Schalke have announced the signing of Felipe Santana from rivals Borussia Dortmund. The centerback will be in Gelsenkirchen through June 2016. Santana's arrival is much needed after the retirement of Christoph Metzelder.
Santana, 27, has been the third centerback behind Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels in Dortmund for the previous five seasons and is making the move purely for playing time. Even though he played in more matches this season due to injuries suffered by Subotic and Hummels, Santana's chances of becoming a regular starter and breaking the Subotic-Hummels partnership were not high.
"It is very important to me to thank all fans, teammates and officials for the wonderful time I had in Dortmund. My decision to leave the club was not an easy one, which can be seen from the fact that I extended my contract again last summer even though I hadn't been a regular starter. But that's what I need to become if I want to make my dream of becoming a Brazil international come true. That is my ultimate goal."
Even though Schalke will have Joel Matip and Benedikt Höwedes penciled into the two starting centerback positions, Santana's chances of playing himself into a starting position at the Veltins Arena is better than it ever was at Signal Iduna Park. Sporting director Horst Heldt is obviously high on the move. "We are very pleased that Felipe Santana has opted for the FC Schalke 04, because it is characterized by aggressive duel behavior, reliability and goal threat. In addition, for five years he already knows the Bundesliga."
Another thing to keep an eye on in this deal is if Kyriakos Papadopoulos finds a way out of Schalke. The Greek defender has been linked with a move to England, specifically Liverpool, for weeks now. With Liverpool's signing of Kolo Toure today, the question of "What does this mean for Papa?" remains.