Dominik Szoboszlai is the latest highly rated player to make the move from Salzburg to one of Europe’s major leagues.
RB Leipzig – not for the first time, given their links to the Austrian side – are the beneficiaries, with the Hungary playmaker, who has starred for both club and country this season, joining the Bundesliga team on a four-and-a-half deal.
The 20-year-old had long been tipped to leave Salzburg following his exploits for the Austrian champions, with a host of Serie A clubs, Real Madrid and Arsenal all linked with a move for the midfielder, who could make his Leipzig debut against Borussia Dortmund on January 9.
Szoboszlai has scored four goals and created six more across 11 appearances in the Austrian Bundesliga this season for Salzburg, and is another star name to come off the club’s production line of talent, which has included the likes of Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.
Indeed, Haaland was the focus of much attention this time last year as he elected to switch Salzburg for Dortmund, where he has gone from strength to strength.
Providing players with regular Champions League football to showcase their talents, Salzburg, with an extensive scouting network and a clear pathway to one of Europe’s biggest leagues, are quickly becoming one of the most attractive clubs for youngsters to learn their trade.
Using Opta data, we have looked at how some of the biggest names to have had stints at Salzburg have fared after moving on.
The 20-year-old signs a contract until June 2025 and will wear the number 17 shirt pic.twitter.com/tUakiN8zul
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) December 17, 2020
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
It has been some breakthrough for Norway striker Haaland, who joined Salzburg from Molde in 2018. He made just two league appearances for his new team in 2018-19, scoring once, but last term he transformed into a goalscoring machine.
Haaland netted 28 times in 26 appearances across all competitions, with Dortmund fending off interest from Manchester United to secure his signature last year. The move has paid off, and then some, with Haaland scoring 23 Bundesliga goals from as many games in Germany’s top flight. That tally is bettered only by Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (30) in the same timeframe, with Haaland averaging a goal every 74.5 minutes.
Sadio Mane (Southampton, Liverpool)
Mane’s path from Salzburg to a Champions League and Premier League winner came via Southampton. Having joined Salzburg from Metz, the Senegal star moved to England in 2014 when he reportedly forced his way out of the club by refusing to attend training or matches.
Southampton paid a reported £11.8million fee for the winger, who thrived under now-Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman, scoring 21 goals and providing a further nine assists in 67 Premier League games. Eyebrows were raised when Liverpool paid big money to sign him in 2016, but Mane has become one of the leading forwards in world football, netting 67 league goals for the Reds (with 66 coming inside the area) and creating 215 chances.
25 – Sadio Mané was directly involved in 25 goals in the Premier League last term (18 goals and seven assists); his most in a single campaign in the competition. Prime. #PFAawards pic.twitter.com/i1eOQognqZ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 4, 2020
Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
Like Szoboszlai, several other players have switched straight from Salzburg to Leipzig, including Dayot Upamecano, who has asserted himself as one of the most promising defenders in Europe.
The France international is rapid and strong, while his ability on the ball has been a huge facet to Leipzig’s play under Julian Nagelsmann. This season, he has a tackle success rate of 91.7 per cent in the Bundesliga, winning 11 of 12 attempted. The 22-year-old may not be at the club much longer, but any transfer will bring a significant fee for the Germans.
Naby Keita (RB Leipzig, Liverpool)
Another to end up at Liverpool is Naby Keita. The all-action midfielder was one of the most dynamic players in the Bundesliga during his debut season in 2016-17, scoring eight league goals and making the team of the season.
It prompted Liverpool to pay a reported £48m, with Keita joining a year later, though he has so far been unable to stay consistently fit for Jurgen Klopp’s team. The Reds’ number eight has managed just four goals and four assists from 49 Premier League appearances, while his tackle success rate of 41.4 per cent is nothing to shout about.
Takumi Minamino (Liverpool)
Liverpool elected to cut out the middleman when they went for Minamino last January, bringing in the Japan forward for a modest £7.25m due to a release clause in his Salzburg contract. Signed as versatile cover for Liverpool’s front three, Minamino is still yet to find his feet on Merseyside and is has not scored or got an assist in the Premier League.
The stunning start to Diogo Jota’s Liverpool career has made things even more difficult, though with the Portugal forward out injured, Minamino may now have the chance to stake his claim at Anfield.