Is it better to buy players from Holland and Belgium or Germany?
Premier League clubs have been raiding Holland and Belgium more and more in recent years as a plethora of talent from the lowlands have become stars. They have come at good value and bring technical quality and an almost seamless transition to life in England. Increasingly though, and with the success of their clubs in Europe, the Bundesliga has seen its fair share of talent head to England. So is it better for Premier League clubs to keep exploiting the prices and talents in Holland and Belgium or the more exotic qualities on offer in Germany?
Holland & Belgium – Eredivisie & Pro League
Strengths - Defence and Power. They look immense at the back with the commanding Olsson flanked by Vlaar and Vermaelen. They have incredible strength and power and wouldn’t miss out to any side aerially. In fact, the defensive options were so strong that I have had to field the elegant Jan Vertonghen in midfield where he can use his comfort with the ball to great effect. They also have the rock solid Cheik Tiote to shield them further. Fellaini and Benteke add yet more power to a side that would be very intimidating.
Weakness - Pace. It’s not that this side is slow as such, but they’re not quick. They don’t possess a lightning quick runner. Suarez has quick feet and glides around and Benteke tends to bustle about powerfully but there’s no express pace.
How would they play? With a defence as good as this, it’s a shame that they don’t really possess the necessary swiftness to be a counter attacking unit. They would be quite reliant on Suarez and Ruiz to create things and would be exceptionally dangerous at set pieces with six aerial goal threats. You’d see a lot of 1-0s.
Advantage of buying in Holland or Belgium - Ready made for the Premier League. All of these players were bought from the relatively weaker countries’ leagues but were put straight in to Premier League teams and thrived immediately. You need someone right away? Look in Holland & Belgium.
Disadvantage of buying in Holland or Belgium - Price. Strangely enough, for a league that lacks in relative wealth, almost all of these players were on the expensive side. However, you pay for what you get and the big money gets you a player than can get straight down to business.
Germany – Bundesliga
Strengths - Attack. Multidimensional looking unit with goals aplenty. The buzzing effervescence of Holtby and Kagawa would create a lot of chances for Dzeko, Cisse and Podolski. It’s a front three that would miss a lot but also score a lot. That midfield is dripping with technical capability.
Weaknesses - Defence. There’s only really Kompany in there that you can rely on, the rest of them are not elite level players. They would be very flimsy down the flanks and against high speed attacking sides.
How would they play? They would have to be in full attack mode because they’d need to score enough goals to make up for the dodgy looking defence. One thing is for sure; with these players they would create a boatload of chances. They would zip the ball around looking to thread passes in for that dangerous front three.
Advantage of buying from Germany - Technical ability. These players reflect the national team’s strong suit of technical capability. No more is ‘efficiency’ the by word for German football.
Disadvantage of buying in Germany - For the highest scoring major European league, it’s not surprising that it’s hard to find top quality defenders.