Christoph Freund is set to land the role of Chelsea's new sporting director – and he has quite the track record for finding and developing talent.
Blues owner Todd Boehly is reportedly a big fan of Red Bull's model that has seen – in the words of their company – grow wings over the past decade. However, those wings are about to be clipped with the loss of Freund.
After his appointment in 2015, Red Bull Salzburg alumni have gone on to play in top leagues across Europe, and one precocious talent, in particular, can stake a claim to be the best in the world at the moment.
Erling Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm since his summer switch to Manchester City – nothing 14 times in nine appearances in all competitions.
Haaland burst onto the world stage while in the Alpine nation as he tore up the Champions League with the Red Bull logo slapped across his chest. Freund had spotted the striker while he was still at Molde in the Norwegian top flight.
Haaland joined on for just over £7million – one year later moved to Borussia Dortmund for £18million.
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How do you replace one of the most clinical finishes to ever grace the beautiful game? You sign another one of course.
Okay, since his move to the Premier League with Leicester City, Patson Daka has hardly set the world alight like Haaland. But when in Salzburg, in his first full season without Haaland, Daka found the net 27 times in 28 games.
Signed from Zambian side Kafue Celtic FC for £225,000, Freund moved him on three years later for £27million to the Foxes.
Dayot Upamecano could be the ultimate Red Bull success story – and poster boy for what the company wants as their football model.
As one of the first signings of the Freund era, the Austrian plucked 16-year-old Upamecano from Valenciennes, and he spent a season in the reserve side. But it wasn't long before the Frenchman was in the first team – and putting European sides on notice.
Two years after Freund spent just under £2million on Upamecano he was on his way to RB Leipzig for £16.5million, and the Frenchman is now at Bayern Munich.
Karim Adeyemi perhaps shows the biggest Freund took while at Red Bull Salzburg.
In 2019, Freund parted ways with £9million to sign SpVgg Unterhaching U19s – whose senior side are in the fourth tier of German football – star Adeyemi. The young German had spent time at Bayern Munich, but was dropped by the Bavarian giants.
Fast forward to July 2022, and after impressing in Austria, Borussia Dortmund signed Adeyemi to the tune of £27million.
Another youngster plucked from an unknown academy is Dominik Szoboszlai, who moved to Salzburg in 2016 from Fonix FC for £450,000.
This past summer, English football fans got a first-hand account of the tricky Hungarian as he danced his way around the English defence in the Nations League. Hungary battered England 4-0 at Wembley, and he helped himself to the only goal of the game at the Puskas Arena.
Szoboszlai, like Upamecano, graduated to RB Leipzig from Salzburg – Red Bull's flagship side.
Red Bull's latest success story has already earned a host of admirers in Yorkshire as Brenden Aaronson moved to Leeds United.
Freund acquired the services of the 'Medford Messi' from Philadelphia Union in January 2021 to the tune of £11.4million. And 18 months later the American was on his way to West Yorkshire with Freund pocketing a pretty £29.5million for Salzburg.
Aaronson has quickly earned the favour of Leeds fans with a cheeky chant to the tune of Estelle's 'American Boy'.
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