Bundesliga talents to watch
If you remember last year’s series, the FourAddedOn crew pinpointed a group of talented players from the big leagues in Europe that Arsenal should consider signing. From the Bundesliga picks last year, all the players mentioned went on to have terrific seasons for their respective teams. Hopefully we can witness the same with this batch of players over the course of next season.
Patrick Herrmann – Right Winger – Borussia Mönchengladbach
Gladbach have performed like a top team for a majority of this season, all without a big budget. They have done brilliant by using players already at their disposal. After one big season however, their team has started to get picked apart. With Marco Reus, Roman Neustadter and Dante announcing their departures before the end of the season, it will be difficult for them to repeat their heroics from the 2011/12 season. Winger Patrick Herrmann was a vital part of that squad as well and displayed great maturity for a player who has just made his break through over the last two seasons. He showed that he is a great modern day winger, able to both score and assist while not being restricted to playing out wide. He has a solid inside game, drifting into the right areas of the pitch and really stretching out defences by drawing defenders out of position.
Despite being primarily a winger, I feel he could prove to be a very versatile player and could be successful playing behind the striker as well given his skills.
Bernd Leno – Goalkeeper – Bayer Leverkusen
Germany has been churning out quality goalkeepers in the last decade or so. Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s popularity outside of the country in the last year or so just shows how far this phenomenon has reached. One of these talented, young keepers coming out of the Bundesliga is Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno, who impressed in Leverkusen’s Champions League run. Leno was initially loaned in from Stuttgart as a third goalkeeper. But after the backup for permanently injured René Adler didn’t perform well enough in goal, the then 19 year old was given a chance and didn’t fail to impress. His series of impressive performances led to Leverkusen making the deal permanent in January.
With Lukasz Fabianski stating his intention to leave the club this summer, Leno could be a serious target for Arsenal. Much like Szczesny, he shows a lot of confidence in goal despite being only 20 years old.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – Attacking Midfielder – TSG Hoffenheim
In this very post last year, I mentioned Sigurdsson and his talent as an attacking midfielder. After joining Swansea on loan in January, he wowed Premier League fans, contributing a lot to the Swans’ push to stay clear of relegation. Like Rosicky, Sigurdsson is an attacking midfielder who runs a lot, bridging the gap between midfield and attack. He’s very skilled at getting into goal scoring positions and possesses a venomous long range strike. Sigurdsson’s delivery from set pieces is impeccable as well and could add a whole new dimension to the team if we can get a proper freekick specialist.
As things stand, everything is up in the air. Sigurdsson would like to stay at Swansea and the Welsh club would love to keep him but Hoffenheim have rejected their initial offer, stating a fee of around €10m would be acceptable. Swansea play a good brand of football, much like Arsenal and we have all seen how well he’s done in a fluid system. Arsenal should pounce on the player as he’d be a perfect fit and add a lot to our midfield.
Robert Lewandowski – Striker – Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski has quickly turned from a simple pawn in Jurgen Klopp’s side to the go to player. After joining the German champions a year earlier, he failed to really make an impact and only emphasized the team’s reliance on players like Shinji Kagawa and Lucas Barrios. He was drafted into the squad after Kagawa’s injury halfway through the season and did show glimpses of his talent but nothing that would have readied fans for the 2011/12 he has had.
Once again, an injury was what brought him into the spotlight. This time, BVB’s man up front, Barrios, pulled up with a hamstring injury in the Copa America final and faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Dortmund’s goal output now depended on the Lewandowski. Despite a slow start, the Polish striker really hit form as Barrios was nearing his return. The Paraguayan understandably found it difficult to get back into the lineup with his in form replacement scoring left, right and center.
Barrios was so frozen out that he has now agreed to leave the club and sort out his life in China. Obviously, the fact that Barrios is on his way out will mean they will hold onto their top scorer even tighter.
Lewandowski has shown that he is a great all round striker over the course of the last year. The real dilemma for Arsenal is that we need a striker who can play the same role as Van Persie and while Lewandowski is the perfect candidate, it wouldn’t be easy to convince him to give up being a starter for Dortmund, especially as he’s just finding his feet in the Bundesliga. This is where Podolski is seen as a good backup as he can also play out wide. The problem with Podolski is that he doesn’t have the attributes to play as a pivot up front. He has been playing behind a big, commanding striker his entire club and international career because he isn’t that player himself.
So while Robert Lewandowski would be an unlikely signing in the near future, he is a player to really keep an eye on over the next few years and should be an example for the kind of striker we should be looking to to backup Van Persie.