The German Bundesliga may not enjoy a fan-following as wide as the English Premier League, but the league anyway remains an attractive proposition for footballers, especially for bright, young talents looking to make an impact on the big stage.
While the Bundesliga is seen as a breeding ground for up and coming talents by clubs in England and Europe, recent years have seen some of the most talented players make the jump to Germany. The wages might not be as big as some Premier League clubs shell out, but the attraction of playing in front of some of the most passionate fanbases in the world is a selling point on its own.
Even though the transfer business is likely to be affected this summer due to the impact of the coronavirus on finances, there will be a few notable names making their way to the Bundesliga this summer. And here are five such players who could soon be seen strutting their stuff out in the German top-flight;
Leroy Sane (Manchester City)
The biggest name on the list, Leroy Sane has been on the radars of Bayern Munich for over a year now. The reigning Bundesliga champions tried to sign the Manchester City star last summer, but the Premier League title holders dug their heels in and held on to him.
However, that could change this summer as Sane is set to enter the final year of his contract next month and the Cityzens would risk losing him for nothing in a year. Moreover, according to reputed journalist Raphael Honigstein, the 24-year-old winger has his heart set on a transfer to Bavaria this summer.
Sane has played just 13 minutes of first-team football this term, having picked up a cruciate ligament injury at the onset of the season. However, the German international has been one of City’s most impressive players since joining the club in 2016. And with Bayern seeking the long-term heirs for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, the 24-year-old would be the ideal addition at the Allianz Arena.
Jean-Clair Todibo (Barcelona)
Technically, the 20-year-old Frenchman is already in the Bundesliga, having joined FC Schalke 04 on loan from La Liga champions Barcelona in January. And having impressed heavily in the handful of matches he has played in Germany, Jean-Clair Todibo is now a man in demand, with multiple clubs in the Bundesliga keen on signing him permanently.
Schalke have the option of signing the Barcelona man permanently, but with the club hit hard financially due to the coronavirus crisis, they are unlikely to go ahead with the deal. However, RB Leipzig are keen to sign the 20-year-old, as they prepare to lose star defensive duo Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate, both of whom are targets for a number of Premier League clubs.
Todibo has played just five matches for Schalke in Bundesliga this term. In those five games, the club has kept two clean sheets and conceded just five. With Barcelona keen on offloading players to generate funds this summer and Leipzig intent on the youngster, expect a move to happen.
Thomas Meunier (PSG)
One of the most sought-after footballers heading into the transfer window, PSG’s Thomas Meunier is being eyed by a number of clubs across Europe, owing to the fact that he will be a free agent this summer.
Indeed, the 28-year-old's contract with PSG is on the verge of expiry, which has put a number of clubs on high-alert, including Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund. While Meunier is likely to command a better pay packet any of the three Premier League clubs, Dortmund will offer him the status of being the undisputed first-choice right-back.
Lukasz Piszczek has looked a shadow of his past self, while Achraf Hakimi will be returning to Real Madrid, with his loan deal expiring. And signing Meunier would address this issue for BVB. A proven player at the top level, at 28, he is in his prime years and on a free transfer, would represent a smart piece of business for Dortmund.
Loris Karius (Liverpool)
Four years after he left German club FSV Mainz to join Liverpool, Loris Karius could be on his way back to his homeland this summer. The 26-year-old's time at Anfield has been torrid, to say the least, with him being remembered for his blunders against Real Madrid in 2018, that cost Liverpool the UEFA Champions League.
Following that, he was loaned out to Turkish outfit Besiktas in 2018. However, that too came to an end earlier this month after Karius himself terminated the contract after battling the club over wage non-payment issues. Back at Liverpool, the German has no future at the club with Alisson and Adrian at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal.
Hence, a return to Germany looks very much plausible for the 26-year-old. There have been reports of interest in Karius from Hertha Berlin, with some outlets in Turkey even claiming that an agreement is already in place between the player and the club.
Fode Ballo-Toure (AS Monaco)
A product of the PSG academy, the 23-year-old Fode Ballo-Toure left the club in 2017 to join Lille where he spent eighteen months before moving to AS Monaco in January last year. The Frenchman has been a regular at the Principality outfit ever since and is now being chased by a number of bigwigs in Europe, including Chelsea, RB Leipzig and Schalke.
Leipzig signed Angelino on loan from Manchester City in January but will have to pay a big sum to sign him permanently, which has forced them to look at the AS Monaco man. While Chelsea are also in the market for a new left-back, they are leaning more towards Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell and see Ballo-Toure as an alternative.
This coupled with Schalke’s reduced financial prowess could give Leipzig the upper hand in the race for Ballo-Toure. The Frenchman is known for his blistering pace and relentless running, which would make him a great fit in the youthful RB Leipzig side under Julian Nagelsmann.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Glyn Kirk