(I don’t usually caption the photos at the top of my stories, but just LOOK at the face on the Wuppertaler. Sheer exasperation!)
Bild (yes, I know! I know!) posted a report saying that Jajalo may be ready to leave Köln in the winter break.
With a contract that runs into 2015 and seemingly now far enough down the depth chart to be left off the team completely the last two matches, the only way the former star will get back to playing in competitive matches is to make a move.
Jajalo was clearly given chance to display his wares during the summer friendly matches and even early in the season, but did not perform well enough to keep a regular spot in second-league competition, despite being a regular for his first two seasons with 1. FC Köln when the club was in the Bundesliga.
If that doesn’t give insight into the personnel problems that cause the collapse and eventual relegation of the club, I don’t know what will.
Ostensibly, Jajalo is a central midfielder. Despite all the continuing questions about Matthias Lehmann at the six, Jajalo couldn’t establish himself as a go-to defensive mid. Clearly, the arrivals of Marcel Risse and Daniel Halfar prevented any need to try him out on the wings and made the midfield situation a bit crowded.
Then Yannick Gerhardt gets a chance and, after a slight stumble, has accorded himself quite nicely, showing he will be a fixture for the club in the years to come.
“I am completely far away from the team,” said Jajalo in Bild. “I have to accept that’s how it is.”
Jajalo is only 25 years old, far from beyond his prime. It’s possible a new start elsewhere could allow him to reignite his career. He’s still considered quite dangerous on free kicks. It’ll take the right situation, which means opportunity to get on the field for a club with enough money they can take a bit of a financial risk (Hello, Premiership! We have another expensive reclamation project for you!).
The Jörg Schmadtke quotes in regard to the matter, for me, paint the picture of a player who is willing to do little more than pour and feel sorry for himself for having lost his playing time, rather than working harder to force himself back into the picture.
“He must come to us if he wants to change something,” said Schmadtke. “Either to show through is performance that the coach should put him in, or to change himself.”
“The players are well paid and must deal with it professionally.”
Tough words, but that’s why I like Schmadtke. He’s just telling it like it is.
Get better and force your way onto the pitch, or suck it up and suffer your fate like a man.
As I alluded to earlier, anyone who suffered through the torturous end to the 2011-12 campaign, likely remembers how rarely balls were being served forward in a way to put the forwards in good position. Let’s not even get into the issues with the defensive responsibilities. When looking through my red-and-white glasses, I was certain that roster was talented enough to make a run at Europe. Looking back, it seems so obvious now that it was a doomed team.
Of course, looking back, everything seems more clear. And, from what I’m seeing in the rear-view mirror, the end of Jajalo’s playing time in Köln was showing itself two years ago.