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Sports

Opinion: Clearance sale

Harvard Nordweit is a good player, but no superstar. Over the weekend, Mönchengladbach announced that he will move to West Ham in the summer. This is a worrying sign for the Bundesliga, writes DW's Tobias Oelmaier.

Borussia Mönchengladbach has never been what you would call a "buying club." Even in the glory days of the 1970s, the five-time league champions had to let players go, even when it didn't really want to. Günter Netzer moved to Real Madrid and Called del Haye went to Bayern Munich. Later on, Lothar Matthäus, Stefan Effenberg and (even later) Dante all went to Bayern. Then there was Marco Reus, a budding star who decided to try seek fame and fortune in Dortmund. However, in each of these cases, we are talking about big stars who left for really big transfer fees.

Now the fourth-placed team in the Bundesliga has had to concede defeat in its battle to re-sign Harvard Nordtveit. While there is no doubt that he is a good, solid Bundesliga player, the Norwegian, who has been with the team for the past five years, is no superstar. It has only been in the past few months that he has performed above average, helping give his club a chance to make it into Europe for next season. However, his next club is not Real, Dortmund, or Bayern, but West Ham United.

Oelmaier Tobias Kommentarbild App

DW sports editor Tobias Oelmaier

Nordtveit, who has even had the honor of wearing the captain's armband recently, said after Saturday's win over Eintracht Frankfurt that the decision to leave had been a difficult one. In a sporting sense, this is not much of a step up. The club from East London is fifth in the table and has never won the league title. Qualifying for Europe next season is far from a sure thing. Not just that, but Nordtveit will have to fight for his place in the starting lineup, in a league that seems to be buying up everything that moves.

It is hard to imagine that his motivation is the atmosphere in the stadium, because the atmosphere in the Borussia-Park can certainly hold its own, when compared to that of its English counterparts. There can only be one motivation to return to London for Nordtveit (who arrived in Gladbach from Arsenal), and that is lots of money.

The big television rights contract that the Premier League has landed is obviously making an impact. One can only imagine that Granit Xhaka, Mahmoud Dahoud and company can't wait to cash in. The current Gladbach team could be in danger of completely falling apart, losing all of its key players.

If a club as rich in tradition as Mönchengladbach - with its fans, its reputation, its sporting quality, and its strong financial situation - stands no chance of keeping a player when a Premier League team, which is below the top four, comes calling, what are the smaller German clubs to do. All of this raises the fear that the Bundesliga's clearance sale has just begun.

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