FC Schalke's long, illustrious history is being undermined by the past three years of contractual limbo. In these past three years, the third most profitable club in the ever-growing Bundesliga has had to watch far too many players walk out of the door for free.
That can set a club back.
But all of the other Bosman deals were just the prequel. They seem to be escalating in severity. Joel Matip? That stings. Sead Kolasinac? That burns. Leon Goretzka? That is debilitating.
Goretzka is an everything midfielder. There isn't a thing he can't do and he does all the extras too. Free kicks? Check. Defend? Check. Pace? Check. He's everything you could want and he could fetch a fee among the highest we've seen in recent years. He is, after all, only 22 years old.
Unfortunately for Schalke, and as we all know, he is leaving for free, unless Schalke can pull off an unlikely contractual coup amid the circling vultures. After spending five years with the club and seeing an inexplicably silent front in terms of extending his stay with his first big time club, Goretzka is at the point developmentally where he needs another step. And thanks to the poor planning on his contract, he can embrace a future where he is in complete control.
Everyone wants him. Because there isn't a team out there that can't utilise an everything midfielder.
Schalke will be licking this wound for awhile, but in a show of complete competence and intelligence that we simply haven't seen these past three years, they have made the steps to ensure that this doesn't happen again.
Rising United States midfielder Weston McKennie, who had only just signed for the club in 2016, was given a beefy new contract that will see him locked in until 2022, also known as the year he turns 24. Meaning that when McKennie really starts showing what he is worth - in his early 20s, Schalke will be in control to either lock him down for longer or sell him when he still has value.
Unlike Goretzka, whose contract ran out just as he was showing the world just how good he can be. All he had to do was wait. He was in control.
It's a lesson that was begging to be learned by the German club, and with their handling of McKennie, it looks like they have finally learned it. Which can only mean good things for their future as the rest of their budding stars start entering the same territory.