Transfer Grade: USMNT’s Matthew Hoppe to Mallorca

Written By Tyler Everett on September 1, 2021 - Last Updated on September 2, 2021

Who: Matthew Hoppe
To Where: Mallorca
From Where: Schalke 04
For How Much: €3M ($3.6M)
Grade For Mallorca: B
Grade For Schalke 04: B-

MATTHEW HOPPE TO MALLORCA OVERVIEW

USMNT stars play big roles in just about every big league in Europe, and with this move, there’s now a bit more American blood in La Liga.

Along with Hoppe, Valencia MF Yunus Musah is another promising young USMNT player on a La Liga team in a desirable Spanish city that isn’t Madrid or Barcelona – good for these guys! And the most prominent USMNT player in La Liga remains Sergiño Dest at Barcelona.

Hoppe, who turned 20 in March, arrives on the picturesque island of Mallorca at a club that is much more intriguing and exciting than the average promoted Spanish side. Mallorca’s owner is Robert Sarver, who also owns the Phoenix Suns, and the club’s ownership group includes Steve Nash and Stu Holden. And those might not even be this team’s best-known ambassadors, as Rafa Nadal’s support for his hometown (home-island??) club is well-known.

And I haven’t even mentioned – don’t ask me why I waited until now to bring this up — that Mallorca is currently in first place (!!) in LaLiga on seven points through three matches.

WHO IS MATTHEW HOPPE

More importantly to USMNT fans, Hoppe looks seems as likely as anyone in the U.S. camp to give this team the scorer it’s been missing since the Clint Dempsey days.

Even for those of us who thought they were aware of every U.S. player in a top-five league, Hoppe had us asking, “who the hell is this?” back on January 9, when he exploded for a hat trick against Hoffenheim, becoming the first American to accomplish that feat in the Bundesliga.

He proved that performance was no fluke, standing out as one of the few bright spots on a Schalke 04 club that ended up relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga for ’21-22. By season’s end, Hoppe had started 15 games, with six goals and an assist. His production was even more notable given his team’s struggles. The club finished not only in last place in the Bundesliga after earning just 16 points in 34 matches, but 15 points behind second-to-last-place Werder Bremen.

So yeah, it’s safe to say he’s in a much better place competitively following this move. Hoppe’s six goals in Bundesliga play represented nearly a quarter of his team’s total output (they scored all of 25 goals all year). I’m confident his new teammates at Mallorca will score more than 19 goals over the course of the ’21-22 season.

IS THE PRICE FAIR?

Absolutely.

A sum of €3M is so small, even in this climate, that there’s little risk involved here for Mallorca. If he scores a handful of goals, Mallorca brass probably consider this a big win. If he gets anywhere near double-digit goals, which seems like the best-case scenario, Mallorca will consider this a home run given the price. And if for some reason he’s unable to break into the lineup, he’s still A) cheap and B) only 20!

WHAT IMPACT SHOULD WE EXPECT?

I’m bullish on Hoppe playing big minutes for Mallorca, and even getting to double-digit goals, for a couple reasons.

First of all, it’s hard not to be excited about a guy who played as well as he did last year in the Bundesliga despite his previous lack of experience at that level. Now that he’s gotten a number of starts against good competition under his belt, and will have a much better supporting cast, I expect him to take a big step at Mallorca.

It’s also worth noting that as good as he was for Schalke 04, his performance for the USMNT this summer might have been even more encouraging. In five appearances (including four starts) during the Gold Cup, Hoppe scored once and added one assist.

While that might not sound like much, Hoppe was confident and refused to back down from anyone – especially against Mexico – impressive stuff from a young player on a big stage. To get even more scientific, he just looked the part. For anyone interested in actual data, Hoppe attempted 13 shots (5 on target) throughout the Gold Cup, including 6 shots (0 on target) in 119 minutes against Mexico. His swagger, talent and yes, his age, make him a hard guy not to be excited about.

It’s also worth mentioning that Hoppe appears unlikely to suffer from a lack of opportunities. Mallorca Manager Luis Garcia Plaza has shown a willingness early this season to give several players minutes up top, including young talent like Fer Nino and Takefusa Kubo, who are both also 20. Hoppe will have to earn every start, but there’s a clear opportunity here.

THE GRADES

Mallorca: B

Any time there’s even a decent chance a player you spent €3M on will make meaningful contributions, that’s a solid pick-up. And in Hoppe’s case, there’s good reason to believe he’ll be the next USMNTer making a splash in Europe.

Schalke 04: B-

It’s hard to blame either Hoppe or Schalke for his tenure there ending after such a brutal ’20-21.

Tyler Everett Avatar
Written by
Tyler Everett

View all posts by Tyler Everett
Privacy Policy