If reports are to be believed, this summer could see an influx of talent from the German Bundesliga making their way to the Premier League. The arrival of Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool inevitably brought with it links to Borussia Dortmund and an array of Bundesliga players, but other Premier League clubs are also casting their eye over the plethora of talent plying their trade in Germany.
The Liverpool links are understandably the most prevalent, covering all areas of the pitch. FC Köln’s young goalkeeper Timo Horn is one of those; his €9m escape clause is all the more enticing when you consider his immense talent and promise. Around £6.5m for a fantastic shot stopper who has a physical presence and will potentially succeed Manuel Neuer is an incredible bargain.
The Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah is another linked to Anfield in recent weeks. Despite the confirmation that Schalke’s Joel Matip has signed a pre-contract agreement with Liverpool and will join the club this summer, it’s clear the Reds need more than Matip to improve upon the substandard Martin Skrtel and the departing Kolo Toure; Leverkusen’s Tah would certainly fit that bill. He is only 20 years old, but has just broken into the full Germany international squad and is rapidly living up to the huge potential he showed when coming through the ranks at Hamburger SV. Tall, strong, quick and technically proficient, Tah is a rising star who Leverkusen will be reluctant to lose just a year after signing him, though don’t be surprised if Bayern Munich step in to try and prevent him leaving Germany.
Speaking of Bayern Munich, attacking midfielder Mario Götze is another name linked recently with Anfield. The history with Jürgen Klopp makes it an obvious link, but the fact that Götze’s career at Bayern has never really taken off, despite him once being the golden child of German football, and his contract having just one year left to run makes the chances of him moving that bit more likely. After coming through the ranks at Dortmund and being introduced to the first team and nurtured there by Klopp, Götze’s move to Bayern was an extremely controversial one. It can be argued that his best form was there, and his exceptional technical ability, speed and calmness in front of goal mean he will be hot property if made available.
Another player becoming a hot property is Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Granit Xhaka. The Swiss international has grown in stature over the past couple of seasons to become the general of Gladbach’s midfield. The physical nature of the Premier League will suit him down to the ground and his technique will elevate him there. Liverpool and Manchester City have both been rumoured to be interested, but Arsenal are the strongest links to date, though it will likely take considerably more than his €25m release clause that becomes active in 2017 to capture his signature this summer.
Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gündogan could be another on the move this summer. The midfielder’s exquisite technique, vision and passing range will have Europe’s top clubs chasing him if he decides it’s time to move on. His history with Jürgen Klopp with inevitably have Liverpool’s name mentioned, but Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola taking the reins at Etihad, could be another serious contender for the man who easily could be a star of the German team at this summer’s European Championships.
Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez has a €35m release clause that becomes active this summer; the left-back has been catching attention over the past few years for his ability to be equally effective defending and attacking. His set pieces are a particular threat and his defensive awareness could make him a target for Bayern Munich as they continue to integrate David Alaba into midfield, but with Manchester City needing an upgrade in that department and Guardiola well aware of what Rodriguez offers, don’t be surprised to see that move materialise. One move looking increasingly likely is Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Havard Nordtveit opting for West Ham when his contract expires in June and he’s made it clear he sees the Premier League as his next destination. The midfielder has progressed and developed well since his early days at Arsenal and should be a good signing if the Hammers conclude the deal, especially on a Bosman.
If only half the names mentioned actually make the move, it will help improve the overall quality of the Premier League. However, despite the loss, the Bundesliga will replace the departed talent with more emerging players, something the Premier League needs to do work on in order to thrive.