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Mane, Kimmich, Haaland – Five of the best players developed at Red Bull clubs

Premier League sides hoping to sign the precocious talents of Dominik Szoboszlai have been left disappointed following the midfielder’s move to RB Leipzig, the youngster choosing to continue his development under Red Bull’s umbrella of clubs.

Szoboszlai has gained attention following a number of outstanding performances for Red Bull Salzburg, being named as the Austrian Bundesliga’s Player of the Season last year to attract interest from the likes of Arsenal and Bayern Munich.


The Hungary international will instead join Salzburg’s sister-club next month in a deal worth a reported €25m with many predicting the 20-year-old will be the latest superstar to flourish under Red Bull’s network of talent.

The energy drink brand have invested hugely into the game over the past decade and now own a succession of clubs, including now Champions League regulars in Salzburg and Leipzig.

Following confirmation of Szoboszlai’s move to Leipzig we’ve decided to look at some of the finest talents to have emerged from a fascinating scouting network, here are five of the best players developed at Red Bull clubs:

Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane was signed by Red Bull Salzburg from Metz as a relatively unheralded talent in 2012, the youngster having impressed during the summer Olympics for Senegal before arriving in Austria for a fee of £3.6m.

It was a fee that raised eyebrows and one that was Metz’s third-highest ever sale behind only Robert Pires and Miralem Pjanic, though Salzburg’s show of faith would be rewarded following Mane’s huge impact with the club.

The winger scored 45 goals in just 87 appearances over a little more than two seasons, winning an Austrian league and cup double during his second campaign before deciding on pastures new.

Southampton secured the signing of the Senegal international in a deal that saw Salzburg almost quadruple their investment, with Mane spending two impressive seasons on the South Coast and scoring the Premier League’s fastest ever hat-trick for the Saints – his treble against Aston Villa coming in just 2 minutes and 56 seconds.

Destined for a bigger stage, however, Mane became the first major signing of Jurgen Klopp’s reign at Liverpool after arriving on Merseyside in a £34m deal, where he has since flourished into one of the finest footballers on the planet.

Mane’s scintillating speed, work-ethic and wing wizardry have helped transform the Reds into one of Europe’s leading sides, winning the Champions League and Premier League amongst his major honours.

Mane finished as the joint-leading scorer in the Premier League during the 2018/19 season before starring as Liverpool ended a three decade wait for league title success the following year, his performances seeing him named as the Premier League’s Player of the Season.

There are few more captivating players in the world game than the reigning African Footballer of the Year, one of the Premier League’s shining lights and player nurtured in Salzburg.

Joshua Kimmich

Part of a collection of Stuttgart academy graduates currently thriving in the German national side, an ambitious RB Leipzig made their move for a teenage Kimmich amid the promise of regular first-team football.

Kimmich signed for Leipzig with the club then in Germany’s third tier and flourished when exposed to senior football, helping the club to promotion and racking up more than 50 appearances before turning 20.

Stuttgart had inserted a buy-back clause into the deal, however, and once Bayern Munich became interested the club activated the return of Kimmich before selling him on for a quick profit to the Bavarian giants.

What looked like a quick money-making scheme for Stuttgart now looks like a huge oversight, the €7m fee paid by Bayern proving an absolute bargain for a player amongst the most unique talents in the game.

Kimmich is amongst a select few players world-class in multiple positions, having spent his career fluctuating between right-back, centre-back and in midfield, the latter perhaps his strongest role given his ability to snuff out attacks and play penetrative passes.

Still just 25-years-old, Kimmich has won five consecutive Bundesliga titles since signing for Bayern and was a key player in the German’s treble-winning campaign last season, providing the assist for Kingsley Coman’s goal as Paris Saint-Germain were beaten in the Champions League final.

Already a leader for both club and country, Kimmich has the talent to become the best German footballer of a generation.

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland burst onto the scene as part of a vibrant Red Bull Salzburg team in last season’s Champions League, the forward enjoying a record-breaking start to his career on club football’s biggest stage.

Haaland began his career with hometown club Bryne FK and came through the ranks at the Norwegian outfit, before moving to Molde and working alongside now Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The teenager burst onto the scene with Molde to score 16 goals and be named as Norways’s Breakthrough Player of the Year, attracting the attention of Red Bull Salzburg who moved to make the star the latest exciting addition to their burgeoning ranks.

Haaland made just five appearances over his first half season in Austria, before announcing himself to world football in spectacular style during the 2019/20 campaign, including netting a hat-trick on his Champions League debut.

Haaland scored an incredible 28 goals in just 22 appearances for Salzburg over the opening months of the season, scoring five hat-tricks and becoming the first teenager to score in each of their first five appearances in the Champions League.

Europe’s leading clubs were soon scrambling for his signature and it was Borussia Dortmund who won the race for the youngster, who quickly rubbished suggestions he may need time to adjust to the step-up in quality.

Haaland exploded with a hat-trick on his debut as a substitute and scored a staggering 16 goals in his first 18 appearances for Dortmund, before continuing that rich vein of form into the current campaign.

Named as winner of the 2020 Golden Boy as Europe’s best player aged under 21, Haaland has now amassed a ridiculous record of 33 goals in 32 appearances for Dortmund, in addition to netting six times in just seven caps for Norway.

Rumours persist of a £63m release clause in his Dortmund contract that will become active in 2022, a bargain fee for a player seemingly set to be the finest forward of the next decade.

Timo Werner

Another player plucked from Stuttgart, Leipzig spent €10m to secure the services of Timo Werner from their German rivals following the forward’s impressive breakthrough, becoming the youngest ever player and goalscorer in the club’s history.

Werner racked up over a century of appearances for Stuttgart before making the move to Leipzig, where he swiftly became one of the most exciting attacking talents in the Bundesliga.

Werner thrived as the spearhead of an ambitious newly-promoted side and scored 21 goals in all competitions during his debut campaign, firing the club to a runners-up finish in their first ever season in Germany’s top tier.

The goals continued to flow for the star who finished as Leipzig’s leading scorer in each of his four seasons at the Red Bull Arena, his 95 goals in just 159 appearances an all-time club record.

Werner’s goalscoring record attracted interest from elsewhere and he moved to the Premier League with Chelsea during the summer, netting Leipzig a hefty profit after completing a £47.5m switch to Stamford Bridge.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed a solid start to his career with the west London outfit and has netted eight times in all competitions so far, whilst he has scored 15 goals in 35 appearances for Germany and won the Golden Boot during their victorious Confederations Cup campaign in 2017.

Dayot Upamecano

The sole player on this list still under the Red Bull umbrella, Dayot Upamecano is another starlet predicted to move on to big things in the near future.

Upamecano came through the youth ranks at Valenciennes FC before signing for Red Bull Salzburg as a teenager, though spent just one season with the Austrians before following the well-trodden path to RB Leipzig.

The centre-back has risen rapidly since moving to the Bundesliga and has played a key part in Leipzig’s recent successes, including forming part of the side which reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019/20.

Upamecano is an imposing figure with recovery pace and the athleticism to match any forward, whilst his ability in possession has seen him comfortably step into midfield and linked with several of Europe’s superpowers.

The 22-year-old earned his first senior caps for France earlier this year and netted a first international goal against Croatia, with Bayern Munich believed to be leading the chase for a player who has attracted significant Premier League interest.

Signed for just €10m almost four years ago, he is seemingly set to become the latest player to earn the Germans a money-spinning profit and joins the likes of Marcel Sabitzer, Hwang Hee-Chan and Konrad Laimer amongst the many names to have swapped Salzburg for Leipzig in recent years.

Read – Five of the Premier League’s most misunderstood players

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