Bayern Munich have announced the signing of goalkeeper Alexander Nubel on a free transfer from Schalke.
The 23-year-old will officially link up with his new team at the end of the season, when his contract with Schalke ends.
Nubel had long been linked with a move to Bayern, as a long-term replacement for Manuel Neuer, who some believe has regressed in recent years after suffering with injury problems.
Five things to know as Alexander Nubel joins Bayern Munich…
- Alexander Nubel made his Bundesliga debut aged 19 in the final day of the 2015/16 season.
- But he would have to wait another two years for his top-flight outing, another final day appearance in 2017/18.
- He has since gone on to make 35 Bundesliga appearances for Schalke, conceding 47 goals and keeping 11 clean sheets.
- But he will join Bayern Munich in the summer when his contract with Schalke runs out.
- Nubel is the latest player Bayern have managed to sign on a free transfer from Bundesliga rivals, a list that includes Robert Lewandowski.
Neuer himself made the switch from Schalke to Bayern Munich in 2011/12 and went on to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world, winning the Champions League and World Cup alongside several domestic triumphs. But with this transfer, Bayern are very much looking to the future.
In 15 Bundesliga game so far this season, Nubel has kept four clean sheets and conceded 18 goals, helping Schalke overcome some tricky patches to stand in good stead ahead of the second half of the campaign.
Neuer, in that same period, has conceded 22 goals and kept five clean sheets in 17 games with a slightly worse average.
Pitting the pair head to head, Nubel has been slightly busier than his future team-mate, understandably, having to make 3.26 saves per 90 minutes on average compared to Neuer’s 2.71.
But Nubel has had more success in keeping shots out, with a save percentage of 72.73% to Neuer’s 67.65%. It’s come in a good season for Nubel in which he had cemented himself as Schalke’s number one goalkeeper having usurped Ralf Fahrmann at the end of the previous campaign.
His contributions to the team were recognised when Nubel was named captain ahead of the 2019/20 season, though Schalke have announced he has now been replaced by Omar Mascarell after a mutual agreement.
When asked about the decision, Schalke boss David Wagner revealed it was made to avoid unrest in the squad.
“We looked at all the pros and cons and decided that it’s better for the team if he gives up the armband,” he said.
“This way we avoid constant unrest.
“In the coming months, there are bigger things to think about than this. It cannot be that one player is put under the spotlight.
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“Alex remains an important member of the group. We need to continue to completely support every player.”
Wagner went on to admit the club tried to persuade Nubel to stay long-term but reiterated Schalke will be in a good position next season, especially once Fahrmann returns from his loan spell at Premier League club Norwich City.
“We tried everything to convince Alex to stay. Unfortunately it didn’t work out.
“In Schubi [Markus Schubert] and Ralf Fährmann, we have two great goalkeepers for next season. We needn’t worry about this position.”
Schubert has had to deputise for Nubel in Schalke’s recent games after the 23-year-old was sent off in a 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, keeping one clean sheet in three matches – though that came in the final 21 minutes against the Eagles.
Nubel is the latest Bundesliga player Bayern Munich have managed to secure on a free transfer due to contract expirations. Just last season, Leon Goretzka made the switch from Schalke to Bayern, following in the footsteps of the likes of Sebastian Rudy and Robert Lewandowski.