs. Then it’s good for both sides.” Because Piatek provides the necessary arguments that could convince Salernitana to buy the striker.
Hertha decided not to sign another attacker as a reaction to Piatek’s departure, although shortly before the end of the transfer deadline the rumor came up again that the Berliners wanted to try again with Ludovic Ajorque from Racing Straßburg, who was still closed to them a few weeks ago was expensive. “The fact is that we have enough strikers,” explains Bobic.
Borrowing is the new buying, lending is the new selling. This is not least due to the effects of the corona pandemic. A lot of clubs have to save, so there’s no demand, and before you take the risk of investing a lot of money in a player, it’s better to agree on a kind of trial year to see if it really fits.
The trend towards loan business therefore by no means only affects Hertha BSC. However, this trend hits a club that has been in constant upheaval for at least three years particularly hard. Stringent and, above all, forward-looking personnel planning is difficult under the current circumstances. Hertha’s sports manager Bobic doesn’t even know which players will return after the season.
The loans that Hertha have made this summer are rarely used to give young players who are not yet mature enough for the Bundesliga a class or two below important match practice. That’s the case with 19-year-old Mesut Kesik, who has now been under contract with the Turkish second division club Göztepe for a year.
Or with Luca Wollschläger, who is the same age and was loaned out to the third division club Rot-Weiss Essen for a year on Thursday. “It is important for his development that he collects playing time at the highest possible level in the senior division. This requirement is met in Essen,” explains Bobic. “We expect Luca to be back with us next summer.”
The plan is different for the other six players on loan. They should recommend themselves in such a way that, ideally, they won’t come back at all. Otherwise Bobic could have his hands tied again next summer like they were this summer.
Reducing costs and creating space in the squad: that was his primary task. “We had a tough summer,” says Bobic. In fact, the Berliners, who recently threw the money on the market with both hands, achieved a surplus of around 18 million euros in this transfer period, and were also able to significantly reduce personnel costs. What that means for the quality of the squad is another question.
Arne Maier (Augsburg, 5 million euros), Jurgen Ekkelenkamp (Antwerp, 5 million), Javairo Dilrosun (Feyenoord, 4 million), Jordan Torunarigha (Gent, 3.5 million), Dedryck Boyata (Bruges, 2 million), Eduard Löwen (St.Louis, 1M), Anton Kade (Basel, 1M), Krzysztof Piatek (Salerniatana, Loan, 1M), Alexander Schwolow (Schalke, Loan, 300,000), Santiago Ascacibar (Cremonese, Loan), Omar Alderete ( Getafe, loan), Fredrik Björkan (Feyenoord, loan), Daishawn Redan (Utrecht, loan), Mesut Kesik (Göztepe, loan), Luca Wollschläger (Essen, loan), Niklas Stark (Bremen), Ishak Belfodil (Al-Gharaffa) , Marcel Lotka (Dortmund), Lukas Klünter (Bielefeld), Nils Körber (Rostock).
Wilfried Kanga (4 million), Jessic Ngankam (500,000), Augustine Rogel (400,000), Philip Uremovic, Jean-Paul Boetius, Jonjoe Kenny, Ivan Sunjic and Chidera Ejuke.