Football Features

Signed for £11m, sold for £90m: Nine players Stuttgart picked up before they became superstars

By Chris Smith

Former Stuttgart players

Published: 18:30, 7 February 2022

VfB Stuttgart appear to be struggling in the Bundesliga once again, currently sitting in the relegation zone, four points from safety and fighting for their top-flight status.

But Die Roten are a club with a rich history, having been Bundesliga champions five times (most recently in 2006/07) while also winning three DFB-Pokals and a German Super Cup.

Over the years, Stuttgart has also proven to be a hotbed for talent, with many players using the club as a stepping stone before moving on to bigger, more illustrious pastures.

So, which players have Stuttgart picked up and nurtured before flipping them for a tidy profit? Let’s take a look.

Bet £10, Get £20 in Free Bets T&Cs apply

18+, UK only. Deposit and place a minimum £10 cash bet at single or accumulated odds of 1/1 or greater and we will give you 1 x £5 in free bets plus an extra 3 x £5 Free Bets the following day. Applies to first cash bet only. Free bets credited as 4 x £5 bets to use on 3x Any sport & 1x Virtuals. Cashed Out, Void or Draw No Bet wagers do not qualify for this promotion. 1 x £5 Free Bets are credited upon qualifying first bet settlement, other free bets credited by midday the day after your first bet settles. 7-day free bet expiry. Available once per customer. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotion. Full T&C’s apply.

18+ only. New UK customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets T&Cs apply

18+ only. Use code BET30. New Players Only. Minimum stake $/€/£ 10, minimum odds1.5, stake not returned.1X wagering the winnings from the free bet. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Free bet is valid for 7 Days from issue. Max conversion: $/€/£ 200. Excluded Skrill deposits. Withdrawal requests voids all active/pending bonuses. Full Terms Apply

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
£20 in free bets when you place a £10 bet T&Cs apply

18+ only. £10 min. deposit required. 1 x £10 qualifying bet required. Qualifying bet must be placed on selection with min. odds of 1.8 (4/5). 4 x £5 Free Bets will be credited once the qualifying bet has been settled. 1 x Free Bet valid for any Football Match Result market. 1 x Free Bet valid on any Football Correct Score market. 1 x Free Bet valid on any Horse Racing market. 1 x Free Bet valid on any Tennis market. Free Bets valid for 7 days once credited. T&Cs apply.

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here

Bernd Leno

  • Signed for: £0
  • Sold for: £6.7m
  • Current club:  Arsenal

Arsenal’s Petr Cech replacement as the Gunners looked to move to a more modern style of goalkeeper, Bernd Leno cut his teeth in the German third tier with Stuttgart’s reserve side before moving to Bayer Leverkusen in August 2011, initially on loan before signing permanently for around £6.7m. To date, he’s been capped nine times for Germany at senior level, though the likes of Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre ter Stegen present stiff competition between the sticks.

Antonio Rudiger

  • Signed for: £0
  • Sold for: £8m
  • Current club: Chelsea

After appearing to be on his way out just over a year ago, Antonio Rudiger is now the best centre-back at Chelsea and was key to them winning the Champions League under Thomas Tuchel last season, thanks in part to his ability with the ball at his feet. That is in no small part thanks to his time with Stuttgart, where he progressed through the youth ranks and became first-choice at the heart of their defence before moving on to AS Roma for £8m in 2015.

Benjamin Pavard

  • Signed for: £4.5m
  • Sold for: £31.4m
  • Current club: Bayern Munich

Scorer of one of the most satisfying goals you’ll ever see for France against Argentina during the 2018 World Cup, Benjamin Pavard has quickly established himself as one of the most reliable right-back-cum-centre-backs in Europe over the past couple of years. However, it wasn’t just his performances for France, which earned him a £31.4m move to Bayern Munich. It was also because of his role in helping Stuttgart (who he joined from Lille for just £4.5m) win the 2. Bundesliga title in 2016/17 and his adjustment to top-flight football thereafter which caught the eye.

How to Bet £10, Get £20 with Live Score:

  1. Join LiveScore Bet (here’s the link)
  2. Deposit and place a £10 bet
  3. Get two free bets*

*New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from crediting (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly.

Joshua Kimmich

  • Signed for: £600,000
  • Sold for: £6m
  • Current club: Bayern Munich

Joshua Kimmich’s path to Bayern Munich wasn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. Now a mainstay with the Bundesliga champions and German national team, Kimmich first made the grade in the Stuttgart youth academy before transferring to RB Leipzig in July 2013. Stuttgart, however, were smart enough to put a buy-back clause of around €750,000 into the deal, activating in January 2015 before immediately selling him on to Bayern for €7m. The rest, as they say, is history.

Sami Khedira

  • Signed for: £0
  • Sold for: £12.5m
  • Current club: Retired

Sami Khedira was one of the finest and, perhaps, most underrated holding midfielders in Europe over the past decade or so but for all his achievements with Real Madrid, Juventus and Germany, it’s worth remembering it all started at Stuttgart. Khedira made 22 Bundesliga appearances for Die Roten during their 2006/07 title success and remained with the club for another three seasons before departing for Los Blancos in a deal worth around £12.5m.

Serge Gnabry

  • Signed for: £0
  • Sold for: £100k
  • Current club: Bayern Munich

Would you look at that. The same Stuttgart youth team that produced Joshua Kimmich was also responsible for the development of his now-Bayern Munich teammate, Serge Gnabry. Gnabry’s path to Bayern is arguably even more convoluted than Kimmich’s. It involved failing to find success with Arsenal (who he joined from Stuttgart for just £100k in 2011), enduring a failed loan spell at West Brom and refining his touch in front of goal with Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim before finally rocking up at the Allianz Arena in 2018.

Sebastian Rudy

  • Signed for: £0
  • Sold for: £3.5m
  • Current club: Hoffenheim

Sebastian Rudy was nothing more than a bit-part player after emerging from the Stuttgart youth system and left the club in 2010, signing for Hoffenheim in a £3.5m deal. Since then, he’s also turned out for Schalke and Bayern Munich, as well as picking up 29 caps with the German national team.

Readers interested in the above William Hill betting offer can follow this link. When you sign up using promo code H30 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more, William Hill will give you 2 x £15/€15 free bets.

18+ only. Be Gamble Aware. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. Follow the link above to see full terms.

Filip Kostic

  • Signed for: £5.4m
  • Sold for: £12.5m
  • Current club: Eintracht Frankfurt

Filip Kostic is Eintracht Frankfurt’s main man, providing assists for the likes of Luka Jovic, Ante Rebic and Andre Silva over the years from the left. But let’s not forget his time in German football began with a two-season spell at Stuttgart. Kostic scored eight goals in 59 Bundesliga appearances for the club before heading to Hamburg for £12.5m in 2016. Quite the profit on the £5.4m Stuttgart paid Groningen for his services in 2014.

Timo Werner

  • Signed for: £0
  • Sold for: £9m
  • Current club: Chelsea

Yes, that was Timo Werner you spotted alongside Rudiger earlier on. The Chelsea striker made a name for himself terrorising German defences with RB Leipzig, scoring almost 100 goals with Die Roten Bullen. However, it was at Stuttgart where Werner learned the ropes, bagging a much less prolific 14 goals in 103 appearances across all competitions, although he did find himself deployed as an out-and-out winger more often in those days.

Further demonstrating Stuttgart’s clout when it comes to youth development, the likes of Sead Kolasinac and Thilo Kehrer both spent time in the club’s academy before moving on to Schalke 04, while Holger Badstuber and Mario Gomez both returned to Stuttgart after long, trophy-laden spells with the likes of Bayern Munich and Besiktas.



Sign up to the Best Football Offers

A valid email is required.

Invalid e-mail.

Yes I am over 18.
Yes, I would like to receive email updates on exciting offers from For more info on how we and our partners process your data, see Privacy and Cookie Policies.
You need to confirm that you are over 18 and that you want to receive updates.

*By subscribing you are confirming that you are over 18 years of age.

*All emails include an unsubscribe link, where you can opt out any time. *Please see our privacy and cookies policy..


Newsletter error