With the ever-increasing television deals acting like a credit card without a max limit, clubs outside the Premier League’s elite have also taken several proven stars from Germany’s top flight. And they’ve done so on the cheap.
Christian Fuchs, Pascal Grosß, Håvard Nordtveit, Pierre-Emil Højbjerg, Konstantinos Stafylidis, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and seemingly half of David Wagner’s Huddersfield squad have been prised away from the Bundesliga in recent seasons with varying degrees of success.
Signing proven European talent for under the £10million mark, and in some cases for nothing, is a no-brainer for English sides. And with many players in Germany’s top flight having low buyout clauses or expiring deals, there will be a number of Premier League and Championship sides looking to continue the bargain hunt.
With that in mind, we’ve picked out the Bundesliga players clubs in England should target this summer, starting with a Finnish goalkeeper.
While we could have also selected Marwin Hitz, the Augsburg goalkeeper is more likely to remain in the Bundesliga – his agents have strong ties to the North Rhine-Westphalia region, which isn’t shy of top flight sides.
So experienced Finland international Lukáš Hrádecký it is. He represented clubs in his home country and Denmark before he joined Eintracht Frankfurt in the summer of 2015. He has since established himself as one of the Bundesliga’s most consistent goalkeepers and this term has conceded just 27 goals in 24 games.
Ranked as the third best keeper in the Bundesliga by Kicker, Hrádecký is an athletic and excellent shot stopper who, despite his frame, can get down low to deny shots headed for the corners.
He’s also comfortable kicking with both feet, is quick off his line and, due to Frankfurt’s system, has a lot of experience in starting attacks with long balls and long throws.
Eintracht’s No.1 may make a couple of high-profile mistakes a season but no goalkeeper is flawless and there is little doubt Hrádecký is one of German football’s most consistent stoppers.
And despite last year’s DFB Cup heroics and a couple of excellent campaigns, the 28-year-old has been unable to agree a new contract with Eintracht and is expected to leave this summer.
Bayer Leverkusen are interested but Premier League clubs would be able to beat off competition with little fuss. He would be an excellent addition for many sides.
Next up is Daniel Opare. The Ghana international is a man who has bounced around European football for several years. He joined Real Madrid Castilla in 2008 and spent two years with the club before moving to Belgian side Standard Liege.
From there came spells in Portugal, Turkey and France. But it is with FC Augsburg that the talented 27-year-old has settled. Opare’s skill set is ideal for Manuel Baum’s counter attacking attacking system, and the club’s manager has praised the right-back’s driving runs forward.
Baum also, however, raised concerns about Opare’s failure to track back after going forward.
But the athletically gifted defender was one of the unsung heroes of Augsburg’s Hinrunde (opening half of the season) and they could look to cash in on his fine form this summer. He is out of contract in the summer and has attracted interest in the past.
There were advanced negotiations with Leicester City and Schalke in January – he supposedly met Domenico Tedesco in an airpot and then spent deadline day in England in the hope of securing a move to the Foxes – but a deal couldn’t be struck with either club.
Augsburg have since accused Opare of “repeatedly lying” and he will not play for the club again. He is on ‘special leave’ until the end of the campaign and will be free to leave.
Six months without football may dampen some interest but having strong representation in Chris Nathaniel, a music promoter turned sports agent who’s the agent for Wilfried Bony and many others, should mean Opare isn’t short of options.
While the two players mentioned above are lesser known, there are several established stars whose contracts will be coming to an end in the summer.
Several high-profile 30-somethings will also be searching for new clubs. Bayern Munich are yet to extend the deals of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry while Zlatko Junuzović and Aaron Hunt have been linked with switches to Turkey.
But Dennis Diekmeier and Gōtoku Sakai could be smart additions for newly promoted clubs, as could Köln’s Dominic Maroh.
There is certainly value to be found in the Bundesliga. Brighton have proved that, Huddersfield Town too. It’s why Premier League clubs will continue to do their summer shopping in the Bundesliga.