The transfer windows in Germany and Austria came to a close last week, which means that Red Bull’s golden eggs can no longer be poached. In a summer filled with incomings, outgoings and plenty of speculation, let’s take a look at how each club got on.
Red Bull Salzburg
In: Jasper van der Werff (St. Gallen), Jérôme Onguéné (Stuttgart), Erling Braut Håland (Molde), Darko Todorović (Sloboda Tuzla), Zlatko Junuzović (Werder Bremen), Kilian Ludewig (RB Leipzig), Philipp Köhn (RB Leipzig).
Out: Valon Berisha (Lazio), Duje Ćaleta-Car (Olympique Marseille), Dimitri Oberlin (Basel), David Atanga (Greuther Fürth, loan), Michael Brandner (Wiener Neustadt), Marco Djuricin (Grasshoppers), Igor Julio (Austria Vienna, loan), Majeed Ashimeru (St. Gallen, loan), Youba Diarra (Hartberg, loan), Mathias Honsak (Holstein Kiel, loan), Luca Meisl (St. Pölten, loan), Hwang Hee-chan (Hamburg, loan), Masaya Okugawa (Holstein Kiel, loan)
Having reached last season’s Europa League semi-final, Red Bull Salzburg would have anticipated the onslaught they faced this summer as clubs looked to pry away their highly-coveted jewels. Despite losing Valon Berisha to Lazio and Duje Ćaleta-Car to Europa League runners-up Olympique Marseille, the club did extremely well to fight off some of Europe’s elite, and RB Leipzig, to keep their squad together, and were even able to tie Amadou Haidara, Diadie Samassékou and Marco Rose to new contracts.
In accompaniment to the acquisitions of Jasper van der Werff, Kilian Ludewig, Darko Todorović, Philipp Köhn and former Werder Bremen captain Zlatko Junuzović, Salzburg once again showcased their prowess in the market, enticing Norweigan prodigy Erling Braut Håland to the Red Bull Arena from Molde, beating the likes of Manchester United and Juventus to the 18-year-olds signature. He will join the Salzburg ranks once the Eliteserien season comes to its conclusion at the end of November.
The one piece of criticism that could be had is the lack of reinforcement at left-back. Last season Andreas Ulmer was the only recognised player in this position, which meant he featured in 49 games, 79% of Red Bull Salzburg’s 62 matches for the campaign. For someone his age and the role he plays, this is unsustainable and could cause future issues, so it was a surprise that the club chose not to replace Mathias Honsak when he packed his bags and headed to Holstein Kiel for the season in July.
In: Marcelo Saracchi (River Plate), Nordi Mukiele (Montpellier), Matheus Cunha (Sion).
Out: Bernardo (Brighton & Hove Albion), Benno Schmitz (Cologne), Philipp Köhn (Red Bull Salzburg), Anthony Jung (Brøndby), Agyemang Diawusie (Ingolstadt 04), Zsolt Kalmár (Dunajská Streda), Vitaly Janelt (Bochum), Felix Beiersdorf (Meuselwitz, loan), Omar Damari (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Dominik Kaiser (Brøndby), Elias Abouchabaka (Greuther Fürth, loan), Massimo Bruno (Royal Charleroi).
RB Leipzig’s summer was a contrast of their sister’s across the border. Entering the window the squad was already concerningly thin, now it’s even thinner, with just 19 outfield first-team players at their disposal and three competitions to compete in. It’s a recipe for disaster.
It was announced at the start of last season that Naby Keïta would be joining his boyhood club, Liverpool, this summer, yet in the time between the announcement and his departure, no replacement was signed. The club was too focused on Red Bull Salzburg’s Amadou Haidara that a failed last-minute attempt for Sebastian Rudy left them empty-handed. Same applies to the case of Ademola Lookman. After a successful six-month stint in Leipzig, the club had their hearts set on the 20-year-old and spend months pursuing him as their confidence of reclaiming him was high, but to no prevail. Astonishingly, in the meantime, the club were unable to find alternatives, which has left Ralf Rangnick with insufficient cards to play with. In the end, it was a summer chasing traffic.
On a positive note, despite spending a vast percentage of the budget on the trio, RB Leipzig made clever signings in Matheus Cunha, who has already shown what he can bring to the table, Marcelo Saracchi and Nordi Mukiele. However, the latter’s life at his new club has got off to a rocky start as he disobeyed fitness orders, which lead to an early stint on the treatment table, seeing him subsequently fall down the pecking order.
New York Red Bulls
In: Andreas Ivan (Waldhof Manneheim), Brian White (New York Red Bulls II).
Out: Carlos Rivas (Atlético Nacional).
Going into the summer, New York Red Bulls fans were hoping the club would sign a third designated player; someone that would be the difference maker in tight play-off matches and help the team towards to an elusive MLS Cup. Some rumors indicated the club were prepared to spend an eight-figure sum on Ignacio Pussetto, an Argentine winger from Huracán. However, nothing came to fruition.
The Red Bulls maintained their philosophy of signing low-risk, high-reward players that fit their pressing system, with two players being signed during the transfer window: Andreas Ivan and Brian White. Ivan most recently played in the fourth tier of Germany with Waldhof Mannheim, but prior to his move to New York, he terminated a trial with Hamburg, despite a rumoured contract offer. Brian White was signed from the USL squad, where he scored eight in 22 appearances. In January the Red Bulls chose him in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, and his impressive performances in the USL was rewarded with a MLS contract.
The biggest story of the summer was Jesse Marsch’s move to RB Leipzig, with the 44-year-old leaving his post at an important stage in the season. He had been preparing for a move to Europe for some time, attending multiple UEFA coaching courses throughout the 2017 campaign. However, the most persistent story was of Tyler Adams’ potential reunion with his former coach in Leipzig. Reports out of the United States revealed that Adams had been in talks with RB Leipzig for months, with the initial story suggesting that he would move to Saxony in the summer and be loaned back for the remainder of the MLS season. Most recent reports said that Leipzig wanted the move to happen before the window closed. But in the end, nothing happened. – Written by Tomas Leonardo.
In: Abdourahmane Barry* (Paris Saint-Germain), David Schnegg (Wattens), Ousmane Diakité* (Yeelen Olympique), Karim Adeyemi* (Unterhatching). *Signed by Red Bull Salzburg
Out: Bartłomiej Żynel (Wisła Płock), Emir Karic (Rheindorf Altach), Maximilian Schuster (Schalding), Nicolas Meister (Juniors OÖ), Nico Gorzel (Wiener Neustadt), Juhani Pikkarainen (Wacker Innsbruck II), Daniel Hautzinger (Floridsdorf), Julian Gölles (Weiner Neustadt), Bojan Lugonja (Ried), Martin Pajaczkowski (Floridsdorf).
As usual, there was a lot of movement in the Liefering camp this summer as players made the next step in their careers, whether it be a promotion to Red Bull Salzburg or a move to pastures new. Therefore, a lot came through the academy ranks, while some joined the club, signing cooperation contracts. Regarding those who fit the latter, it hasn’t been the best of starts to the campaign. Signing from Paris Saint-Germain under-19, Abdourahmane Barry has struggled to adapt to life in the 2. Liga and has looked out of place, while Karim Adeyemi, who was attracting interest from Liverpool and RB Leipzig before his move to Salzburg, had to wait until the sixth game to make his debut as he awaited clearance from FIFA. Liefering’s sole acquisition David Schnegg, who came from Wattens to fill the void at left-back vacated by Emir Karic’s departure and Gideon Mensah’s injury, is yet to make an impact at his new club and sent off in last week’s 1-0 defeat to Austria Lustenau.