Last summer’s transfer window saw some of the most high profile moves involve players swapping the Bundesliga for life in the Premier League.
However, it’s fair to say that the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, and Thiago haven’t quite made the impact fans Chelsea and Liverpool fans would have been hoping for at the beginning of the season.
In fact, quite a few high-profile players have struggled to adapt to life in the English top-flight with the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sokratis, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all failing to live up to the hype.
That being said we shouldn’t forget that some of English football’s finest imports have come from German football. In the last 10 years, names such as Edin Dzeko, Marko Arnautovic, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Joel Matip, and Christian Pulisic have all made the short flight north-west with varying degrees of success.
With this in mind we’ve decided to profile five of the best Bundesliga to Premier League transfers:
Since Ilkay Gundogan’s arrival at Manchester City in June 2016, he’s been quietly going about his business. However, it’s only this season that the German international has really stood out, bagging himself nine goals in 17 Premier League appearances and helping City on their way to a five-point cushion at the top-flights summit with some noteworthy displays.
After becoming Pep Guardiola’s first signing at the Etihad – a £20 million arrival from Borussia Dortmund – Gundogan has amassed 186 appearances in all competitions, scoring 33 goals in the process.
The classy midfielder came to Manchester having already tasted Bundesliga success, playing a key part in Jurgen Klopp’s title-winning side of 2011/12, and he has since added an FA Cup, three EFL Cups and two Premier League winners medals to his collection. He looks likely to be adding a third come May.
After Robert Lewandowski confirmed he would not be renewing his Borussia Dortmund contract back in February 2013, die Schwarzgelben were on the lookout for a new star striker, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned out to be that man.
After firing 141 goals in 213 appearances, leading Dortmund to two successive German Super Cups, and finishing the 2016/17 season as the Bundesliga’s top scorer, rumours began to circulate that one of the worlds finest was on his way to the Premier League.
Following a month-long will-he-won’t-he saga, Arsenal managed to secure the signature of the much-coveted Gabonese international on January 31 2018, for a club-record fee reported to be as much as £56 million. Arriving to much fanfare, Auba hit the ground running, scoring five times in his first six games for the Gunners, becoming the first player in club history to do so.
Arsenal’s main-man has been one of the few highlights in an otherwise drab period for the North London club. He’s gone on to become club captain, inspiring his side to last season’s FA Cup and helping himself to 78 goals in 130 appearances – 22 of which came during the prolific 2018/19 season, when he won the Premier League Golden Boot award.
When Roberto Firmino’s transfer from Hoffenheim to Liverpool was finalised for £29 million on July 4 2015, he had no idea of the amount of success that would be coming his way. Joining a team that was managed by Brendan Rodgers and containing superstars such as Alberto Moreno, Christian Benteke, and Joe Allen, the Brazilian must have been wondering what his agent had done to him when he secured him the move to Merseyside.
But, when German enigma Jurgen Klopp replaced the axed Rodgers in October 2015, something special was just around the corner, and Bobby would be central to it.
After being converted from an attacking midfielder to a false nine by Klopp, and being supported by the additions of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Firmino would become one-third of the Premier Leagues most feared threesome.
Narrowly defeated by Real Madrid in the 2017/18 Champions League Final, the Reds went one better the following year, defeating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid to win European football’s top prize. The year after that, they would win their first Premier League title in 30 years.
Liverpool’s number nine has 84 goals and 57 assists in 276 appearances and has been a revelation since his arrival, leaving memories of the poor side he joined firmly in the rearview mirror.
A few eyebrows were raised when Tottenham Hotspur forked out £27 million for Bayer Leverkusen’s star winger in August 2015, making him the most expensive Asian footballer in history in the process.
Spurs were coming off the back of a decent first season in charge for Mauricio Pochettino and attempting to build on their 5th place finish. Looking to add some much-needed firepower to support the goal scoring exploits of Harry Kane, Sonny fit the bill nicely.
He didn’t set the world alight in his first season in North London, scoring just eight goals in 40 appearances, but that didn’t matter too much, as Spurs secured a 3rd place finish and a return to the Champions League for the first time in five years.
The following season, Son started to prove his worth. He scored 21 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions and helped the White Hart Lane club to a second-place finish in the Premier League, finishing seven points behind eventual winners Chelsea.
Since then, Son has come on leaps and bounds and is one of the finest footballers in world football today. He’s bagged himself 102 goals in 261 appearances during his time in England, including two crucial goals in the 2018/19 Champions League quarter-final away at Manchester City.
Spurs would go on to beat City over two legs, before a stunning Lucas Moura hat trick saw them overturn a three-goal aggregate deficit, beating Ajax on away goals in the semi-final in Amsterdam. The final proved a step too far, however, slipping to a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat against Liverpool.
This season, the South Korean superstar has been in scintillating form, scoring 13 goals in 22 Premier League appearances. He’s formed a lethal partnership with Harry Kane in the process, with the pair assisting each other at will and although Spurs have gone off the boil recently, you wouldn’t bet against the deadly duo turning things around.
Kevin De Bruyne
If we thought eyebrows were raised when Son joined Spurs, then when Kevin De Bruyne joined Manchester City from Wolfsburg in August 2015 for an earth-shattering club-record fee of £54 million, those same eyebrows were raised so high you couldn’t see where eyebrows stopped and hairline started.
In fact, you just need to take a look at Jeff Stelling and the boys’ scathing comments on Soccer Saturday at the time of the transfer. Phil Thompson said: “The world is going mad. The money they are paying for this boy is absolutely bonkers.” Paul Merson backed that up with: “I just don’t see £50 million for this player. I really do not see it at all.”
With those words ringing in his ears, the Belgian midfielder set about proving them wrong, and by scoring 60 goals and providing 104 assists in 245 appearances, boy has he done that.
He’s won City’s Player of the Season award on three separate occasions and twice featured in the Premier League Team of the Season, culminating with winning the PFA and Premier League Player of the year awards in 2019/20.
He put in some scintillating display as Belgium secured third-place finish at the 2018 Fifa World Cup, and has won an array of silverware with the Cityzens, including two Premier League titles, and looks set to add a third at the end of the current campaign.
Last season, De Bruyne finished runner up to Robert Lewandowski at the UEFA Player of the Year awards and is now rightly recognised as one of the world’s finest footballers. Not bad for a Chelsea flop eh Merse?