Updated: Jun 4, 2020
Bundesliga has brought light to one of the most promising English talents of the past decade. Jadon Sancho, King of the Index, has torn down German wings and thrived in the foreign league. But he's not the only British player to ply his trade over in Germany.
The young prospect Ethan Ampadu left on loan from Chelsea for a season, as did Jonjoe Kenny - the Evertonian full back at Schalke. Teenage welshman Rabbi Matondo is competing for minutes in that Schalke squad too.
The most notable English name in Bundesliga, aside from Sancho, is perhaps Ademola Lookman. The 22 year old winger made a permanent move to RB Leipzig from Everton for a fee of around £16m last summer, having already spent some time in Germany out on loan a year before hand.
Ademola Lookman was once considered an elite prospect in the English Youth system. Having featured in 31 matches from U19 to U21, Lookman was racking up experience with England despite struggling to feature as regularly for Everton until the 2018/19 season. Then he earned 21 appearances in the Premier League - however, failed to score once.
His 5 year deal with RB Leipzig is one full of intrigue. RB Leipzig have established a sound track-record of nurturing 'the next big thing' over the last two seasons.
Timo Werner has emerged as one of the most consistent young goal scorers and chance creators in Europe. Christopher Nkunku has provided a tonne of assists after moving away from PSG to Leipzig. Dayot Upemecano has become a defensive force that both United and Arsenal are reportedly chasing a signature over. Angeliño has transformed from a Man City want-away to a vital cog down the left flank at RBL in only a few appearances. Finally, though somewhat harder to see, Werner's staple strike partner Yussuf Poulsen has developed significantly. He went from being a Danish Superliga/Bundesliga 3 striker to a Champions League Striker during Leipzig's transformation. Though he's struggled for minutes this season, his transfer request has sparked interest from a host of Premier League clubs. There are plenty of players that have developed rapidly whilst playing out at Leipzig.
As you can see, Leipzig is a youthful team. They take good players and make them great. They play their youngsters in a host of roles and positions, driving versatility and understanding of the game - rather than a spot on the pitch. Their dynamic style that seemingly creates chance after chance is one where a young winger can thrive. Nkunku proved it this season.
Ademola Lookman has only featured in 7 games this season for the German outfit, 6 of which were a substitution. But the first season is rarely easy. At a relatively young age, moving abroad is not just about learning how to play in Bundesliga. It's about adapting to an entirely foreign climate and in many ways, about keeping your head above the water until you find your feet.
£16m is not an insignificant amount of money. Ademola Lookman was clearly scouted and valued in accordance to what they believe he has to offer.
To put this into perspective; Christopher Nkunku, also 22 years old, also joined last summer. He arrived from PSG for around £12m. Nkunku has since played 24, with 14 assists and 4 goals to his tally.
Lookman has not brought A-Game to the table yet, but in order for Leipzig to cash-in on this acquisition, they'll need to play him more regularly. On the return of Bundesliga, he came on early in the second half to start this journey. The next two seasons will be crucial to see if Lookman has what it takes to play regular first team football in a vastly talented squad.
Is this an investment opportunity?
22 Years Old
English, with PL and U21 International experience
RB Leipzig - Champions League Team
£1.11 Buy Price
As far as investments go, betting on a youngster that has lacked game time is a large part of the gamble. It's high risk, high reward. RB Leipzig saw enough in him to dig deep into their pockets last summer, but to a trader, we haven't seen all that much. If he can't establish himself in the RBL squad, his investment sits in stalemate. He won't push on into England's set up. He won't be in the media.
But a couple of strong performances in Bundesliga - especially now that all eyes are on Germany - will no doubt give the youngster a boost in value on the index. He's at a squad that play dominant, possession-based football and create bags of chances. He's definitely capable of posting decent PB. Furthermore, English Wingers in Germany have a certain ring to their name now that Lord Sancho has risen.
At £1.11, there's a huge ceiling in this investment. His bio ticks a lot of boxes and everything indicates he's got talent to unlock. Ok, perhaps the peak is not on par with Sancho or any other megastar, but Nkunku sits at £3.33 after having been in the exact position Lookman started this season at. Then you factor in Lookman's media factor given his English heritage. If you think even further long-term, on the assumption he'll start performing as expected for a £15m player, media speculation on whether he'll make the England Squad, or choose Nigeria (his parents' homeland) is an angle that could come to fruition.
We're certainly curious to see how the future plays out for Lookman. As a football fan, we'd love to see another Englishman establishing himself in a foreign league. We admire the drive to seek better options of self-fulfilment rather than spend season after season on a bench in England. As a trader, we think the risks are clear and the timebomb is ticking. He won't be considered 'young' on the index for too much longer. He's flying under the radar for now and won't take a lot to rise - now is a great opportunity to invest should he manage to bag himself a goal in an appearance whilst Bundesliga is the only football to reach our screens. However, if you're investing in Lookman, be patient. He's not found form and has no history of prolific goal scoring. It may take time to squeeze the talent out of him, and the rise may be long and gradual rather than a steep flip.
Final thoughts: Are there many attacking English players in a champions league squad, younger than 22 years old, that are cheaper than Lookman right now?