When studying the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign so far, it’s difficult to believe that two of the top performers have a combined age of 36.
Englishmen Reiss Nelson and Jadon Sancho have taken Germany's top division by storm, and at 18-years-old, there’s little reason to debate why they wouldn’t go on to achieve greatness.
Sancho makes brave move
Having joined league leaders Borussia Dortmund in August 2017, Sancho has had some time to grow into his role following his move from Manchester City.
At the time of the move, it was difficult to understand why City so willingly allowed the young talent to depart, but the price was set at £7.5m and the youngster hasn’t looked back.
Under the watchful eye of Lucien Favre, Sancho has been given the freedom to utilise his budding talent, and with two goals and six Bundesliga assists in his opening eight league games, it’s clear to see just why he was so favourable back in the summer of 2017.
Following his emergence in European football last year, a number of English youngsters have been turning their heads to the opportunities available in the top tier of German football.
Nelson follows close friend's footsteps
18-year-old Nelson made a surprise loan move to TSG Hoffenheim this summer, and like Sancho, has been snatching the headlines over in Germany.
Nelson has been on the brink of first team football for a short while at Arsenal, his talent has always been noticed, but following the change in managers in North London, it seemed the right time for him to blossom elsewhere whilst his parent club reformed under Unai Emery.
Unlike Sancho, Nelson’s move to Hoffenheim was confirmed as a loan deal, with Arsenal not willing to sell under any circumstance, something that the boss of Die Kraichgauer, Julian Nagelsmann is reported to want to change.
Nelson has had a prolific start to life in South-West Germany, scoring four goals in his opening four appearances for Hoffenheim had made the youngster a fan favourite already.
Nelson’s success isn’t just a cause for celebration for Hoffenheim or the man himself, but for Arsenal most of all. It’s been a while since the Gunners had a talent as hot and breaking through as early as Nelson, they have a potential world-beater in their possession, it would just be hoped that they handle him with care.
It’s still difficult to consider why Manchester City were able to be stripped of Sancho so easily, and the whole story of Sancho’s success is one that can be noted by both Arsenal and Nelson.
Bundesliga a breeding ground for young talent
Moving to the Bundesliga has proven so far to be hugely beneficial to both players. To be given a chance that they were deprived of in England and to prove their worth on the big stage is something that so many youngsters kicking around the first team of a number of Premier League clubs would dream of.
Germany has opened its arms to English youngsters, so much so that it’s ignited the anxiety amongst English clubs to wonder whether they’re the right destination for high profile young players to develop their game.
The difference between the two leagues is not just the obvious issue of money, but simply the real desire to promote and give chances to young players.
There seems to be no patience surrounding the Premier League, which of course links to its competitive nature and the need to be the best as quickly as possible.
In the Bundesliga it’s drastically different, employing young talent is a strategy used by many of the clubs in the league, and in more situations than not it works out just fine.
Players such as Sancho and Nelson wouldn’t be where they are in their careers already if it wasn’t for the help of German clubs. It’s become a rarity in the Premier League for the top six clubs to even use their academy talents, something that ultimately effects player and club if development is halted.
Investing trust and promise into these young players has only benefitted the players, Sancho being amongst some of Europe’s best youngsters, as well as his value rocketing to ten times the amount it was at before his arrival in Dortmund.
Nelson can only grow on his time at Hoffenheim, and having only played four games and experienced so much success in that little time, the progression of Sancho can act as a benchmark for where the winger could be in a years' time.