henrikh mkhitaryan

Ranking six of the most high profile Bundesliga to Premier League transfers

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s disappointing spell in English football has come to an end, with the midfielder joining Roma on a season-long loan spell after indifferent spells at both Manchester United and Arsenal.

The Armenian international arrived in the Premier League from Borussia Dortmund with a burgeoning reputation as one of the Bundesliga’s finest, though he failed to replicate his previous form following his switch to England.

Throughout Premier League history we’ve seen several high profile stars swap Germany for England’s top flight, with varying degrees of success.


We’ve decided to look back at some of the biggest Bundesliga buys, ranking six of the league’s most high profile moves to the Premier League…

Michael Ballack

A free transfer, but certainly one of the most high profile players to have made the switch from German to English football.

Chelsea had just secured back-to-back Premier League titles as the Roman Abramovich era really started to begin, with Jose Mourinho’s side being crowned champions in 2005 and 2006.

Following that second success, Chelsea beat off a host of competition from Europe’s top clubs to land the signing of Germany international Michael Ballack, who was available on a free transfer after opting to leave Bayern Munich.

A prolific scorer from midfield in the Bundesliga, Ballack was regarded as amongst the world’s finest and joined a star-studded midfield alongside Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, and Claude Makelele.

Whilst not quite replicating his previous form Ballack’s time in England was largely a success, winning one Premier League, two FA Cups and a League Cup during his four seasons at the club, whilst also being part of the team that lost the 2008 Champions League final on penalties.

He left Chelsea to return to Germany after winning the double in 2010, having scored 25 goals in 166 appearances for the club.

Ranking: 7/10

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Shinji Kagawa

The chief creator in an exciting Borussia Dortmund side which won successive Bundesliga titles under Jurgen Klopp, the Japanese international joined Manchester United in 2012 with expectations high.

Sir Alex Ferguson had hoped the playmaker would bring creativity and vision to his midfield options, though despite impressing in flashes he failed to replicate the form he had shown in German football.

He would score six goals in 20 Premier League appearances as United won the title in his debut season, though he failed to score in 30 appearances in all competitions the following year and soon found himself out-of-favour.

After just two seasons he would return to Dortmund, his former side signing the midfielder for just £6.5m in 2014.

Ranking: 4/10

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Kevin De Bruyne

Having failed to establish himself during a spell at Chelsea, the Belgian midfielder headed to Germany to rebuild his reputation at Wolfsburg after a previous loan spell at Werder Bremen.

De Bruyne would flourish in the Bundesliga, being crowned as the division’s Player of the Year in 2014/15 and earning a £55m move to Manchester City.

Since moving to the Etihad De Bruyne has developed into one of the Premier League’s finest players, being a key figure in a City squad that has won back-to-back titles under Pep Guardiola in 2018 and 2019.

In four seasons De Bruyne has twice been named as the club’s Player of the Season, whilst winning six major trophies and being part of the side which won English football’s first-ever domestic treble.

He recently registered his 50th Premier League assist, achieving the feat faster than any other player in the division’s history.

Ranking: 10/10

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Roberto Firmino

A fairly unknown quantity upon his arrival at Anfield in 2015, Liverpool signed the Brazilian star from German side Hoffenheim for a fee of £29m four years ago.

Initially arriving as an attacking midfield player, Firmino has since flourished as the focal point of a Liverpool attack which has become one of the most potent in European football.

Combining sublime technique with relentless industry, Firmino’s link-up play and work-rate make him a vital part of Jurgen Klopp’s side’s gegenpressing style.

Firmino allows the players around him to flourish, a multi-functional forward who has played a key figure in the club’s recent successes.

Having helped Liverpool to Champions League and Super Cup glory in 2019, the forward became the first Brazilian to reach 50 Premier League goals after scoring against Burnley at Turf Moor last weekend.

Ranking: 9/10

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Having developed a reputation as both a prolific scorer and creator from midfield at Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund, the Armenian midfielder moved to Manchester United as part of an expensive summer outlay in Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge.

Mkhitaryan had just been crowned as the Bundesliga’s Player’s Player of the Season after scoring 23 goals in all competitions for Dortmund, whilst he also led the league with 15 assists.

Despite his growing reputation, the playmaker’s career never really took off at Old Trafford as he mixed glimpses of talent with indifferent displays.

He managed 11 goals in 41 appearances as United won a League Cup and Europa League double in his first season, but soon found himself out-of-favour the following year after a series of disappointing performances.

Having been deemed surplus to requirements he joined Arsenal in an ill-fated swap deal involving Alexis Sanchez in 2018, but he again struggled for consistency at the Emirates.

Just one-and-a-half seasons after moving to North London he was allowed to leave, joining Roma on a season-long loan deal.

Ranking: 4/10

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Leroy Sane

Having emerged as one of the most promising young wingers in European football, the German international moved to Manchester City for an initial fee of £37m in 2016.

Blessed with electric pace and an ability to glide past players, Sane enjoyed a decent debut season in English football scoring nine goals in 37 appearances in all competitions.

His second season saw him truly shine, being crowned as the PFA Young Player of the Year as City won the Premier League title with a record 100 point haul, whilst he followed that up by registering double figures for goals and assists as City claimed English football’s first-ever domestic treble in 2018/19.

Speculation has linked the 23-year-old with a return to Germany with Bayern Munich in recent months, though any such deal is likely to be on hold as he recovers from a serious ACL injury.

His departure would come as a major blow to Pep Guardiola’s side, Sane having developed into one of Europe’s most exciting wide players.

Ranking: 8/10

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