Why do Bundesliga clubs keep attracting some of the best young English footballers?
Photo by Lukas Schulze via Getty Images

Over the past few years, a new trend has appeared in the Bundesliga. The trend is talented English players from elite academies in the Premier League such as Chelsea or Manchester City leaving to play in Germany because of a lack of first-team opportunities. We know this is happening, but why ?

Premier League clubs have a lot of money meaning less chance for young English players

One of the principal factors in this trend is money. Nowadays in football money is everything, whichever team has the most money can buy the best players/coaches and as a result win the most trophies. This is particularly true in the Premier League.

All the top elite clubs such as Manchester City, Chelsea FC, Manchester United, and more recently Newcastle United have multi-billionaire owners who invest and compete to get the best players for their teams. It is not only the big clubs that have money, though. Smaller club such as West Ham United and Leicester City also have a decent amount, albeit not as much as the elite.  

As a result of all the money, many young English academy players have a difficult path to get into the first team of their respective clubs, which normally as a result means that they are sent out on loan. The best example of this is Chelsea, who have one of the best youth academies in the world based at Cobham.

However, many of the talented young English players they produce are either released or sent out on loan and never get a chance with the first team even though, they are potentially very talented such as Jamal Musiala, who left the  Chelsea youth setup to join Bayern Munich and at the age of 19 has already made his senior debut for Germany after switching nationalities from English to German and is a vital first-team player for Bayern as well as one of the hottest young prospects in Europe.

The influx of foreign players playing in the Premier League

Another major factor for young English players to move abroad is the influx of foreign players that now play in the Premier League. For the past few years, more and more foreign players have joined Premier League clubs, not just for the prestige but also the money having a knock-on effect on English academy players. 

Kevin De Bruyne, Mohammed Salah, Alisson Becker, Virgil Van Dijk. These are just a few of the world-class foreign footballers who currently play in the Premier League As a result, there are fewer opportunities for young English players at top clubs. The best example of this was Jadon Sancho.

Sancho was in City's academy from the age of seven and progressed through the age groups showing massive potential. However, City could not guarantee him game time so he signed a senior contract with Borussia Dortmund instead in 2017. 

Over the next few seasons, he excelled in the Bundesliga, made his debut for England at just age 18, and became one of the hottest young prospects in Europe.

Another player who is looking likely to follow a similar path to Sancho is talented 17-year-old Jamie Bynoe-Gittens. Like Sancho, Bynoe-Gittens was part of City's academy, however, he also decided to move to Dortmund and although his Bundesliga career so far has been affected by Covid-19 and injury he has already made his first-team debut coming on as a sub on the 22nd of April showing the immense talent he possesses.

Bundesliga clubs have more of an emphasis on youth development as oppose to big-money transfers

In the past, most of the top European domestic leagues had roughly the same amount of money in comparison to each other.  However, over the past years, more and more foreign billionaires have invested in clubs in the premier league as a pose to other elite European leagues such as the Bundesliga.

As a result, other leagues have had to adapt in order to stay competitive. The Bundesliga has done this by clubs shifting focus from spending big money on players and instead investing in the youth set up in order to produce youngsters of the highest quality and it has succeeded. 

Clubs like Bayer Leverkusen and in particular Borussia Dortmund are quickly becoming the go-to destinations in Europe for young talented footballers, especially from English teams.

At the moment Dortmund have probably got one of the best pathways in Germany for young players to get into the first team as illustrated by Jude Bellingham who is one of the best young central midfield players in the world and has already made his senior England debut. 

This trend also does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon as another talented young English player has recently signed for £10 million pounds for Bayer Leverkusen and that is City winger Samuel Edozie who will hope to light up the Bundesliga and show City they were wrong to let him go.