Schalke land striker Szalai

Schalke 04 today confirmed the signing of striker Ádám Szalai from FSV Mainz 05.

Both Bild and SkySport had reported earlier in the week of the impending transfer, so it comes as no surprise to see Szalai become a Schalke player.

The Hungarian’s €8m release clause was triggered by die Königsblauen, before he signed a four-year contract subject to completion of a medical. The 25-year old will wear the number 28 shirt next season.

“Ádám Szalai is an outstanding striker who had a good goalscoring record in Mainz,” said Schalke general manager Horst Heldt of his new signing. “Last season showed that our squad needs adding to. Professional competition is important for us in trying to achieve our objectives. Ádám is at a very good age and has a strong character, he is a hungry player and wants to achieve great things at Schalke.”

Szalai’s career began in Stuttgart, where just one season with VfB’s reserve side was enough to tempt Real Madrid to snap up the 19-year old for €500k. Two and a half seasons later, following 23 goals in 71 games for Real’s B team, Szalai returned to Germany on loan with Mainz – and made the move permanent in 2010.

A cruciate ligament injury curtailed his first full season at Mainz, keeping him out of action for twelve months, before the Hungarian signed a contract extension in the summer of 2012.

Szalai’s Mainz career took off last season, as the 25 year-old followed up a hat-trick against Hoffenheim with his most productive campaign to date – netting 13 times and laying on three goals for his teammates in 29 appearances.

The powerful Hungarian leaves Mainz having scored 24 goals in 85 games for die Nullfünfer, and has run out 16 times for his national side since making his debut in 2009 – scoring seven times in the process.

Szalai becomes Schalke’s third summer signing, with defender Felipe Santana joining from Ruhr rivals Borussia Dortmund and FC Köln winger Christian Clemens joining the Gelsenkirchen outfit.

SZALAI FACTFILE

Position: Striker

Stronger foot: Right

Age: 25

Best attributes: Strength, heading, shot power, target man and hold-up play

Plays a bit like: Mario Mandzukic, Fred

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