Sixteen goals and six assists in fourteen appearances. That was Erling Haaland’s record in the half-season for Red Bull Salzburg that preceded his move to Borussia Dortmund. Such numbers are almost impossible to duplicate, but a duo have collectively taken up the burden since his departure (and Patson Daka’s subsequent move to Leicester City).
Karim Adeyemi and Benjamin Šeško have both been linked with transfers to Liverpool, and it’s not hard to see why. Each have made 16 appearances this season, and between the two of them they’ve managed 17 goals and five assists. It’s impossible not to notice the similarities with Haaland’s record — the Norwegian is so good that he could post those numbers on his own, but the strike force that has emerged in his absence still has a lot going for it.
Adeyemi has been the subject of the more persistent transfer links of late. As such, Liverpool fans may be a little more acquainted with his particular gifts. A pacey customer with quick feet, he has been winning penalties for fun in the Champions League so far. His antics have won him the Player of the Match award in both games. He also scored on his recent Germany debut: his star is rising rapidly, and with it his potential transfer fee.
It is believed that around £25 million would be enough to get the deal for Adeyemi done. The more prolific of the Red Bull Salzburg partnership, he has scored 11 times in his 16 games across all competitions this season. Particularly given his newfound international pedigree, the quoted transfer fee seems somewhat on the cheap side. There are always concerns in terms of adapting to a better league, but Adeyemi’s form in the Champions League and for Germany somewhat allays these fears. In any case, the path from Salzburg to a top club is certainly one Haaland trod with some success.
Figures are a little more vague when it comes to Šeško, but £40 million for the pair seems about right. Bear in mind that Haaland himself was allowed to leave for just £18 million back in January of last year. Stylistically, Šeško is probably the more similar of the duo to his Norwegian predecessor. Still only 18, the Slovenian stands at 6”4, boasting the same imposing physical characteristics as Haaland. Like Adeyemi, he also made his international debut this year, becoming his country’s youngest ever debutant.
AS reports that Liverpool, Man City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are all “very interested” in Šeško. That’s some tough competition to fend off, but FSG are known to want to refresh the front line — raiding Red Bull Salzburg for a prolific pair of teenagers would not be the worst move in the world. Šeško, for his part, has netted seven goals and provided three assists so far this season.
Liverpool also have an affinity with the Red Bull stable of clubs. While the signings of Naby Keïta and Takumi Minamino have not necessarily gone to plan, Red Bull Salzburg graduate Sadio Mané has been a roaring success at Anfield. The club returned to Red Bull this summer to buy Ibrahima Konaté; the Frenchman clearly cannot be assessed yet, but the transfer alone shows the eagerness of the recruitment department to buy from within the energy drink giant’s football empire.
The double transfer swoop may well be a stretch too far for Liverpool, with both players in such high demand. However, given the pre-existing relationship between the clubs, they could be well-placed to secure the signature of at least one of these top talents: Adeyemi and Šeško are not Erling Haaland, but they could well be stars of the future.
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