Before examining the ramifications for Schalke, there are two main misunderstandings about Boateng's transfer that need to be clarified.
Misunderstanding No. 1: It makes no sense for AC Milan to sell Boateng after he scored two goals against PSV Eindhoven, so off-field behaviour must have forced the club to sell him.
According to a tweet by AC Milan News, Boateng claimed he had been in contact with Schalke as early as September 2012:
Boateng: "Schalke 04 already contacted me a year ago. Sometimes you just have to wait for good things to happen."— AC Milan News (@Milanello) August 30, 2013
Schalke's director of sport, Horst Heldt, said the club worked "intensively" for the past few weeks to convince Milan to sell Boateng, according to PA Sport (via The World Game).
"It was easy to convince Kevin to join us, but it was harder to convince Milan to sell," Heldt said.
Yes, Boateng's professionalism has been called into question, with Football Italia quoting current Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho as saying: "We want football players, not fashion models. Last year he had more hairstyles than goals."
However, Heldt's quotes rule out the likelihood of Milan selling Boateng in a knee-jerk move.
In typical Milan pragmatism, they squeezed everything out of Boateng, culminating in his parting gift to Rossoneri supporters: two goals against PSV in the Champions League qualifying second leg.
Why did Boateng want out, and what does this mean for Milan?
Moving to Schalke was a lifestyle decision for Boateng.
He went through a shooting slump with Milan last season netting two league goals from 92 shots.
Though his deteriorating form wasn't the primary talking point; it was the racial abuse he suffered that prompted him to re-consider his future in Italy, not for his own sake but that of his family.
"I said to myself, in this kind of environment, in this situation, I don't want to play football anymore," he said, according to Chris Murphy at CNN. "I want my son to grow up in a nice place and not in a place where he has to be confronted by racism."
From Milan's perspective, the club received €12 million for a frustratingly inconsistent footballer.
If Massimiliano Allegri persists with the 4-3-3, 18-year-old M'Baye Niang takes Boateng's position on the right flank.
Should Allegri change to a 4-3-1-2, he will hope the "1" will be filled by either Keisuke Honda or Kaka, because both are transfer targets, as revealed by Milan vice president Adriano Galliani on Football Italia.
Misunderstanding No. 2: Schalke are stupid for signing a cup-tied Boateng.
UEFA altering the wording around what constitutes a cup-tied player gives Schalke the right to argue their case in playing Boateng in this season's Champions League despite him appearing for Milan against PSV.
According to Reuters, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino had this to say during the 2009-10 season:
From next season, if a player's club is eliminated [in qualification] and he signs for a new club by the end of the summer transfer window on September 1 he can play for his new club in either competition [Champions League and Europa League].
This is the reason why Real Madrid sealed Mesut Ozil's transfer from Werder Bremen a day before the German club's Champions League qualification first-leg game against Sampdoria (Bremen would go on to win 5-4 on aggregate).
Now throw that example into the bin.
If you read 18.07 on page 27 in the Champions League regulations, there is no definitive reference to a a player's former club needing to be eliminated for him to appear in the same competition for his new club:
As a rule, a player may not play in a UEFA club competition (i.e. UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, but not UEFA Super Cup) for more than one club in the course of the same season.
Exceptionally, however, a player who has been fielded in the first, second, third qualifying round or the play-offs of the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League is entitled to play in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League for another club as from the group stage.
BBC sports reporter John Bennett tweeted that UEFA's wording may enable Boateng to play for Schalke in the Champions League, even though he has already done so for Milan, a team that qualified for the group stages.
This point was further backed up in a tweet by Bundesliga expert Clark Whitney.
Consequences of Schalke Buying Kevin-Prince Boateng from AC Milan
- In the midfield "3" of the 4-2-3-1, Boateng started centrally behind Adam Szalai in the 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. This means Julian Draxler's audition as a deep-lying forward is over, and he'll move back to the left, thus relegating Christian Clemens to the bench.
- The only way manager Jens Keller can play Boateng, Szalai and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar together is in a 4-3-1-2, which heavily relies on full-backs to provide width. This won't happen because the club's best player is right attacking midfielder Jefferson Farfan and their cash-cow is Draxler, who plays on the left. So, if Szalai keeps on scoring, it's possible Huntelaar, currently nursing a knee injury, will be on the outer looking in.
- With Jermaine Jones, Leon Goretzka, Marco Hoger and Roman Neustadter competing for the two pivot positions, it's unlikely that Keller will ask Boateng to play in the engine room—his natural position.
- The chances of 17-year-old wunderkind Max Meyer having a breakout season will dwindle due to Boateng's presence.
- Schalke are closing their eyes and plunging into the deep end with a mercurial Boateng. They're praying he doesn't end up like Jose Manuel Jurado, who showed glimpses of quality but never justified his €13 million valuation.
Kevin-Prince Boateng Humour
Klopp: “I wrote him a text message: ‘Why Schalke????????’ with eight question marks. Boateng was a good guy, until this morning." #BvB— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) September 1, 2013