Just 21 years of age, Nastasic is vastly experienced for such a young defender, but he has fallen on hard times.
After moving from Fiorentina to City in the summer of 2012, he slid right into the starting lineup to make 21 Premier League appearances and 32 across all competitions. But things have gone downhill since, with his appearance numbers dropping every year in the aftermath of his debut season.
Nastasic appeared 13 times across the title-winning season last year, mostly due to a serious knee injury he sustained in early February that kept him out for the remainder of the campaign. Healthy and rehabbed, Nastasic hasn’t made a single appearance yet this year, not even on the bench once. With captain Vincent Kompany occupying one spot, Manuel Pellegrini has preferred summer buy Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis to the youngster, even though Mangala has been listed by many as one of the summer transfer window busts.
Now, it appears Nastasic will get to try his luck with the Bundesliga. If he becomes a mainstay in the Schalke teamsheet, it will mark his third league he will have been a regular in, a shocking tally for a 21-year-old and a fantastic addition to his resume. Shalke currently sits fifth in the Bundesliga table, and while their defensive record isn’t a disaster, 21 goals allowed in 17 matches is more than anyone above them in the standings.
Schalke plays a 3-at-the-back system under Roberto di Matteo, so there’s plenty of space for Nastasic. The German side already has World Cup defender and team captain Benedikt Howedes at one central spot, but being the most heavily used central defender on the team at 13 league appearances out of a possible 17, the new kid will have plenty of opportunities to earn his keep among Howedes, Joel Matip, Kaan Ayhan, and Jan Kirchhoff.