Szoboszlai joins RB Leipzig: The biggest names from Salzburg's production line

By Sports Desk December 17, 2020

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.

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.

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.

Related items

  • Tuchel: Chelsea facing two cup finals with Leicester Tuchel: Chelsea facing two cup finals with Leicester

    Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea face "two finals" against Leicester City over the course of four days that could do much to define their revival under his leadership.

    The Blues have been a team reborn since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard as head coach in January and Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley is their first of two shots they have at silverware – the other coming in the Champions League final against Manchester City in Porto at the end of this month.

    Chelsea and Leicester will reconvene on Tuesday with qualification for next season's Champions League still on the line, especially after contrasting fortunes in their most recent fixtures.

    Leicester won 2-1 at Manchester United to move ahead of Chelsea in fourth, who went down to a lacklustre 1-0 derby loss at home to Arsenal.

    Liverpool, who also beat United in their match at Old Trafford on Thursday, could be one point behind Chelsea by the time Tuchel's men are back in league action and he lamented his team's failure to be "decisive" in the Arsenal game.

    "Obviously I cannot judge it," he said when asked which game was more important. "These are two finals and we do not think about anything else but the two finals.

    "It's a final for the cup, it's a final for the top four. We missed a chance against Arsenal to be decisive and now we have to cope with it – first of all to show a reaction at Wembley and have the upper hand when it comes to Tuesday."

    Tuchel took his share of the blame immediately after Emile Smith Rowe was gifted the only goal by a dire Jorginho backpass at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, and he conceded his irritation at the result had not quite subsided.

    "'I still have a hangover from the last defeat, it's always like this. I'm a bit more in angry mode, not at myself or the players but because of the result and the opportunity we missed," he explained.

    "I will hopefully transform that to a good preparation and push the team to the edge to play sharp. We have to show a reaction, it's the FA Cup final at Wembley.

    "I am fully focused to prepare my team better than two days ago."

    On Thursday, the Champions League final was relocated from Istanbul to Porto due to Turkey being on the UK government's "red list" for travel in relation to COVID-19 restrictions.

    Tuchel insists his squad should not be paying any attention to an eagerly anticipated fixture still two weeks away.

    "I'm happy to go to Porto, I'm happy to go to a final. That's the easy answer - I would go anywhere to play a final," he said.

    "But right now the bigger challenge is to forget the Champions League final and to be fully focused on our two finals that are ahead of us.

    "We cannot lose one percentage of concentration and focus. We did this the last game against Arsenal and we got punished for it. Lesson learned and well accepted."

    Kepa Arrizabalaga will keep his place at Wembley as Chelsea's cup goalkeeper and Tuchel confirmed Mateo Kovacic was fit to feature again after a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

    "It's huge because Mateo has everything we need in the midfield," he added. 'Experience, power, he can beat players, he has physical ability and has played big games in the Premier League. 

    "When we missed N'Golo [Kante] and Mateo, we lacked a lot of quality, energy and experience.

    "Billy [Gilmour] did a huge job in huge games but it's not fair to compare him to these players because they have more experience and are a step ahead in their development. 

    "It's big news that [Kovacic] is back because he's a big guy in the dressing room around important matches."

  • Klopp 'completely relaxed' over Mane handshake snub Klopp 'completely relaxed' over Mane handshake snub

    Jurgen Klopp will talk to Sadio Mane about his post-match handshake snub at Old Trafford but the Liverpool boss says the incident is being blown out of proportion.

    Mane was named among the substitutes for the Reds' clash with fierce rivals Manchester United on Thursday and replaced Diogo Jota in the second half of a 4-2 Premier League win.

    The Senegal forward was clearly not impressed that he had been dropped to the bench, heading for the tunnel with his back to Klopp when the Liverpool boss went for a handshake on the pitch at full-time.

    Klopp revealed that he had not explained to the former Southampton man why he was not in the starting line-up prior to the match.

    The German reiterated on Friday that he would speak to Mane but did not take the snub personally.

    He said in a press conference ahead of Sunday's trip to West Brom: "I cannot make a bigger story of it as it is.

    "Football is an emotional game and everybody expects us to control our emotions always. It doesn't work out always, that's the case. It happened to me as a player, it happened to other players when I was their coach.

    "So far we've had no real chance to talk about it, but we will and everything will be fine. Do we want these things to happen? No, but it's not the first time in my life and I'm afraid to say it probably will not be the last time, so that's it."

    Klopp added: "If somebody shows me respect five million times and one time not, what is more important?

    "The world is in difficult situation where you make this one time bigger than necessary, that is unfortunately the case and I hope for you your boss will not forget if you one time don't show respect, that he then doesn't forget all the other stuff.

    "I'm completely relaxed about it, if you would have seen me as a player what I did out of emotion, it was insane and I'm a completely normal guy. If nothing else, we will talk about it and it will be sorted."

    Victory for Liverpool at The Hawthorns this weekend would leave them just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to go in the battle for Champions League qualification.

  • Lingard named Premier League Player of the Month as fine loan spell continues Lingard named Premier League Player of the Month as fine loan spell continues

    Jesse Lingard has been named the Premier League Player of the Month for April, winning the award after also being nominated in February and March.

    The attacking midfielder has thrived since joining West Ham on loan from Manchester United.

    Lingard scored four goals and added an assist in four appearances over the course of the month as West Ham continued their push for a European place.

    He has nine goals and three assists in 13 Premier League outings for West Ham so far since joining, having been out of the picture under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the first half of the season at Old Trafford.

    The fine form he has shown earned Lingard an England recall in March.

    Mason Greenwood was one of the other members of an eight-man shortlist which also contained Trent Alexander-Arnold, Stuart Dallas, Kelechi Iheanacho, Matheus Pereira, Allan Saint-Maximin and Chris Wood.

    "I've been nominated for the past two months and even getting nominated is a great feeling for me," said Lingard, who recently received praise from Bruno Fernandes when the United playmaker labelled him the top-flight's best player over the past 10 games.

    "I want to be up there as the best I can be and the best in the world.

    "David Moyes has shown faith and given me the freedom in each game to go and perform."

    Meanwhile, Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is April's manager of the month.

    He beat Sam Allardyce, Marcelo Bielsa and Solskjaer to the award after a month which saw Newcastle draw with Liverpool and Tottenham while recording wins over Burnley and West Ham.

    It was a run of form that secured Newcastle's Premier League safety.

    Bruce won the award for the first time after 19 years and 465 matches in the competition.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.