Injury-prone Germany defender Holger Badstuber is relishing his loan transfer from Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich to Schalke 04 until the end of the season to help kick-start his career.
“Schalke is a club with a great fan base, a great stadium, a young and hungry team, plus a trainer I rate highly,” Badstuber told Sky as Bayern finished their winter training camp in Doha.
“The overall package is very exciting for me.
“I am an emotional player and I need an emotional environment.”
The Royal Blues beat off competition from Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Hamburg and Swansea City for the centre-back, who won the last of his 31 caps for Germany in March 2015.
The short-term switch to Schalke benefits all parties.
Badstuber, 27, who suffered numerous injuries in the last four years, including back-to-back knee injuries, has played just 28 minutes of Bundesliga football since October.
He was Bayern’s fourth-choice centre-back behind Germany pair Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, plus Javi Martinez.
His Bayern contract expires at the end of the season, but head coach Carlo Ancelotti has made it clear the loan transfer will not be made permanent.
The Italian said it was ‘no problem’ for Badstuber to join Schalke to get some game time under his belt over the next six months.
At Schalke, who are 11th in the table, Badstuber will pair up with Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes under head coach Markus Weinzierl.
“I am grateful that FC Bayern has met my wish. I want to get some match practice, which I now need, and I am looking forward to my time in Gelsenkirchen,” Badstuber told the Bayern website.
His experience will boost a Schalke team which has been erratic so far this season.
They set an unenviable club record by losing their first five league games, but climbed from bottom to eighth by being unbeaten in their next seven, only to be winless in their last four matches of 2016.
Badstuber will undergo a medical in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday before signing his contract.
He could feature, along with Schalke’s new Austria striker Guido Burgstaller from second-division Nuremberg, in Saturday’s friendly at third-division Chemnitzer FC.