This article is brought to you by InStat Football, the official data provider of the Bundesliga Fanatic.
Even in the German footballing market, where Bayern Munchen and Borussia Dortmund rarely purchase players with the fee less than 15 million €, their league-mates often try to fish out more affordable youngsters in stubborn attempts to compete with the the big boys.
Such a transfer policy is quite popular and common among moderately-financed clubs, who are searching for squad strengthening steals, although a common critique of this argument is that it’s doubtful such footballers have the ability to make a big impression on the Bundesliga, given their backgrounds in less competitive leagues like the Eredivisie, Swiss Super League or Danish Superliga. The critique concludes that once you get a sample size of more than 10 matches or so into the Bundesliga season, the lack of quality in these players shows.
In this article, we try to identify five “economical” transfers of young players in Germany, players with a chance to succeed. We’ll discuss their strong and weak spots, and comment on how they could fit into their new clubs’ line-ups.
- 23 years, goalkeeper, Switzerland
- from: BSC Young Boys
- to: RB Leipzig
- reported fee: 5 000 000 €
- final InStat Index score this season: 245
This keeper, from Cameroon, was already bought back in April by East-German upstart RB Leipzig, who’ve become an irritant for the fans of other Bundesliga clubs. Right now, Mvogo’s main task is to create intense competition for current #1 keeper, Peter Gulacsi.
Mvogo is an extremely athletic keeper, whose advantages are primarily linked with his performance outside the six-yard area, rather than pure shot-stopping on the goal line, though he is pretty good in this area as well. Additionally, Mvogo demonstrates wise interceptions and plays accurate long balls when launching attacks; he also stands out for his leadership and organization on defence.
Gulacsi, despite his best efforts to bring RB to second place in the Bundesliga, is fairly slower and a less aggressive goalkeeper than Mvogo. You could describe Gulacsi as “old-fashioned” in some ways, as he predominantly acts between the posts rather than inside the whole box. So Mvogo looks like intriguing signing for prudent price.
- 19 years, centre-back, Netherlands
- from: Heracles Almelo
- to: TSG Hoffenheim
- reported fee: 2 000 000 €
- final InStat Index score this season: 249
Justin is a son of Nico-Jan Hoogma, the famous Hamburger centre-back, who played at the turn of the century. Hoogma Jr inherited his father’s position on the pitch, and now possibly will be given a chance to fill in for the now-gone Niklas Süle with his 20-Million to Bayern. Hoogma isn’t as strong physically as Süle, but he is very intelligent player who reads the game well and anticipates rival’s movements, encountering them in the middle. Furthermore, he is cold-blooded when under pressure from the opposing forward, and he often manages to pass accurately to teammates or even dribble past his opponents when under pressure.
Hoogma is highly-disciplined and brave player, who always follows plays out to the end. Perhaps the only disadvantage of Hoogma as a defender is his performance in challenges: he wins just 56% of those in total and 49% in the air. So he needs a tall and muscled partner to pair with him when facing targetman-strikers. A teammate like Kevin Vogt or Benjamin Hübner, both with the height over 190 cm, can play such a role.
- 20 years, left-back, Germany
- from: VfL Wolfsburg
- to: FC Köln
- reported fee: 7 000 000 €
- final InStat Index score this season: 264
No, he isn’t the younger brother of Timo Horn, the goalkeeper who already plays in FC Köln. But Jannes was practically the only bright spot in nearly-relegated VfL Wolfsburg this last season. The departure of Jonas Hector from Köln seems very possible, which is why Horn joined the club of his namesake. The German makes 3 crosses per match on average (this average was achieved by, for example, David Alaba) and succeeds in 60% of challenges. Horn shows remarkable pace and volume amount of movements, offering himself both in attack and defense.
To be honest, he still has a lot of work to do, because this year was the first for him on senior level, and right now this left-back doesn’t have any obvious outstanding features and, no doubt, is less skilled footballer than, for instance, Hector. But if his previous season is just a beginning, Horn’s transfer will pay off soon.
- 23 years, left-back, Sweden
- from: FC Copenhagen
- to: Werder Bremen
- reported fee: 4 500 000 €
- final InStat Index score this season: 292
According to the InStat Index, Augustinsson was the best player in Danish Superliga this year. Indeed, he almost doesn’t have any weaknesses; moreover, he can be described as versatile, attack-minded modern full-back. Augustinsson made 18 (!) assists in all competitions, including the Champions League, last season. The Dane is also the leader of his league in the average number of passes per match (75) and crosses (6). Werder’s two Garcias — Santiago and Ulisses — weren’t convincing enough on the left flank in 2016/17 Bundesliga, so with the high probability Augustinsson will take the place in the line-up.
However, he is fairly one-footed player with no explosive acceleration (on the other hand, Ludwig demonstrates decent pace on long distance) and he rarely uses one-on-one dribbling. Nevertheless, his rich experience in both European Cups can help him to continue his impressive performance in Bundesliga.
- 23 years, centre-forward, France
- from: FC Utrecht
- to: Eintracht Frankfurt
- reported fee: 7 000 000 €
- final InStat Index score this season: 265
Like Augustinsson, Haller was a key player for his previous club for quite long period of time. This target-man (his height is 190 cm) is very useful in challenges (30 per match, 50% successful – the best result in Eredivisie) and quite effective in key passes too (3 per match). So, in combination with his nice technical skills (3.7 dribbles on average per game), Sebastien has a great chance to grab a place on Eintracht’s first team squad, taking into consideration that Haris Seferovic has already left the club, Branimir Hrgota is rather inconsistent striker, and Alexander Maier is close to the end of his career. Thus, Haller looks like quite an attractive option.
Even though there are some doubts whether the Frenchman is ready to face the speed of German football and the lack of space and time on the ball during the matches, Eredivisie defenders are usually relatively friendly, so frequently goalscorers from this league fail to punch goals in more strong leagues as they did in Netherlands. Haller will have to reverse this trend.
To conclude, all of these five transfers look pretty fascinating and interesting if these “cheap” guys would manage to “speak out” in a league where personalities like Robert Lewandowski, Hakan Calhanoglu and Nabi Keita rule the roost. Anyway, all five in this article don’t have the pressure of enormous price tags, so they can transform their current “dark horse” status into becoming accomplished future Bundesliga stars.
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