Schembri joins SK Karnten on two-year deal

Schembri joins SK Karnten on two-year deal

Andrè Schembri during training for the national team. Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar

Andrè Schembri during training for the national team. Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar

Andrè Schembri yesterday completed his move to Austrian top-division club SK Austria Karnten after signing a two-year deal.

"I'm very excited about this transfer," Schembri said.

"I am looking forward to proving myself in Austria's top league. I believe this switch represents a step forward in my career and will also bolster my chances of earning a move to English football in the near future."

Schembri was available on a free transfer outside Malta as his contract with local club Marsaxlokk expired at the end of last season.

The Malta stalwart has spent the last two seasons in Germany where he had successive one-year loan spells with Eintracht Braunschweig and Carl Zeiss Jena.

It is believed that Carl Zeiss Jena were eager to award Schembri a permanent deal but the latter was adamant on playing in a better league next season.

His ultimate goal is to join an English club but SK Karnten's interest, coupled with the challenge of playing in Austria's top league, made up his mind to accept their offer.

Frenkie Schinkels, the manager of SK Austria Karnten, made a strong pitch to get Schembri to sign for his team.

"I see Andrè as having big potential," Schinkels said earlier this week.

Malta coach Dusan Fitzel also had positive words for Schembri.

"André is a young, promising player," Fitzel was quoted as saying.

"He is a good forward but in my opinion, his best position is just behind the striker. He can create and score goals.

"With the right training Andrè can still improve in all levels of his football ability. He has good technique, fighting spirit, he's good in challenges but he needs to get more experience at international level.

"The best thing is he wants to improve and he will do his best to do it. He has good character and the right mentality to reach the highest level possible."

Other clubs had expressed an interest in signing Schembri.

"I had other offers on the table from foreign clubs in Denmark, Germany and Greece but I was hoping to go to England," Schembri said.

"The problem I had was that most of the English managers are away at the moment and this opportunity came up and I was advised by my management team to take it ... I am very happy I have.

"The manager of SK Austria Karnten has been fantastic and shown great faith in me. I was prepared to give up all the offers for an English club, but Karnten have given me a great opportunity.

"My management team have done tremendous work in securing this deal and have also made great progress with some clubs in England.

"A few English managers said they would monitor my progress so England is still a possibility in the future but now I am with Karnten I am going to give 100 per cent for the manager, the team and the fans."

Schembri's representative Carly Barnes, who also advises Michael Mifsud, the former Coventry City striker said: "Andrè is a massive talent and Karnten are very lucky to have him. His dream is to play in England one day, and this deal brings that dream closer as we have a specific clause allowing him to head to the UK in the future should he want to do so.

"The foreign scouts have been impressed with him, but they will also have the chance to get to know him better now that he will be playing in Austria. It's a very exciting move for Andrè and should offer a great opportunity to develop his skills at a high level."

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