Having steered Schalke to second place in his debut Bundesliga season in 2017/18, head coach Domenico Tedesco wasted little time in strengthening his squad over the summer as the Royal Blues look to go one better this term.

Omar Mascarell

Age: 25
Position: Defensive midfield
Signed from: Eintracht Frankfurt
What to expect: A robust shield in front of the backline who is also able to launch attacks from deep.

The fact that Schalke swooped for Mascarell despite the Spaniard being restricted to just nine Bundesliga outings for Frankfurt in 2017/18 due to a foot injury is indicative of just how highly regarded he is. In need of reinforcements in central midfield following the departures of Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka, they now have a ready-made replacement.

The Real Madrid academy graduate excels thanks to his positioning and reading of the game, invariably finding himself in the right place at the right time to break up opposition attacks. Fearless in the tackle, Mascarell is not only a defensive terrier but often instigates counter-attacks given his ease on the ball and outstanding range of passing. "He's a player who'll do us a lot of good," said Tedesco. "He's already proved his qualities in the Bundesliga."

Did you know?

Although he was born on Spanish soil and represented Spain at U-20 level, Mascarell could have played for Equatorial Guinea due to his father's ancestry. Indeed, in 2012 he was called up by the African nation for their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Tunisia and Sierra Leone and travelled to the country's capital of Malabo. According to an official press release he did not play because he was forced to wait for the Equatorial Guinea FA to "finish the administrative paperwork for his eligibility," while he has since declined to pursue matters further.

Salif Sane

Age: 27
Position: Centre-back
Signed from: Hannover 96
What to expect: A no-nonsense partner for Naldo at the heart of the backline.

Having finished the 2017/18 campaign with the second-meanest defence in the league – just 37 conceded all term – imagine what Schalke can do now that they've added the hulking 6'4" Senegal international to their ranks to play alongside the equally intimidating Naldo. Sane won more aerial duels (225) than any other player in the league last season and his tally of 432 tackles won overall was bested only by Augsburg's Caiuby.

Salif Sane (l.) could be the key to head coach Domenico Tedesco's (r.) Schalke side mounting a serious challenge for silverware this season. © imago / RHR-Foto

Yet Sane also has ability to back up the brawn and is composed at bringing the ball out of defence, while offering a reliable threat at the other end of the pitch too. No team scored more goals from set-pieces than Schalke last season (26), so the arrival of Sane - who pitched in with four goals of his own for Hannover - will give them an even greater threat this time.

Did you know?

Sane's older brother Lamine is also a professional footballer. Now at MLS side Orlando City, he spent two years at Werder Bremen between 2016 and 2018, although the siblings never played against each other while their careers coincided in Germany.

Mark Uth

Age: 26
Position: Striker
Signed from: Hoffenheim
What to expect: Goals galore!

Despite qualifying for the UEFA Champions League in 2017/18, the fact Schalke only found the net 53 times - the lowest of any side in the top six - was cause for concern. Furthermore, only 27 of those goals came from open play - which is where Uth comes in. He may look like a harmless boy-next-door type, but he is absolutely lethal in and around the penalty box and ended up as Hoffenheim's sharpest shooter last term with 14.

Watch: Uth's top 5 Bundesliga goals

His ruthlessness has even impressed his new Royal Blue colleagues. "Mark's an absolute killer in front of goal," enthused fellow forward Breel Embolo recently. If Uth can show that on a regular basis once again, Schalke will take quite some stopping.

Did you know?

The left-footer is also a gifted golfer and enjoys hitting the greens whenever his schedule allows. "After football, golf is definitely my number two sport," said the forward, who would often partner with former Hoffenheim team-mate Tobias Strobl. "After a match I play it to help me switch off. It's fun to pay a few rounds with the boys."

Suat Serdar

Age: 21
Position: Midfield
Signed from: Mainz
What to expect: An up-and-coming Germany youth international to increasingly set the tone in the middle of the park.

If your first thought when reading Serdar's name was "erm... who?", don't worry, you're probably not the only one. Yet Germany's football community has long known about the former Mainz player, who has represented his country at every youth level so far.

Suat Serdar (r.) will do battle with USA international Weston McKennie (l.) for a starting spot in Schalke's midfield this season. © imago / DeFodi

If Mascarell was brought in as a replacement for the more deep-lying Meyer, Serdar can be seen as the man to fill Goretzka's boots. Indeed, he shares the same versatility as is predecessor and is able to play in a holding midfield role, as well as a more attacking, box-to-box one, having done so for Mainz over the past couple of seasons.

Did you know?

Serdar was persuaded to join Schalke after a lengthy phone call with Tedesco, who impressed the midfielder with an in-depth knowledge of his playing style. "We spoke for over an hour," he told Schalke's official website. "He told me what he's got planned, what he thinks of me and how he can improve my game. It was fascinating to discover everything he knew about me. When I was in the Mainz U-17s I played against his U-17 Stuttgart team. He's a cool guy."

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