It’s a testament of the fearsome strength in depth at Germany’s disposal that Schalke’s wonderkid duo Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka were both victorious in different international tournaments this summer.
Meyer lifted the Under-21 European championship’s title after Stefan Kuntz’s side edged out Spain in the final while Goretzka played a starring role as Joachim Low’s experimental, second-string side deservedly won the Confederations Cup in Russia.
The fact that Goretzka was chosen in the senior squad while Meyer played with the youth side, however, only exacerbates the feeling that the former has overtaken the latter as Schalke’s most exciting talent.
For the last few years, the diminutive Meyer was seen as Germany’s most promising young midfielder and was relentlessly linked with a big-money move to the Premier League. The Sun reported in June that Tottenham Hotspur scouted the 22-year-old during the European Championships this summer with Mauricio Pochettino keen on a £17.5 million move.
Though Meyer, who was valued at around £39 million only a year ago, is no longer the most promising midfielder in Germany. He’s not even the most promising midfielder at Schalke.
Because Goretzka seized his chance in style during the Confederations Cup. The Bochum-born powerhouse, just seven months Meyer’s senior, scored three goals during a breakthrough tournament including a marvellous double against Mexico in the semi-finals.
He has been likened to legendary German midfielders Michael Ballack and Stefan Effenberg in some quarters and has maintained his excellent form in the opening weeks of a new Bundesliga season.
Reports in The Mail that Goretzka is now being scouted by Manchester United and Bayern Munich show how far he’s come in just a short space of time. Powerful, quick and blessed with an excellent strike from distance, Goretzka is pretty much the archetypal Jose Mourinho midifelder.
With Meyer’s contract expiring in the summer, meanwhile, his future appears equally uncertain.