Mainz's France-Based Scouting System
Under sporting director Rouven Schröder, Mainz have built an efficient, innovative, and lucrative scouting network in France, snapping up some of the most promising youngsters in the country before moulding them into quality players ready for a top 5 league.
In 2017, they bought centre back Abdou Diallo from Monaco for €5 million, and sold him a year later to Dortmund for €28 million. They've also bought Jean-Philippe Mateta from Lyon for €8 million, Jean-Philippe Gbamin from Lens for €5 million, and Moussa Niakhaté from Metz for €6 million. In total, €19 million, although they'll likely triple or quadruple their profit.
Intriguingly, this is a new development. Since West and East Germany were reunified, Mainz did not make a single permanent transfer from France until 2015, when they signed Gaëtan Bussmann from Metz.
It's not just Mainz. Throughout Germany, teams are catching onto the fact that there's a bevvy of cheap, ready-made talent in France. This past summer, we saw Wolfsburg buy Jérôme Roussillon for €4.5 million from Montpellier, and Eintracht buy Evan N'Dicka from Auxerre for €4.5 million.
Schalke bought Hamza Mendyl (21) from Lille for €5.4 million and Leipzig bought Nordi Mukiele (21) from Montpellier for €14.4 million. Neither have validated their price tags, but they're so young and talented that both teams should be expected to triple their profit, but not before becoming starters.
Gladbach paid €20.7 million for Alassane Pléa from Nice. That isn't cheap for Germany, but it's cheap for England or Spain or Italy. Pléa's scored 10 goals and assisted 3 in the league, spearheaded Gladbach's attack (3rd in the league), and will easily double their profit.
Last January, with his contract running down, Eintracht bought Almamy Touré for €675k. Yes, Almamy Touré, the 22-year-old who started against Arsenal in the CL Round of 16 and Dortmund in the CL Quarterfinals.
Six hundred and seventy five thousand Euros. While several clubs wanted his services, such as Cardiff, Eintracht simply had the best proposal.
Köln signed Vincent Koziello from Nice for £2.7 million. Gladbach signed Mickaël Cuisance from Nancy for £225,000. Dortmund signed Ousmane Dembélé from Rennes for £13.5 million. Ingolstadt bought Marcel Tisserand from Monaco and tripled their profit two years later.
One common denominator of these signings: French centre backs.
The likes of Mukiele, Niakhaté, N’Dicka, Benjamin Pavard and Mamadou Doucouré have all left France for Germany.
In the summer of 2017, Borussia Dortmund signed Dan-Axel Zagadou on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, while RB Leipzig signed Ibrahima Konaté on a free transfer from Sochaux.
France makes players better than anyone. Germany signs players better than anyone.