Premier League scouts will often turn their eye to Borussia Dortmund when they’re asked to comb Europe for the best talent available – and with good reason.
Some of the best players in recent years have come through the German side – whether they’ve started their careers there or have been signed by them. You only have to look at the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus as examples.
This knack at spotting quality has come at a price, however. Teams around the world often queue up to take Dortmunds best players off their hands, and a flock of teams in England have snapped them up in recent years with mixed success.
This year the club face another battle to cling onto their top assets, and Jadon Sancho will be the subject of a £100million tug of war between Premier League sides bidding to bring the Englishman back home. Manchester United and Chelsea have both been touted as possible destinations for the 20-year-old.
But how have previous Dortmund stars performed after making the move to the English top flight? Sportsmail has a closer look at the major deals, weighing up whether the grass was greener for them after leaving Germany.
Shinji Kagawa – Manchester United (2012)
When the Japanese midfielder signed for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men there were high expectations he would be the latest Asian star to flourish at Old Trafford following the success of Park Ji-sung, with suggestions the club could have also benefited commercially from shirt sales and brand recognition in the Far East.
But it just didn’t quite come together for Kagawa – despite enjoying a relatively positive first season that saw him score six goals in 26 games.
The following campaign was less impressive – no goals in 30 games. Having come from a Dortmund side where he scored 29 in 71, this was a disappointing return.
When he signed for United, he said he would carry [Dortmund], their great fans, and the whole city in my heart forever’. And so it went that he would return to the club after just two underwhelming seasons in Manchester.
Ilkay Gundogan – Manchester City (2016)
A member of the famous Dortmund side that made it to the 2013 Champions League final – and scorer of the first goal in their 2-1 defeat to Bayern at Wembley – Gundogan had been courted by a host of top clubs around the world for some time.
After a serious of illustrious displays in the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s midfield, he finally left Signal Iduna Park after making 157 appearances.
Under the now Liverpool boss he won the Bundesliga and German Cup, but ended up joining Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
The midfielder has suffered with injuries throughout his career, and things didn’t look good as he ruptured his cruciate ligament in his first season at the Etihad – missing virtually the entire campaign.
But since recovering he has managed to keep his fitness woes mostly in check, going on to become a key figure for Guardiola at City.
He has won two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and three EFL Cups – playing 154 games for the Sky Blues and chipping in with 22 goals.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Manchester United (2016)
The Armenian was highly coveted when he joined the Red Devils in the summer of 2017, bringing great anticipation with him having just bagged 23 goals and 15 assists with Dortmund the previous season.
Arriving alongside the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, United fans were licking their lips at the prospect of him pulling the strings in midfield.
A spectacular scorpion-kick goal against Sunderland was to be his only notable highlight, however, as he started just 15 times in the league, with nine coming from the bench, and he scored just four goals.
He quickly found himself out of favour at Old Trafford and was shifted out to Arsenal in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez in 2018. But despite an impressive start with the Gunners – which saw him score twice and provide four assists in his first handful of games – he saw no increase in his fortunes.
While he played more games last season, he quickly fell down the pecking order under Unai Emery – and he now admits he struggled to develop under the Spaniard. This season he is on loan at Roma and hopes to secure a permanent move.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal (2018)
Perhaps the biggest success story of the lot. Gabon international Aubameyang wasted absolutely no time making his mark on the Premier League as he arrived in the same window as Mkhitaryan and blitzed 10 goals in just 14 games under Arsene Wenger.
Despite commanding a large fee for a player coming towards the end of his twenties, the forward felt like a ready-made superstar when he signed and there was a feeling that the Gunners knew they were getting a class act after he notched 141 goals in 213 games for Dortmund.
His sophomore year at the Emirates was particularly impressive as he finished the season as the joint-top goalscorer with 22 strikes alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
Flash forward to the present and Aubameyang has 61 goals in nearly a century of games for the north London outfit, who now face their own struggles to keep hold of him amid reported interest from Barcelona.
Sokratis – Arsenal (2018)
Another Dortmund star to link up with Arsenal was the Greek international Sokratis, who was brought in before his former team-mates Aubameyang and Mhkitaryan – with the hope that he could strengthen a leaky backline.
He had spent five years with the Bundesliga side and won a German Cup, and was seen as an experienced head who might make the Gunners defence more resolute.
But 67 appearances later he is yet to pull up any trees, with pundits and fans still criticising their back four and calling for additions.
The 31-year-old, who has been guilty of errors, played 40 games in his first year at the Emirates and was part of the team that made it to the Europa League final against Chelsea.
Unfortunately for him, he was also part of the side that were thumped 4-1 by the Blues in the Azerbaijan as Emery’s men missed out on the trophy and also finished fifth in the table.
But he remains an important part of the team at Arsenal and has made 19 starts this season under both Emery and Mikel Arteta.
Andriy Yarmolenko – West Ham (2018)
The Ukrainian international only spent one year with the German club but was hit by injuries after leaving Dynamo Kiev – where he made his name. He came to Dortmund having forged an impressive career off the back of 137 goals in 341 outings.
He missed nearly half the season with a foot injury, yet he still managed to play 26 games and bag six goals.
When West Ham came calling, however, the club seemed content to cash in as the west Londoners parted with £18m for him.
Sadly for the Ukrainian international, it’s been the same story as far as injuries go. He scored twice in his first 10 games at the London Stadium before his campaign was cruelly cut short in just October as he ruptured his Achilles tendon.
Yarmolenko made his comeback this season and played 15 times, contributing three goals, before tearing his abductor muscle over Christmas and hasn’t played since.
Chrisian Pulisic – Chelsea (2019)
Dortmund’s most recent sale to the Premier League saw them net nearly £60m for a talented young player. Christian Pulisic started his career at the club and played over 127 games, gaining experience in the Bundesliga and the Champions League and winning a host of suitors before Chelsea won his signature.
But like Yarmolenko, the American has proven to be injury prone and has suffered a difficult season at Chelsea under Frank Lampard.
With the likes of Mason Mount featuring prominently and competition for places remaining fierce on the wings, the American had to battle hard for his spot after showing glimpses of his quality from the bench.
But in October he started coming alive and a crucial performance in Chelsea’s Champions League win away at Ajax was rewarded with a start against Burnley – where he delivered a hat-trick in a 4-2 victory.
That run of form fizzled out, however, and it wasn’t long before the injury blow that would rule him out for 13 games. Frustratingly for Pulisic, the season was suspended around the same time he recovered – and he will have to step up his fitness and rehabilitation from home.