There have been a few excellent signings in the German top flight.

The transfer window is always an exciting time both for clubs and fans, as new – and sometimes already known – names are introduced to the Bundesliga. So, who are the latest recruits to join the German top-flight, and what do we already know about them? Let’s look at six of the latest defensive arrivals in the Bundesliga. 

Matthijs de Ligt – FC Bayern München

Age: 23
Nationality: Dutch
Previous Clubs: Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), Juventus (Italy) 

Random Fact: Now well known as one of the best centre-backs in the game, De Ligt could well have been playing his trade further forward – possibly alongside teammate and compatriot Dutch Ryan Gravenberch in the centre of midfield. Until he was 15, De Ligt was an attacking midfielder, but was advised to move one position back by his youth coaches.

Having made his breakthrough at Ajax Amsterdam aged just 17, Dutch centre back Matthijs de Ligt has already achieved a lot for his young age. Emerging from the Ajax academy, De Ligt went on to make over 100 first team appearances for the Amsterdam outfit before becoming the first defender in history to win Europe’s Golden Boy award in 2018. Having also been the youngest Ajax player to ever wear the club’s captain armband, De Ligt joined Juventus in 2019 and featured 117 times for the Old Lady of Italian football. After joining Bayern München just over a month ago, De Ligt has already found the net – scoring against VfL Bochum last weekend – and he aims to fire the German champions to even more success. 

Maya Yoshida – FC Schalke 04 

Age: 34
Nationality: Japanese
Previous Clubs: Nagoya Grampus (Japan), VVV-Venlo (Netherlands), Southampton FC (England), U.C. Sampdoria (Italy) 

Random Fact: Schalke is no stranger to Maya Yoshida. He attended the VELTINS-Arena many years ago as a spectator, back when former Japanese international player and SC04 club ambassador Atsuto Uchida was playing right-back.

Japanese centre back Maya Yoshida made the move to FC Schalke 04 after a spell in Italy with Sampdoria. He made 72 Serie A appearances across his two-and-a-half-year spell with Sampdoria, including 21 last season, but spent the majority of his career at Southampton, turning out 194 times for the club between 2012-2020. The 119-time Japan international has captained his country since mid-2019, and is expected to retain the armband for this winter’s 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 

Lee Buchanan – Werder Bremen 

Age: 21
Nationality: England
Previous Clubs: Derby Country (England) 

Random Fact: Buchanan scored on his Derby Country debut, providing the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Scunthorpe United. Buchanan also scored on his debut for Bremen last weekend, notching the first Bremen goal in a triumphant 3–2 come-back win against Borussia Dortmund.

Lee Buchanan is an English fullback playing for Werder Bremen, having joined from English side Derby County. Formerly managed by England’s record goal scorer Wayne Rooney, Buchanan is an experienced youth player, having played at international level for England at U19, U20, and U21 levels. 

Ko Itakura – Borussia Mönchengladbach 

Age: 25
Nationality: Japan
Previous Clubs: Kawasaki Frontale (Japan), Vegalta Sendai (Japan), Manchester City (England), FC Groningen (Netherlands), FC Schalke 04 (Germany)

Random Fact: Having arrived in Europe with very little English, Itakura is now a leader when it comes to communication on the pitch – a crucial quality when it comes to coordinating the defence of a team. 

Ko Itakura is a Japanese born centre back now playing for Bundesliga team Borussia Mönchengladbach. Itakura began his career in his native Japan lifting the J1 title with Kawasaki Frontale in 2017. Following brief loan spells, Ko signed for English Champions Manchester City. During that time, he had spells on loan with FC Groningen in Holland and then as an integral player in Schalke 04’s promotion back into the Bundesliga. His performance within Bundesliga 2 champions earned him a permanent move to Gladbach. Ko is also an experienced international player for the Japanese team, and represented his country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

Diogo Leite – FC Union Berlin 

Age: 23
Nationality: Portugal
Previous Clubs: FC Porto (Portugal), Padroense FC (Portugal), SC Braga (Portugal) 

Random Fact: Leite’s biggest idol is Portuguese defender legend Pepe, who was his teammate at FC Porto.

Diogo Leite is a Portuguese centre back who joined Union Berlin on loan from FC Porto this summer. After five years in professional football, this is his first spell abroad. In his first season with FC Porto’s first team, he won the double of the Portuguese championship and cup. Additionally, he has celebrated international successes with the Portugal national team at youth level, including the UEFA Under-17 Championship title in 2016. 

Jonjoe Kenny – Hertha BSC 

Age: 25
Nationality: England
Previous Clubs: Everton (England), Wigan Athletic (England), Oxford United (England), FC Schalke 04 (Germany), Celtic (Scotland) 

Random Fact: During his first spell in the Bundesliga, Kenny won the August 2019 Rookie of the Month Award. Being a relentless runner in the right back position, he models his game on Bundesliga Legend Philipp Lahm.

Jonjoe Kenny is an English right back who joined Hertha Berlin this summer on a free transfer from Everton. Born in Liverpool, he came through Everton’s academy and made his Premier League debut aged 19 back in 2016. He already has a taste of the Bundesliga, having spent the 2019-20 season on loan at FC Schalke 04, scoring two goals and adding three assists. On national level, Kenny won the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in 2014, as well as the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017 with England. 

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