By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Is the Bundesliga falling behind? The numbers suggest that might be so. The national leagues of England, Spain, and Italy have outpaced the German Bundesliga when it comes to football's most expensive stars.
Even the second-row clubs of the Premier League can make huge investments and pay tens of millions of euros for average players.
What appears to be a significant disadvantage when it comes to worldwide attention could at second sight be an opportunity to develop promising alternative options.
"We have to discover talents, develop them and sell them at a certain point," Borussia Moenchengladbach's sporting director Max Eberl is convinced calling the strategy "the only way" to survive competing with more potential leagues in Europe.
Meanwhile, many talents regard the German league as a perfect place for a stop-over as the Bundesliga is providing the chance to develop and, after having gained experience and playing practice, possibly join one of the financially stronger sides abroad.
"A lot of talents and promising professionals regard the Bundesliga as an interstation on their way to England," former German international and TV-presenter Thomas Helmer commented.
Helmer refers to Sebastian Haller from Europa League semifinalists Eintracht Frankfurt joining 10th-seated Premier League club West Ham United for assumedly 40 million euros despite the London-based club can't offer international competition for the 2019/2020 season.
"From a sporting point of view the move doesn't make much sense," Helmer emphasized. Joelinton, most likely leaving TSG Hoffenheim to join the Premier League 13th-placed Newcastle United for over 50 million, is a similar case.
Frankfurt's striker Luka Jovic joined Real Madrid. Ante Rebic might follow as rumors speak of possible interest of Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan.
While Hoffenheim and Frankfurt face the challenge to rebuild their squad, comfortably equipped with several millions, it seems the Bundesliga is not the favourite destination for the top stars such as Antoine Griezmann (from Atletico to FC Barcelona/120 millions), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Real), Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax/Juventus/85) and Joao Felix (Benfica/Atletico/126).
Atletico defender and French 2018 world champion Lucas Hernandez might have agreed to join Bayern Munich (Atletico/80 million), but Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona) apparently don't seem to feel like leaving.
"The Premier League is the much more attractive league as all of the clubs can spend money. On top you have big challenges at every match day even when playing for smaller clubs," 35-year-old former 1860 Munich professional and Greek international Jose Holebas said. Only a few clubs of the Bundesliga are at a similar level. Not many players consider joining German clubs, he added.
Nevertheless, German clubs are eagerly waiting for additional bargains like Jadon Sancho (City) or on-loan striker Reiss Nelson (Arsenal). In 2017 Dortmund paid 7 million for Sancho. Meanwhile, the 19-year-old's value has increased up to 100 million.
Many of the Bundesliga's participants now hope to benefit when the transfer window in England is closing by August 8. Some talents might take a last-minute opportunity to follow the example of Sancho or prices will drop after the window has closed as England is no longer an attractive target for top international stars.
"We have to be patient, some of the big transfers will lead to a domino effect on other leagues," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge commented.