As every Bundesliga club scours the market for players to strengthen their squad or to replace outgoing players ahead of the new season, RB Leipzig have emerged as one of the teams to have had a particularly successful transfer window this summer. Have the Roten Bullen got their transfer business spot on?
Having defended their DFB Pokal title last season and enjoyed a great Rückrunde to finish third and gain renewed Champions League qualification, RB Leipzig will once again be considered one of the main challengers to Bayern Munich in next season’s Bundesliga title race. The club moved mountains last season to install Max Eberl as sporting director and the current transfer window is showing just why as he has brought in a raft of quality players to soften the blow following the departures of key players.
The loss of Konrad Laimer to Bayern was sealed last season, but the summer interval has also seen the expected sale of top scorer Christopher Nkunku to Chelsea and midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai to Liverpool. Josko Gvardiol is also being heavily linked with a move to Manchester City and that would make four key first-teamers to have left the club.
The mood in Saxony is however still optimistic with trainer Marco Rose having signed a new extended contract and the club having signed seven players to date that all look to be highly promising acquisitions.
The arrival of Benjamin Šeško from Red Bull Salzburg was agreed last season and the 20-year-old Slovenian is considered one of the most exciting attacking talents in Europe. Leipzig paid €24 million. Having scored 21 goals in 55 league appearances for the Austrian giants, it is hoped he will become the latest player to take his game to the next level following his move from one Red Bull camp to another. Following him from Salzburg is midfielder Nicolas Seiwald, who is seen as a direct replacement for his compatriot Konrad Laimer. Just like Laimer, the 22-year-old is a combative midfielder, who can drop deep defensively, but also advance into a central role, where his forward bursts can hurt the opposition.
A club record fee has also been paid to RC Lens for Belgian striker Lois Openda. Leipzig had to part with €43 million to get the man they wanted to fill the Nkunku-sized hole in their forward line. He burst onto the scene last season after his 21 goals fired Lens to the runners-up spot in Ligue 1. His goals earned him a place in Belgium’s World Cup squad and he looks raring to go to unleash his pace and finishing on the Bundesliga. The midfield has also been strengthened by the arrival of Christoph Baumgartner from Hoffenheim for €24 million. At 23, he has already established himself as a Bundesliga talent and was a key player in Sinsheim.
The club have also signed a highly-rated youngster in defender El Chadaille Bitshiabu from Paris St. Germain. He is widely considered to be one of the most talented centre backs of his generation in Europe and reinforced this by helping France win the U-17 European Championships in 2022 (alongside Bayern Munich striker Mathys Tel). The potential loss of Josko Gvardiol will be a blow, but one that could potentially be lessened should Bitshiabu fulfil his massive potential.
The club have also made two very shrewd loan signing of hugely talented youngsters with a lot of potential to shine. Liverpool’s Fabio Carvalho has come in alongside PSG ‘wunderkind’ Xavi Simons, who spent last season at PSV Eindhoven.
Leipzig are also being linked with 20-year-old Lyon defender Castello Lukeba, who would cost around €30 million. The player and the club are reportedly in agreement, it is now up to the two clubs to work out a deal should Gvardiol depart the Red Bull Arena.
All in all, Leipzig look to have successfully compensated for the loss of Laimer, Nkunku and Szoboszlai with their summer signings and go into the season with an air of optimism. The speed with which the new arrivals settle into the league will be key, but the new wave certainly look an exciting prospect.