There’s been a noticeable increase in British footballers playing abroad in recent years – and some of them are absolutely killing it at the start of the 2023-24 season.
With England now established as one of the best sides in world football and Scotland on the verge of qualifying for Euro 2024, teams from the continent have taken notice at the number of technically proficient talents produced on these shores and signed some of them up.
We’ve taken a closer look at the 23 British players currently plying their trade in the top divisions in Spain, Germany, Italy and France.
Eight goals and four assists in seven Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich. It’s going well, isn’t it?
Tella came through the ranks at Southampton, before playing an integral role in Burnley’s promotion-winning campaign last year.
With his parent club suffering relegation from the Premier League, many expected Tella to return to St Mary’s and help Southampton escape the Championship at the first attempt.
But the South Coast club cashed in on the 24-year-old forward, selling him to Bayer Leverkusen for £20million.
Tella is yet to score or assist in three Bundesliga appearances, but did strike in the German side’s Europa League triumph over Molde. He’s got the talent to thrive in Xabi Alonso’s side.
Bynoe-Gittens is following in the footsteps of Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho by honing his craft at Borussia Dortmund.
The exciting winger joined the club from Manchester City in 2020 and has produced enough flashes of talent to suggest a bright future in the game.
He’s made two Bundesliga appearances in 2023-24 without scoring, but Bynoe-Gittens made his England U21 debut last month and recently signed a contract extension with Dortmund until 2028.
“We are convinced that his development is far from complete and are pleased that Jamie has decided ahead of time for a long-term future at BVB despite the great interest of several top clubs in Europe,” said Dortmund’s sporting director Sebastian Kehl.
But that hasn’t stopped rumours of interest from Arsenal and Chelsea. One to watch.
Blooded at Tottenham by Jose Mourinho, Tanganga lost his way under Antonio Conte and was loaned to Bundesliga outfit Augsburg at the end of the summer transfer window.
“If you weren’t aware, his loan is a loan with an option to buy that becomes an obligation if certain criteria are met,” journalist Alisdair Gold said.
“I have a feeling one of those maybe if they stay up in the Bundesliga, but a good move for him. Bundesliga is a good league for young players to go there and develop and that will be good for Japhet.”
But the defender is yet to make an appearance for his new side, despite their precarious position in the lower reaches of the league table.
It feels like a long time ago since Oxford kept Mesut Ozil in his back pocket on his Premier League debut.
Having flitted between West Ham and the Bundesliga for a number of years, firstly with Borussia Monchengladbach and then at Augsburg, Oxford joined the latter on a permanent deal in 2019 that was reportedly worth around £2.1million.
The defender made just three appearances last season and is yet to play in 2023-24.
Osei-Tutu came through the ranks at Arsenal, but was loaned out on four separate occasions and never played for the first team.
He returned to the first of those loan destinations, VFL Bochum, in the summer of 2022 and made 16 appearances as they managed to avoid relegation to the second tier.
The full-back hasn’t played this season, partly due to a gastrointestinal problem, and Bochum have to win a Bundesliga match to date.
Former Everton youth product and Scotland Under-21 international Hornby is now with Bundesliga side Darmstadt 98, but has only made one appearance this season.
He’ll be hoping to break into the side soon, but the newly-promoted side’s solid start might make that difficult.
It’s taken Bellingham two months to turn the Bernabeu into his own personal playground and get the famously demanding Madridistas eating out of the palm of his hand. Muy bueno.
Greenwood has scored one goal in five appearances for Getafe since his loan move from Manchester United in August 2023.
Many Arsenal fans were surprised and disappointed to see Tierney marginalised at the Emirates and the Scotland international made a loan switch to Real Sociedad in search of first-team football.
“Was it a hard decision? No, it was an easy decision,” Tierney admitted about leaving Arsenal. “It was a big decision, but an easy decision. Clearly it’s a big change for me.
“Culturally, the league, the language, everything is different. But I think you have to embrace it and put yourself in uncomfortable positions sometimes.
“You just have to enjoy it, go make the most of it and learn everything you can. I want to grow as a person and grow as a player and that’s my ambition.”
Tierney has made five appearances in Spain, but is currently injured. Again.
Despite their best efforts, Manchester United were unable to sign Gomes to a contract extension and were forced to release him in June 2020.
Lille quickly snapped him up before sending to Boavista on a season-long loan – where Gomes shone. He scored six league goals and picked up two Man of the Match awards in Portugal, earning him a place in Lille’s first-team squad.
United are hardly short of attacking talent, but they must regret letting Gomes leave so easily. He provided six assists last season and had one of the highest pass completion rates in Ligue 1. No wonder the midfielder has been an ever-present for Lille this season.
Angel Gomes is off to a good start 23/24 pic.twitter.com/DM5imsWwPo
— Hugo ✞ (@HugoFilmz28) October 1, 2023
After his Arsenal contract expired last summer, Maitland-Niles signed a four-year deal with Lyon and linked up with former team-mate Alexandre Lacazette.
While the former England international is getting starts in his regular midfield position, the Ligue 1 side are currently second from bottom in the table and without a single victory this season. Things could be going better.
Wilson-Esbrand made his Manchester City debut in September 2021 when he started in the 6-1 Carabao Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers.
He has since made two Champions League appearances last season against FC Copenhagen and Sevilla, before spending the latter half of the campaign at Coventry City.
Now 20, the defender has been loaned to Reims and has made two appearances for the Ligue 1 side. Reims finished 11th in the French top flight last season, but are currently sitting fifth after a fast start to the new campaign.
Born in France, Soglo joined Chelsea in 2015 and spent six years in the club’s youth system before leaving the club and having a trial at West Ham.
He eventually returned to France in 2022, signing for Marseille and scored on his professional debut in their 2-2 draw with Metz in August 2023.
The midfielder was called up to the England U20 squad for the first time last month and the future appears bright for the 18-year-old.
Recently identified by Frank Lampard as the one academy graduate he didn’t want to sell as Chelsea boss, Tomori has flourished at AC Milan and has earned widespread praise for his performances at the heart of defence.
The 25-year-old has scored once in seven Serie A appearances and helped Milan keep clean sheets against Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
He even seems to have finally convinced Gareth Southgate of his worth, being named in the England squad to face Australia and Italy this month.
354 days on since his last goal for the club, Fikayo Tomori gives Milan a 2-1 lead! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/GbgEZwwNBo
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) September 27, 2023
After being marginalised under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, Abraham made a £34million switch to Roma in the summer of 2021.
His first season in the Italian capital was a huge success, as the striker scored 27 goals and helped Jose Mourinho’s side win the Europa Conference League, but he received criticism for only scoring nine goals in 2022-23.
Abraham is yet to play this year after rupturing his ACL in pre-season, but the signing of Romelu Lukaku would’ve pushed him down the pecking order at the Stadio Olimpico anyway.
There’s even talk of a return to Chelsea. Watch this space…
Loftus-Cheek signing for AC Milan was a transfer that seemingly made sense for all parties. It’s going well so far…
Iling-Junior was a revelation when he first broke into the Juventus side, but has become increasingly sidelined this season.
He’s only played for 89 minutes in 2023-24 and rumours are growing in Italy that he’ll ask for a January transfer if the situation continues.
Smalling signed a permanent deal with the Roma in October 2020 after impressing on loan from Manchester United.
And the defender has impressed in Rome, becoming an important part of Jose Mourinho’s squad and helping the club win the Europa Conference League in 2022.
One Italian great, World Cup winner Giuseppe Bergomi, is a big fan of Smalling and was confident he would be a success in Serie A.
“I am not surprised about Smalling. I thought he was good at United,” he said about the defender.
“When English players leave their country to learn something else, I think it benefits them. He is physically very strong and when he faced Inter and Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian did not touch the ball.
“He and Roma team-mate Gianluca Mancini are the best couple of central defenders in Serie A.”
Smalling has made three Serie A appearances this season, but none since the start of September as Roma look to recover from a slow start to the campaign.
After being linked with a number of Championship clubs, Davis made the surprise move from Aston Villa to Udinese in September 2023.
The striker had struggled for game time at Villa Park, spending prolonged spells away from the club on loan, and is yet to make an appearance for the Serie A club this year.
Ferguson is currently the talk of Italian football after his Man of the Match performance for Bologna against Inter Milan at the San Siro.
“We have to leave this boy hidden because you can see that he is a player of the highest level in everything he does,” Bologna boss Thiago Motta joked amidst rumours of strong interest from Juventus.
“He knows how to play well, he knows how to defend, he has a great mentality, he knows how to attack too, This is a real top level player. From today onwards I will no longer talk about him!”
The Scotland international has made 40 appearances for the Serie A club since joining from Aberdeen in the summer of 2022 and looks to have the world at his feet.
Doig has made a massive impression in Italy since his £3million switch to Hellas Verona last summer.
The left-back racked up 22 appearances in 2022-23, scoring twice and assisting four, as he helped his side avoid relegation from Serie A via the play-offs.
And he’s played four times this year too, helping to cement his place in Steve Clarke’s all-conquering Scotland squad. Good on him.