As Liverpool and Arsenal miss out, are Bundesliga stars preferring to stay home?

Both Lars Bender from Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim’s Firminio decided to extend their contracts with their current Bundesliga teams instead of moving to the Premier League.

Not a long time ago football experts agreed that the Premier League was the best and most exciting football league in the world and every Bundesliga player would love to play there one day.

The most recent examples for that were Lewis Holtby, who went from Schalke to Tottenham, and Andre Schürrle, who decided to leave Leverkusen and joined Chelsea instead.

It seems this season though, as if right now players from the Bundesliga are ready to think twice if moving to the Premier League is really the best for their career.

Firstly Leverkusen’s Lars Bender ignored Arsenal’s interest and extended instead the contract with his current club until 2019, and now Hoffenheim’s key midfielder Roberto Firminio took a similar decision by extending his contract until 2017 and therefore snubbing reported interest from Liverpool.

Other players who are in the focus of English clubs like Toni Kroos, Marco Reus, and Julian Draxler are all seeming to hesitate over the option of making summer switches.

What are the reasons for this changing attitude? There seem to be a couple of them. First of all this and last year’s Champions League campaigns have showed that the best European teams don’t come from England any more. Certainly Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid and maybe even Paris or Dortmund seem to be stronger right now than any English team, maybe with the exception of Mourinho’s Chelsea.

The current weaker period of the Premier League is accompanied by a new strength of the Bundesliga. In this season it was the first time ever that four German teams managed to qualify for the second round in the Champions League. Even though Schalke and Leverkusen were then beaten in an embarrassing way, it showed that you can even have a seventh and eighth Champions League match in a season as a player from these teams, and they are on the right path. All the stars from 'better' teams like Arsenal and Manchester City didn’t have more matches in this Champions League season.

Of course that’s just the current situation and when we’re honest then we have to admit that the Premier League is still the most exciting league because of its amount of top clubs on a similar high level, this year's Bundesliga was a one horse race. 

Another important role is the fact that there have been a few good former Bundesliga players who didn’t achieve a breakthrough in the Premier League like  Sahin at Liverpool, Holtby at Tottenham or even Jerome Boateng at Manchester City. These examples might discourage other young players from the Bundesliga when they have to decide if moving to England is the right next step in their career, while even Schurrle at Chelsea has not been playing regularly.

It will be interesting to see if this trend will continue like that or if some current Bundesliga players will move to Premier League teams in the summer.

The amazing atmosphere in the stadiums, the passion and all the money you can earn there as a player might be good arguments for a transfer to England. The Bundesliga teams still need to prove that they can be successful in European competitions for more than just a season, which the big Premier League teams have already proved for many years now and will probably prove again soon.

In the future we will see if Bender and Firmino will have to regret their decisions or not, or are just biding their time.

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