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The second half of the season hasn’t been special for Schalke. While they were very much in the top-four race early on in the season under David Wagner, but the slump in the second half of the season has let them down. Leading online bookmakers like newcasino2019.co.uk are now tipping the side to finish mid-table. But that shouldn’t be enough to take the shine off the season Suat Serdar has had so far.

Last season wasn’t the best one for the Gelsenkirchen-based side. It was Serdar’s first season at the club on arriving from Mainz in the summer of 2018. The club finished only five points clear of relegation, finishing 14th in the table. The club had two different managers and there was a lack of stability.

The relegation of Huddersfield Town to the Championship saw Wagner come in at Schalke, replacing Huub Stevens. From the very start, the American-German brought in a playing style at the club. His high-pressing system in a flexible 4-3-3 has brought the best out of many players. Serdar perhaps, is one of them. Another online portal, NewFreeSpins.Casino, is tipping Serdar to win their player of the season award.

Last season, the German scored only two goals in the whole season. He was the most advanced midfielder behind Guido Burgstaller and Breel Embolo but never got going. In Wagner’s flexible 4-3-3, Serdar has donned the role of a box-to-box midfielder. While Amine Harit often plays centrally to make it a 4-3-1-2, Serdar is tasked with carrying the ball into forward areas from midfield.

As a result, Serdar has thrived in both aspects of the play. He is adept at winning it back and making in-roads into advanced areas. He has won 3.05 tackles per 90 minutes this season, also making as many as 8.97 recoveries per 90 minutes. He has become that tireless midfield engine who works his socks off for the manager.

His ability to carry the ball into attacking areas is highlighted by how he completes 2.93 dribbles per 90 minutes. His dribbling accuracy stands at a very good 63 percent, making it tough for the opposition to stop him. While he creates only 0.67 chances per 90 minutes, that isn’t what is role on the pitch is. He is there to stop attacks and cycle it to Harit, Benito Raman and the goalless Alessandro Schopf.

This has clearly been the best season of Serdar’s career. He’s playing in a preferred role and it allows him to play to strengths in a system that relies on his workrate. In that sense, he has been the centre of things for Wagner’s team. He is certainly helped by Omar Mascarell’s ball-winning, but the ground he covers is indispensable for the whole unit.

This impressive form has seen him make his debut for the German national team already. It has taken Joachim Low’s attention, who has given him three games in the senior side so far. It shows that there is certainly a lot in the player that he can give to club and country.

He has emerged as the sort of player who has very much replaced Leon Goretzka. The midfielder left Schalke on a free transfer after the end of the 2017-18 season, joining Bayern Munich. Serdar has brought a similar sort of thrust and workrate to the plate, replacing Goretzka perfectly.

His tally of seven goals is a bonus too. All but one of them came in the first half of the season, showing how much hand he’s had in Schalke’s season. The second half of the season has seen Serdar face injury issues, forcing Wagner to play Schopf deeper. But it hasn’t led to any benefits. That should be a true reflection of how important Serdar is to Schalke.

It won’t be a surprise that big clubs come calling soon too. He has the complete package to deliver in his style of play. And if he moves on at some point in the near future, it won’t be a surprise.