German players are fast becoming the vogue of world football, with an impressive generation of young players coming through that could set the global game alight. After France, who gave the world Zidane, Henry and most recently Ribery; and Spain, who have conquered all before them with an array of talent never before witnessed in one generation of players - it appears now is the turn of Germany to produce the next crop of the world's elite footballers.
The Premier League has a history of identifying these national trends, and capitalising on the deep pools of talent within a particular country. The French boom saw Arsene Wenger in particular assemble a devastating side consisting of players like Henry, Viera, Pires, Wiltord, Anelka, Lauren and Petit, who formed the spine of title winning teams.
The strength of Spain's domestic league has seen the cream of their talent stay within the Real-Barca duopoly - with a few notable exceptions. David Silva, Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla have all migrated to the Premier League, each lighting up the league with their incredible flair. Meanwhile Swansea are assembling a potential 'Spain B' team down in South Wales, with as many as eight of their squad hailing from La Liga.
It appears that, yet again, one Arsene Wenger is a step ahead in identifying trends, having assembled an impressive collection of German players in North London, culminating in the signing of Germany's prized asset Mesut Ozil. Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski, Serge Gnabry and Gedion Zelalem are the other four Germans that make up the Gunners' first team squad.
There have been several Bundesliga players linked with England's elite clubs over the summer, and many expect that the incredibly exciting generation of young German players will decide to follow Ozil's lead in making the jump to the Premier League. GiveMeSport looks at four in particular who could change the landscape of English football:
Widely regarded as one of the finest players in Germany, and an absolutely crucial part of Borussia Dortmund's recent domestic and European successes, Reus has all the ingredients to become a top Premier League player. An incredibly confident left-sided attacker, Reus is brilliant when facing defenders whom he terrorises with his blistering pace and agility. He is most comfortable when driving at opposition defences, and has an executioner's finish to match. His 7 goals and 7 assists in 13 games so far for Dortmund are unbelievably impressive, and show that he is a valuable asset to any team's front line.
Various reports have linked him with a move to the Premier League over the summer, with Arsenal and Manchester United the front runners. Arsene Wenger has expressed his admiration of Reus in the past, and the young German would walk into Arsenal's starting XI, presumably in place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Valuation: £30 million.
The 20-year-old Schalke 04 player caught the eye last season when he notched up 14 goals and 7 assists for the Gelsenkirchen side. Since then he appears to have developed further, and with three goals and three assists already this season, he seems set to continue in his rapid trajectory to the top of German football. He has been widely billed as Germany's next megastar, and his talent has caught the eye of several English teams. He is capable of playing on either wing, or 'number 10' and has so far demonstrated a rocket of a shot, as well as searing pace.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have all been linked with the young attacking midfielder over the past months, and a January bid for his services from either of the three giants wouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Schalke will certainly struggle to keep hold of their gem, but will look to squeeze every penny out of the bidding war which may ensue.
Valuation: £26.5 million.
This player was reportedly the subject of a rejected £18 million bid from Arsenal late in the summer window, and it is easy to see why any of England's top teams may want to come back for the defensive midfielder in January. Bender is an excellent reader of the game, and has a technically excellent tackle with which he breaks up opposition attacks. He can also put in a shift at right full-back, with his versatility a key asset to his club, Bayer Leverkusen. Impressively, Bender has managed three goals and an assist from a deep midfield position, showing that he has an attacking dimension to his game too.
Manchester United were heavily linked to the player in the summer, but the signing of Marouane Fellaini, who occupies the same role as Bender, has presumably put paid to rumours of a January bid. Arsenal remain the clear front runners for the 24 year-old's signature by virtue of their existing German contingent and paucity of defensive midfield options.
Valuation: £17.5 million.
An indispensable component of Borussia Dortmund's team last season, playing 50 games for the club, the young central midfielder impressed critics with accomplished performances which belied his age. At only 22, Gundogan finds himself at the heart of a juggernaut of a Dortmund team, and has proven that he has the quality to cut it at any team in the world. His chance in the first XI came when Nuri Sahin left for Real Madrid, and his displays last season led Dortmund fans to ask the question: "Nuri who?"
Manchester United and Arsenal are, again, the usual suspects 'in for' the Turkish-born midfielder, and they will be encouraged by the fact that contract talks between the player and his club have apparently stalled. Clearly United are in more need of a central midfielder than Arsenal, who have a certain Aaron Ramsey occupying that position this season, but a move to either shouldn't be ruled out.
Valuation: £24 million.
What do you think? Could these players make the move to the Premier League, what are the chances, and who needs them most?
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