Donis Avdijaj admitted he turned down a number of top European clubs, including Liverpool, before committing his future to Schalke, according to an exclusive interview with the 22-year-old from Goal.
Avdijaj, who now plays his trade for Willem II in the Eredivisie, was one of the most sought after prospects in Europe after scoring 59 goals in 53 matches for Schalke’s U17s and then 17 in 24 for the U19s and he has revealed that he struggled with the pressure amidst interest from the likes of Liverpool.
“At that time [after signing his first contract at Schalke in the age of 18] everyone wanted to be my friend,” he stated to Goal.
“Everyone wanted to tell me what’s best for me. I did not have an agent at the time and did not know exactly how to handle the hustle and bustle.
“In my youth, I scored more than 20 goals each season. I also scored 13 times in the junior national team in 13 games and I thought it would go on like this as a professional as well.”
“Not going crazy in such a phase is much harder than going crazy. Before signing for Schalke, I had offers from Juventus, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool. No matter what game or tournament, scouts were always there to watch me.”
However, Avdijaj unfortunately failed to transmit his goal scoring antics in Schalke’s youth set up to the first team, with failed loan spells to Sturm Graz in Austria and Roda in the Netherlands transpiring (along with a brief stay at the Arena AufSchalke in 2014-15) before leaving the Bundesliga side this summer for nothing.
The winger has been in decent form for Willem this campaign, with 4 goals and 2 assists in 13 appearances, although interest from the likes of Liverpool and Juventus no longer seems forthcoming.
I’m sure Avdijaj retains a hint of regret for not securing a move earlier in his career.