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Is Bundesliga 2 a viable transfer market for Sunderland to explore this summer?

Is the German second division, the Bundesliga 2, a viable market that Sunderland should explore? "I don't see zwei not", argues Alex McCain.

Security High Around FC Union Football Match Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

With a German-led consortium's takeover of Sunderland in a state of imminence, and Jens Keller of Union Berlin speculated to be the likely choice for their first managerial appointment, it's looking like Germany is a theme we'll be taking on in this summer window.

If our owners are German and the manager is too, it's entirely plausible and indeed quite probable that we'll be dipping into Deutschland's divisions in order to stitch our threadbare squad back together.

But is such a premonition reassuring of our hopes for stability? Or is this a bad idea? Does it entail the concern that, if we take this transfer policy seriously, the würst is yet to come?

FC Schalke 04 Training & Press Conference
Jens Keller - former FC Schalke 04 manager - looks a decent bet as the new manager should the German consortium complete their takeover of the club.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

With regard to the latter - not at all. The Bundesliga 2 is a solid division with the potential to be rife with bargain talent; it may even be a better place to do our shopping than the Championship!

The Bundesliga 2's advantage over its second-tier counterpart here in England comes in the form of its youth system regulations. All teams competing in this league must have a squad consisting of at least eight players that have come through a German football club's youth system - at least four of which must be from that particular club's academy.

These are a stricter set of requirements to the ones we have in the EFL, where teams are only required to include six home-grown players in their squad which in turn guarantees younger German players more time on the pitch in order to advance their progression.

Moreover, none of the six players in an English side have to necessarily come from the club they're currently representing, since a 'home-grown' player as understood by the FA is just a player to have been part of an English (or Welsh) team’s youth system for at least three seasons prior to their twenty-first birthday.

If a club wants to succeed at this level, they're going to need to grow their own crops. As a result, the teams competing will generally place more emphasis on creating talent rather than buying it, ultimately meaning there's a bigger bedrock to unearth hidden gems.

To put this another way, you probably wouldn't see Ross McCormack jumping from club to club for extortionate fees every five minutes if he plied his trade in the Bundesliga 2.

TSV 1860 Muenchen v 1. FC Kaiserslautern - Second Bundesliga
At least eight players have to have come through a German football club’s youth system in Bundesliga 2 - with at least four coming from the club in question’s academy.
Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images For MAN

Now, it's all well and good that teams are producing players considered to be talented enough to compete at that level - but 'talent' is relative to its division. How do we know the general level of quality here stacks up to that of the Championship?

Well, for starters, if we were to begin signing players from the Bundesliga 2, we wouldn't be the first Championship side to show an interest in that division.

Not too long ago, Bristol City were linked with the last season’s top scorer Simon Terodde, and Leeds United were closing in on the signing of Stuttgart's Romanian international Alexandru Maxim - before he snubbed the West Yorkshire side for Mainz 05.

Evidently, clubs at our level have seen the players of this second-tier as worthy of making the switch to ours. There's no reason why - with the right recruitment and a manager who already has a fundamental understanding of this division (such as the aforementioned Jens Keller) - we can't add quality to our ranks from Bundesliga 2.

It's worth mensch-ining too that the Bundesliga 2 is the most watched second-tier division in the entire world. The lustrous TV revenue this division undoubtedly attracts is due to it hosting a plethora of well-supported, financially formidable clubs. A fact that should leave no doubt in anyone's mind that this league is capable of rivalling the Championship.

With a whole host of big clubs incentivised to produce players able to compete at a level comparable to the Championship’s, we could do a lot worse than to spend our summer shopping budget here.

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