Franco Di Santo leaves Werder Bremen and moves to Schalke
Schalke have completed the signing of Franco Di Santo from Bundesliga rivals Werder Bremen after activating a release clause in the player's contract.
Di Santo left Bremen on Saturday morning after that clause was activated and, after undergoing a medical, he was officially unveiled as a Schalke player on Saturday evening, in time to link up with his new teammates for a three-day training camp from Sunday.
The former Chelsea and Wigan striker could make his debut in a friendly against Porto on Monday night.
"We are delighted that Franco Di Santo has decided to join us," said Schalke's sporting director Horst Heldt. "He is precisely the kind of player we were looking for in attack."
Di Santo has signed a four-year contract with the Gelsenkirchen club after an acrimonious exit from Bremen, whose director of sport Thomas Eichin was critical of the way the player's agent had treated them.
The Argentinian had only a year left to run on his contract in northern Germany and attempts to extend that deal had been made, but Eichin says the player's agent had kept them waiting unnecessarily.
"It was agreed that he would let us know early on if he would like to stay or not," Eichin told Bremen supporters at the Weser Stadion.
"Now everything has happened very, very quickly and I am anything but impressed with this behaviour."
Bremen ultimately could not prevent Di Santo from leaving, since the conditions of his clause were met, but his departure right in the middle of pre-season training was not part of the plan.
Bremen fans present at an open day urged Eichin to sign Claudio Pizarro, who is out of contract after leaving Bayern Munich.
The Peruvian is one of many candidates Eichin says he will now take a closer look at.
"Only now am I really able to start negotiations," Eichin told the Bild newspaper. "We want to sign a new striker as quickly as possible. I'm looking forwards."