Many players have made the switch from the Bundesliga to the English Premier League over the years, and some turned out to be resounding success stories while others failed to make the grade.
The transfers of Michael Ballack (FC Bayern München to Chelsea), Dimitar Berbatov (Bayer 04 Leverkusen to Tottenham), Jens Lehmann (Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal) and Vincent Kompany (Hamburger SV to Manchester City) are generally seen as resounding success.
Several flops come to mind as well, though.
Khalid Boulahrouz (Hamburger SV to Chelsea), Claudio Pizarro (FC Bayern München to Chelsea), Marko Marin (SV Werder Bremen to Chelsea) and Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United), are generally regarded as massive failures on English shores, although in Kagawa’s defense one can certainly argue that he was misused by the three United managers under whom he played at Old Trafford.
In recent years, high-profile names like Kevin de Bruyne (VfL Wolfsburg to Manchester City) and Roberto Firmino (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim to Liverpool) have also made the move across, but the jury is very much still out on them.
But what about the current transfer window, in which six players have made the move from Germany to England? We take a closer look:
Granit Xhaka, VfL Borussia Monchengladbach to Arsenal
What type of player is he? The Swiss international is the complete, modern midfielder and has a wide range of passing and tough tackling in his skill set. He was second only to Xabi Alonso for completed passes in last season’s Bundesliga, but has been criticised for losing his cool at times, as his three red cards last term attest to.
Will he make it in the Premier League? Xhaka is relatively experienced for his age, and is certainly young enough to add more strings to his proverbial bow. If he cuts out his knack of getting booked, he might become one of the best midfielders in England. Arsene Wenger certainly thinks so…
What has been said about him? A “young Bastian Schweinsteiger” according to former Bayern and Swiss international boss Ottmar Hitzfeld.
Loris Karius, Mainz to Liverpool
What type of player is he? Karius described himself as a “a modern, offensive goalkeeper” who is “willing to take risks”, which is as fair a description as they come. Quick off his line and comfortable with the ball at his feet, he played every Bundesliga game for Mainz last season, keeping nine clean sheets and saving penalties in the process.
Will he cut it in the Premier League? While he isn’t as experienced as the incumbent Anfield stopper Simon Mignolet, Karius’ goalkeeping style is more suited to a fast-paced Jurgen Klopp side.
What has been said about him? “He has developed into a very good goalkeeper since. I know he will add to the quality we have in this position,” Klopp said of the new number one in the Reds squad.
Havard Nordtveit, VfL Borussia Monchengladbach to West Ham
Position: Defensive midfielder
What type of player is he? After beginning his career as predominantly a central defender, the Norwegian has made a name for himself in the Gladbach midfield, where he partnered Xhaka with aplomb. Nevertheless, he remains a useful utility player who can play in the centre of defense or right-back if required.
Will he cut it in the Premier League? After being shipped out to Germany after four seasons on the books of Arsenal as a youth, Nordtveit may well feel he has some unfinished business in England. There are no guarantees that he will succeed based purely on his performances in the Bundesliga, but he certainly has the physical and technical attributes to do so.
What has been said about him? “He has a great strength of will and there’s a lot of power and energy in his game. He has a brilliant mentality and takes on every challenge, regardless of which position he’s in and where he’s needed,” Monchengladbach boss Andre Schubert.
Ilkay Gundogan, Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City
Cost: Reported as £20m
What type of player is he? A deep-lying playmaker known for his ability to read and set the tone of the game with his close control and passing range.
Will he cut it in the Premier League? As close as you are likely to find to a sure thing, Gundogan has already impressed for Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League as well as on international duty for a strong German national team.
What has been said about him? “He is an intelligent and versatile midfielder who can operate in a number of different roles. He will be a very important player for us in the coming years,” City director of football Txiki Begiristain.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United
Cost: £26m (reported)
What type of player is he? Known for his blistering pace, expert passing ability and for being clinical in front of goal, Mkhitaryan has played as an attacking or a deep-lying midfielder for the most part. In recent times, the Armenian captain has played on the right wing too, and tends to do the most damage to the opposition defense when he was space to play into.
Will he cut it in the Premier League? He has all the characteristics to become one of the very best players in England if he isn’t too hamstrung with defensive duties. If he settles quickly, United could have a real gem on their books.
What has been said about him? “He is one of the most talented players in the world. He possesses an incredible combination of speed and technique. There’s very, very few you can say that about. There’s a reason why the world’s best chess players come from Armenia like Mkhitaryan. They’re thinkers, they’re hard workers, they graft,” Klopp after signing him for Dortmund two years ago.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, FC Bayern München to Southampton
Cost: A reported £12.8 million
What type of player is he? Calm on the ball and with a tremendous work-rate, Hojbjerg is mainly a defensive-minded midfielder who has played in a box-to-box role or as a wing-back on occasion.
Will he cut it in the Premier League? Hard to tell at this stage since he clearly has a lot to learn. However, he has the physique to cope with the challenges of the Premier League and is confident enough in his abilities to establish himself.
What has been said about him? “Pierre is an exciting young talent, who we are delighted to welcome to Southampton Football Club. Pierre boasts an impressive pedigree, as well as a great deal of potential, and it is testament to our reputation that he has chosen Southampton ahead of other suitors as the next step in his career,” Southampton director Les Reed said.