Stoke City are planning to entice one of their 2020-21 loanees back to the bet365 Stadium in the form of Rabbi Matondo, per Football Insider.
The eight-cap Wales international swapped Manchester City for Schalke in Germany for £11 million in January 2019, and has made 30 Bundesliga appearances for the club.
After being restricted to playing in just three matches in the first half of last season though, 20-year-old Matondo joined the Potters for the rest of the season, but he was not a regular under Michael O’Neill as he often opted to use a winger-less formation and keep the youngster benched.
But he started the final three games of the Championship campaign and broke his scoring duck in a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest, and O’Neill has clearly seen enough to think that there’s something to work with next season.
Schalke have been relegated to Germany’s second tier but instead of utilising him next season, they’re planning on letting Matondo out on loan once again, and if Stoke can guarantee him game-time then another switch to Staffordshire would make sense.
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Matondo only played 10 times for Stoke so it was a limited amount of time to show what he can do, but if O’Neill wants him back next season then he clearly proved himself enough.
And it may be a sign that the Northern Irishman will be going forward with a 4-2-3-1 formation next season and not a 3-5-2 as Matondo wouldn’t be needed if the plan was to use the latter.
Matondo clearly has a lot of potential – you don’t move for £11 million at such a young age if you aren’t a special talent, but he needs to show it next season to prove that he belongs in one of the top divisions.
And this next season could be a platform for Matondo to make it back in the Premier League if he impresses in the Championship – it wouldn’t harm his chances of getting back in the Wales squad either.