RB Leipzig have been very active in the summer transfer window with hopes of challenging established German giants in the Bundesliga, and other massive clubs in European competitions. After receiving generous fees from player sales of key squad members, RB Leipzig have been able to make ample signings. With the departures of Christopher Nkunku and Dominik Szoboszlai, RB Leipzig has numerous holes to fill in their squad.
Marco Rose and the rest of the board have done a fantastic job navigating this window and making key signings that they can develop into the next crop of superstars. At the core of RB Leipzig’s identity is youth development and in this transfer window, Leipzig has targeted young emerging talent.
Two main goals are evident in this window, bolstering the defense in hopes of providing more squad depth for the variety of competitions RB Leipzig will be involved in this year. Secondly, in the Bundesliga, RB Leipzig only managed to score 64 goals, the two teams ahead of them finished with 92 and 83 goals respectively. By adding young attacking firepower to the squad, Leipzig looks to be able to add to their goal tally.
Depending on the rest of the window, RB Leipzig could look to make further signings bolstering their defense depending on if Manchester City can land his signature. If they manage to, they will be receiving an influx of cash, which can be used on signing a seasoned veteran, or, in RB Leipzig fashion, signing a young talent looking to make a mark.
In this article, I will provide detailed information on each of the summer signings and departures as well as individuals who have potentially been targeted by RB Leipzig as well as what still needs to be addressed by the club to help RB Leipzig achieve their goals, both domestically and on the European stage.
After a standout season at RC Lens (helping them to a second-place finish behind Parisian giants PSG in Ligue 1, Openda made the move to the Red Bull Arena for €43 million. Openda offers a multitude of attacking attributes to Marco Rose, as he possesses the ability to play as a striker or an attacking mid/”shadow striker.” This transfer serves as a replacement for Christopher Nkunku who departed for Chelsea this summer.
If Leipzig is hoping to boost their attack, scoring goals is crucial and this is something that Openda can certainly provide. In 38 games in the French league last season, he had 21 goals and 4 assists. The Belgian averages .72 Non-Penalty Goals per 90 as well as 3.68 shots per 90 according to FBRef. These statistics highlight the raw scoring potential Openda offers and is perfect to help Leipzig catch up to their Bundesliga competitors.
Standing at 6 foot 4 inches or 193 cm, Benjamin Sesko could be next in a wave of tall, lengthy strikers hoping to cement their mark on world football. Joining from RB Leipzig’s sister club FC RB Salzburg for €24 million in the Austrian Bundesliga, Sesko hopes to be the next to thrive for Leipzig. Last season, Sesko made 30 appearances, scoring 16 goals and assisting 4. During his time at Salzburg, many were proclaiming him to be the next Erling Haaland and the comparisons are rightly deserved. Both are extremely tall and muscular yet very explosive individuals. Sesko has an extremely high motor which aids his team at pressing and winning the ball back high up the pitch.
Despite his frame and the many assets that he brings, Sesko struggles with hold-up play and a transition to the Bundesliga, which is a very physical league, could prove challenging. There will be lots of competition for Sesko as Leipzig has an abundance of attacking depth. Fortunately, Leipzig will be playing in numerous competitions this season, and in order to do well in these competitions, squad depth will be essential. Sesko will need to use the limited playing time he may get in the early season to impress Rose and earn further opportunities.
An exciting player who can play anywhere in the attack, midfield, or out wide, Baumgartner provides RB Leipzig with a versatile piece to fill out squad depth. Joining from TSV 1899 Hoffenheim for €24 million, the 23-year-old is an exciting attacking piece who can help replace the goals and assists that are leaving with the departure of Szoboszlai and Nkunku. Originally a center-attacking midfielder, Baumgartner has been increasingly used as a forward for Hoffenheim.
The midfielder scored 7 goals and assisted 3 times this season which was 20 percent of the goal contributions Hoffenheim scored this season (48 in total). For Leipzig, Baumgartner could be a perfect replacement for Christopher Nkunku who thrived in the shadow striker role, one that perfectly suits Christopher Baumgartner.
With the departure of Konrad Laimer to Bundesliga giant Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig replaced him with another Austrian midfielder. The 22-year-old is a seamless replacement for Laimer, a younger player with the same attributes and build should offer a seamless transition. Seiwald, like many other Leipzig players, comes from RB Salzburg, for €20 million and he shares many of the same ideals and tactical identity as Leipzig.
The club is built on pressing and Seiwald is amazing in this regard, according to FBRef, he averages 3.46 tackles and 2.05 blocks per match. He will be a defensive rock in the midfield, however, he is also always willing to join in the attack and provide assists, and he will be crucial to play behind the shadow striker in Leipzig’s 4-2-3-1.
El Chadaille Bitshaibu
El Chadaille Butchaibu joins Marco Rose’s squad from PSG for €15 million in hopes of becoming the next center back to flourish at Leipzig. The 18-year-old featured 13 times last season for PSG towards the end of their campaign and this move is in search of further game time. While a starting spot isn’t guaranteed in this move as Willi Orban and Mohamed Simakan are likely to start ahead of him depending on the status of Josko Gvardiol following his groin surgery although he has been rumored to be a target of Manchester City.
Bitshaibu hopes to develop his gameplay even further, currently, he excels as a ball-playing center-back and is extremely composed in possession. While primarily playing in the center back role, it appears Leipzig will use him as a left back as well, which is where he played in a friendly vs Udinese.
His length and size make him a fantastic defender and he is amazing in the tackle. Bitshaibu loves to make forward runs and progress into the midfield. In the past, Leipzig have used center defenders out wide, and it seems as this will continue this year as Leipzig has lost squad depth in the role with the departures of Angelino and Marcel Halstenburg. So, Bitshaibu can offer depth for David Raum as well as play in the middle of the pitch.
The Dutch sensation joins Leipzig on loan from PSG in hopes of continuing to build momentum on the amazing season he had last season at PSV. Simons may serve as the perfect replacement for Christopher Nkunku in the shadow striker position in a 4-2-3-1. The goal contributions Simons offers to Leipzig are exactly what they need to replace the numbers Nkunku and Szobalsia were able to produce.
Simons will be a key determinant of the success of Leipzig and will flourish in Rose’s system. Simons has a relentless motor and loves to press, as seen at PSV, allowing him to effortlessly transition into Leipzig’s style of play. The 20-year-old has no ceiling and a season in the Bundesliga (where the competition is greater) while also playing in the Champions League will provide valuable experience for a young star.
Joining on loan from Liverpool FC, Fabio Carvalho is another versatile playmaker looking to gain valuable experience at Leipzig before returning to Anfield. The 20-year-old is another player who is able to play as a center attacking mid, or out wide. Carvalho’s vision paired with his passing ability make him an amazing playmaker for any side. His pace, ball control, and skillfulness also allow him to play out wide, showcasing his versatility.
In the limited appearances Carvalho received this season he did extremely well, averaging .25 goals per game which placed him in the 98th percentile compared to other midfielders. This goal-scoring ability, along with his deadly passing ability, make Carvalho a handful for any defense. Coming from Liverpool FC, pressing is ingrained in Carvalho’s psyche which should allow for a seamless transition to Leipzig’s style of play. Look for Carvalho to thrive given more minutes.
Returning from a successful loan at Valencia, Iliax Moriba is hoping to break into the Leipzig squad. The defensive midfielder excelled in the 24 appearances he made last season in a very young Valencia side. At only 20, Moriba’s career has had drama surrounding it ever since his departure from Barcelona. A move to Leipzig was shrouded with so much promise yet, he was never able to see minutes in any game.
On loan at Valencia, Moriba has revitalized his career and following the end of the loan, he hopes his services are able to help RB Leipzig. Whether or not Moriba plays at Leipzig next season or elsewhere in Europe, he will continue to make steps to becoming the dynamic midfielder he had expected to be.
Departing for Liverpool at 22, the Hungarian is looking to help the Reds improve on a 5th-place finish which, without a late push could have been a lot worse. Szoboszlai, along with the signing of Alexis McAllister, looks to help fix Liverpool’s midfield problems, which became very apparent last season. He joins the Reds for €70 million and is able to play as a center-attacking midfielder or out wide.
With the departure of Jordan Henderson and James Milner, the next generation of midfield talent looks to welcome Anfield. This is a spectacular signing and in Klopp’s pressing formation, Szoboszai will flourish like he did at Leipzig. His technical ability and goal-scoring ability allow him to create jaw-dropping spectacles making him one to watch this season.
Christopher Nkunku, despite only playing in 25 matches last season, scored 16 goals and assisted 4 times. These goal contributions are exactly what Chelsea FC are looking for when signing the electric Frenchman. Nkunku joins the Blues for a transfer fee of €60 million. While Chelsea has struggled with signing strikers in recent years, the combination of Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson look to provide some stability to the role.
Depending on whether or not Romelu Lukaku remains part of the squad (which appears unlikely), Armando Broja is the only other striker for Pochettino’s Blues. This will allow Nkunku to play more of the shadow striker role in which he thrived at Leipzig and will help Jackson succeed as well. With the help of these new signings, Chelsea look to make a statement in the Premier League following a disappointing campaign last season.
After serving six seasons for the Red Bulls, Laimer departs for FC Bayern München on a free transfer. The 26-year-old was an absolute workhorse for the Red Bulls and served as a key player in helping Leipzig’s press come to fruition. Laimer is being replaced by his fellow Austrian, Nicolas Siewald, who plays a bit more attacking than Laimer. Laimer will see Leipzig next season when he joins Bayern as a rotational piece for the squad.
Diallo returns to PSG following an unsuccessful loan at Leipzig. The defender only made 8 appearances for the Red Bulls in the Bundesliga last season. The 27-year-old excelled as a ball-playing center-back but found it hard to receive game time, and it appears the France-born Senegal international is on his way out after four years at the French capital, training apart from Luis Enrique’s main squad alongside Georginio Wijnaldum, Leandro Paredes, Colin Dagba, Julian Draxler and Kylian Mbappé.
After a very successful loan spell at Real Sociedad, Alexander Sorloth returned to Spain to join Villarreal CF for €10 million. The 27-year-old is no longer in the plans for RB Leipzig as the striker position is packed with talent. With the signing of Benjamin Sesko and Lois Openda along with Timo Werner, Andre Silva, and Yussuf Poulsen game time would have been very limited for the Norwegian.
Heading back to Spain may be the perfect move for Sorloth, who will serve as the replacement for Nicolas Jackson who joined Chelsea FC this summer. Last season in La Liga, Sorloth bagged 12 goals and assisted 3 times so a move back to the Spanish style of gameplay may be the ideal move.
Angelino joins Galatasaray on loan for the 2023/24 season. Last season, the left back was a crucial member of the TSV 1899 Hoffenheim starting eleven, playing in 33 matches in the Bundesliga. From the left back position, Angelino provided 8 assists and even averaged .26 assists per 90 placing him in the 96th percentile compared to all fullbacks.
While Angelino was crucial in aiding the attack, he often struggled defensively and made the left side of the defense weaker while playing as a wing back. With the signing of El Chadaille Bitshiabu and the emergence of David Raum, as well as Marco Rose’s preference for traditional fullbacks instead of wingbacks, Angelino was left out of Leipzig’s plans for the upcoming season.
One of the most promising young center back talents could be on the move this summer. Rumors surrounding the Croatian link his departure to last year’s Champions League winners – Manchester City. While information from the RB Leipzig board has come out stating the two camps are still far away from each other and Leipzig does not need the money from his transfer, this move is destined to occur. If Gvardiol departs to Manchester City, Leipzig will need to sign an additional centerback to provide depth. They would receive a large sum of money from this deal (around 100 million) and have a wide variety of options to fill his place.
What Still Needs to Be Done?
Leipzig have navigated the summer window extremely well and have found amazing replacements for the players they have lost in the window. By having a clear vision of player type, they have been able to find players who will fit their system perfectly and help them continue their amazing form.
In addition to replacing the positions they lost, Leipzig have also added sufficient squad depth to account for their busy season with various domestic competitions and the UEFA Champions League. With the addition of one more defender, Leipzig will have adequate depth in every position and look to be a force to be reckoned with in the Bundesliga this upcoming season.
By: Jackson Maynard / @JacksonMaynar17
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Neil Baynes – FC Red Bull Salzburg