Following the near-miss against Real Madrid in the Champions League, Schalke has confirmed it triggered the permanent option in the loan of defender Matija Nastasic, keeping him at Schalke long-term.
On loan from Manchester City since the winter transfer window, the 21-year-old has appeared in every single possible match for the German side in both the league and European play, not missing a single minute. Although the defense was far from the star of the show, he was on the field for the full 90 minutes in the 4-3 Champions League win over Real Madrid on Tuesday that saw Schalke barely eliminated on aggregate.
Nastasic burst onto the scene with Fiorentina in the 2011/12 season as just an 18-year-old kid, making 25 league appearances and nearly reaching 2,000 Serie A minutes. Manchester City immediately swooped in and completed a $16 million transfer, and the Serbian defender slid immediately into the side. He made 21 league appearances and again came close to 2,000 minutes as City finished second in the table.
But for some reason, unknown to much of the media and fans, new manager Manuel Pellegrini came in and immediately phased the bright young defender out of the squad, giving him just 13 appearances the following year, and leaving him out of the team completely this season before his January switch to the Bundesliga.
“I am proud and delighted to stay at Schalke,” Nastasic told the Schalke official website upon completion of his permanent move. “I have been a part of the team from my first day on, and I want to contribute my part so that we as a club reach our goals.”
According to a number of reports, Nastasic’s deal was always going to become permanent so long as he made the required number of appearances for his new club on loan. The new deal is a 4-1/2 year contract, keeping him under club control until 2019, the club announced.