How Does the Bundesliga Attract Young Footballers?
In the last decade, a number of young footballers, primarily from England and the USA, have joined the youth ranks of Bundesliga clubs. Teams like Borussia Dortmund, and RB Leipzig have led the way in signing promising talents from different leagues on a cheap to sell them for mammoth fees to bigger clubs.
Bundesliga's track record of producing world-class talents certainly raised eyebrows among young players. Most recently, Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic, and Weston McKennie have stood out as examples of players developing relatively faster in the top German league.
As more up-and-coming talents are shifting to Bundesliga, let's revise three key factors that influence young footballers to pick Germany as their destination.
Stringent immigrant laws have prevented transfers in the past, especially in England. Notably, two high-profile players – Yaya Toure, and Ángel Di Maria – missed out on moves to Arsenal when they were young due to denial of a work permit. The duo was eventually granted work permits in their 20s in England, however, much later.
Conversely, Bundesliga remains lax in terms of work permit rules, allowing diversity in their youth setup. This paved the way for many players like Giovanni Reyna, Jude Bellingham, and Jamal Musiala to join German clubs.
Modern footballers face an uphill battle of trying to shrug off media scrutiny. Youngsters, in particular, get overwhelmed at times with the online abuses getting into their heads. Poor performances or off-field incidents would lead to them dominating headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The media pressure is relatively lesser in Bundesliga compared to other top leagues. It allows managers to give more minutes to youngsters while playing them through bad form. This decision soon pays dividends when they mature themselves into top players.
Several clubs incorporate training drills that build a tactical foundation for the youngsters, leading them to be more versatile as a player. Dortmund created their youth system to have their academy players play in multiple formations before joining the senior team.
This trendsetting of youngsters plying their trade in Germany can also be attributed to the sporting directors of Bundesliga clubs. Former RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick laid the groundwork for the club by signing the likes of Emil Forsberg, Timo Werner, and Naby Keita. The club's meteoric rise in European football is a strong indication of his magnificent work.
Additionally, Dortmund's sporting director, Michael Zorc, exemplifies how feeder clubs should operate. He brought in many youngsters at a low transfer fee, hired the right managers to nurture them, and later sold them at their peaks to top clubs.
Despite all the stories of youngsters flourishing in Bundesliga, it still doesn't guarantee success as few players like Reece Oxford and Ademola Lookman failed to develop into sought-after players. Then again, Bundesliga is miles ahead of most leagues in terms of producing global superstars and is probably a youngster's best bet at reaching the top.
Syed Md. Rakeen thinks Bundesliga won't be a one-horse race this season. Share your opinions at fb.com/rafsan.isnayeen