USMNT Midfielder Weston McKennie Reportedly Close to Juventus Loan from Schalke

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

United States midfielder Weston Mckennie (8) moves the ball against Canada during the second half of a CONCACAF Nations League soccer match Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Juventus are working on a €3 million loan deal with Schalke for United States men's national team midfielder Weston McKennie, according to Sky Sports' Fabrizio Romano.

The Serie A champions would have the option to make the move permanent by paying an €18 million transfer fee.

McKennie made 28 Bundelisga appearances for Schalke this season, finishing with three goals. The 21-year-old was the 10th-highest-rated player (6.78) at the club on WhoScored.com.

Schalke are in the midst of a financial crunch, having finished the 2018-19 season with debts nearing €200 million. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, with the club saying in April it's "facing a potentially existence-threatening financial situation."

As a result, McKennie is one of the most obvious candidates to leave, be it to Juventus or another club. He's one of Schalke's brightest talents, and his connection to the USMNT likely brings added commercial benefits.

A move to Juve would be clearly a strong endorsement of McKennie.

roger bennett @rogbennett

21-year old Weston McKennie of Little Elm, Texas, linked with move to Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus. American football will improve when our best young players test themselves against the best. May McKennie continue to grow and grow 🇺🇸 https://t.co/NCdh5WqtNI

However, playing time would be one concern since the club already has Adrien Rabiot, Aaron Ramsey and Rodrigo Bentancur. Arthur's arrival from Barcelona is imminent as well, and French outlets (h/t the Guardian's Barry Glendenning) have reported Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar would be interested in a transfer to Juventus.

Aaron West @oeste

Y’all won’t stop pestering me for it so here it is: I’m skeptical of Weston McKennie to Juve. They do not have a good track record of developing young players, & it remains to be seen if his playing style is a good fit for the team. I hope I am SO wrong, but I’m worried.

Romano reported on Aug. 21 that Juve will terminate Khedira's contract, which would clear up the log jam somewhat. The arrival of Andrea Pirlo as manager represents a clean slate to some extent as well.

Still, Juventus have set a high bar for themselves. Their dominance in Italy is such that winning Serie A is almost a given, and anything short of a Champions League title is a disappointment. Bringing the club its ninth straight league championship wasn't enough for Maurizio Sarri to earn a second season as manager.

Player development might take a back seat for Pirlo in his first year, which would potentially mean a younger star such as McKennie getting overlooked for more proven options.