Anthony Ujah among five top German league winter transfers
The German Bundesliga returns on Friday after the winter break with several clubs having invested during the current transfer window.
Here are the top five signings so far with the window to close on January 31:
NIGEL DE JONG (Mainz 05)
Strugglers Mainz landed a big-name star by signing the former Netherlands defensive midfielder, who played in the 2010 World Cup final, for the rest of the season.
De Jong, 33, won the 2012 Premier League title with Manchester City and made 66 Bundesliga appearances for Hamburg from 2006 until 2009.
“I like Mainz’s story, the club has established itself in the Bundesliga off its own back,” said de Jong after joining on a free transfer.
“I want to help the club achieve it’s aims this season,” which translates as ‘staying up’ as Mainz sit two points from the relegation places.
The Dutchman, who joined Galatasaray in August 2016 after spells with Manchester City, AC Milan and LA Galaxy, had fallen out of favour in Istanbul this season and had not been given a squad number.
SANDRO WAGNER (Bayern Munich)
The Bundesliga’s worst-kept secret was confirmed just before Christmas when Wagner, 30, left Hoffenheim to sign for around 13 million euros ($15.4m) with Bayern, where he started his career.
Wagner’s contract runs until June 2020 and the burly Germany forward has been recruited as back up for Bayern’s star striker Robert Lewandowski, currently out with a knee injury.
“I’m a bit of a hometown boy,” Wagner told magazine 11Freunde. “If I’m away from Munich for too long, then I get homesick.”
He made only four Bundesliga appearances for Bayern in 2007 before spells at Duisburg, Werder Bremen, Kaiserslautern, Hertha Berlin and Darmstadt.
MARIO GOMEZ (VfB Stuttgart)
Another Germany striker returning to the club where he started his career, Gomez, 32, won the 2007 Bundesliga title with VfB Stuttgart before spells at Bayern, Fiorentina, Besiktas and Wolfsburg.
Gomez is an established goal-scorer, who has netted 155 times in 281 Bundesliga appearances with an impressive strike rate of 31 goals in 71 appearances for Germany.
Gomez hit 63 goals in 121 league games for Stuttgart in his first spell at the club from 2001-2009.
He joined Bayern for a then-Bundesliga record of 30 million euros in 2009, yet Wolfsburg agreed a transfer of three million euros to bring him back to Stuttgart.
“I’m delighted with the signing, we’re looking forward to working with him,” said Stuttgart coach Hannes Wolf.
Only Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have better goal-to-minutes ratio (115) than Gomez, who scores on average every 125 minutes.
MARKO PJACA (Schalke 04)
The winger has joined Schalke on loan from Juventus for the rest of the season in a bid to win a place with Croatia at the World Cup in June.
The 22-year-old was sidelined for most of 2017 by a cruciate ligament injury last March, but gives the Royal Blues depth out wide.
He is eager to regain his form and is set to make his Schalke league debut at Leipzig on Saturday.
“I spoke about Schalke a great deal with (ex-Schalke captain and current Juventus defender) Benedikt Hoewedes,” said Pjaca.
“He told me a lot of positive things about the club and the fans, now I hope to play as much as possible.”
ANTHONY UJAH (Mainz 05)
After Ujah spent 18 months with Chinese side Liaoning, Mainz paid 3.8 million euros to bring the Nigeria striker back to the Bundesliga.
“I’m over the moon to be returning to Mainz,” said Ujah.
“I’ve only got good memories of my time here and I’m also really looking forward to playing in the Bundesliga again.”
The 27-year-old played for Mainz from 2011-2013, then had spells at Cologne and Werder Bremen before heading to China in July 2016 for 13 million euros.
After Liaoning were relegated from the Chinese Super League at the end of 2017, Ujah looked for a new club. He will be hoping to add to his tally of 23 Bundesliga goals in 76 league games.
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