Moritz Jenz has joined Schalke on loan for the rest of the season and the Bundesliga side have immediately picked up on the central defender’s nickname affectionately afforded to him by the Celtic support. ‘Mercedes Jenz is Here – Welcome to Schalke, Moritz Jenz’ FC Schalke 04 proudly announced earlier today on their social media channels.
Big Mercedes was relatively unknown in his homeland having left Germany at an early age to go through the Academy system in London at Fulham alongside his friend and former Celtic teammate Matt O’Riley. He played 19 games for Celtic this season, standing in for the injured Carl Starfelt and Jenz featured in all six Champions League matches this season, including the two games against Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig.
“We have signed a quick and reliable centre-back in Moritz, who has been able to prove himself in the Champions League already this season,” Peter Knäbel, Schalke’s board member for sport stated.
“We have kept an eye on him for a while now and were interested in him in the summer already, so we’re pleased to have completed the transfer now. We’re convinced that Moritz has a lot of potential.”
— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) January 26, 2023
“Two key things define Moritz as a player: his pace and ability to win challenges. He is a very attacking-minded defender and also completes a high number of passes. His style of play will beneficial to us,” head coach Thomas Reis said about the new signing.
The 23-year-old, said his goodbyes to Celtic last night ahead of today’s move to Schalke and is clearly delighted with the move where he will have the opportunity to play regular first team football.
“I was really pleased when I heard that Schalke were interested in me,” he told the German club’s official website. “Of course I’m aware of the league standings and I know that it will be a tough task, but I want to tackle it head on with my new teammates and be as successful as possible.”
Jenz’s farewell Celtic message certainly impressed. Big Mercedes stated:
“Dear Celtic family, I’m sad to say that I’m leaving the club after a short time, it’s been for me a fantastic period at the club. I‘m very proud and honoured to have been a part of the Celtic Football Club. Like I said at the beginning of my time it was and it has been a dream.
“The fans of Celtic will always have a special place in my heart, they are kind, honest and passionate. I want to thank everyone that works at Celtic, from the staff to the people taking care of us players in the stadium and in the training ground.
“I’m very lucky to have been part of such a fantastic squad of players, it’s really a TEAM and a Family Everyone is fighting for each other to make history for this great Club and I‘m gonna miss them so much!
“A massive thank you to Mr Postecoglou for giving me the opportunity to play for this fantastic club. It has been an honour to work with him and his team.
“Well I guess I have to cut it short now 🙂 Here we go again, I am on the road again.
“Hopefully one day I can come back to see Paradise.”
One minor point on all of this that’s worth making. Jenz joined Celtic on a season-long loan from French second tier side FC Lorient with Celtic having an option to buy. It looks like with the Celtic loan being cut short, presumably at the players request, for reasons of lack of first team opportunities at Celtic in the second half of the season, the option to play for Bundesliga strugglers Schalke fulfils his first team football requirements.
If Celtic had actually bought Jenz then it would seem reasonable to assume that if he wanted away for the exact same reason, then Celtic would have been in a good position to negotiate a substantial increase in the transfer fee paid, given the player playing six matches in the Champions League Group stages.
If Jenz does well at Schalke – and there’s no reason to believe that he won’t – then FC Lorient might just get the benefit of his time at Celtic with a considerably enhanced transfer fee.