The £800m of Red Bull talent as Nkunku tops Haaland but Newcastle target could beat both

The £800m of Red Bull talent as Nkunku tops Haaland but Newcastle target could beat both

It took a while, but Christopher Nkunku’s move to Chelsea has finally been announced, and all signs are that he’s worth the wait.

The French forward joins for £53million from RB Leipzig with a huge reputation as one of the Bundesliga’s best players.

Nkunku is on his way to light up the Premier League


Nkunku is on his way to light up the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
He breaks Naby Keita's record as Leipzig's most expensive sale


He breaks Naby Keita’s record as Leipzig’s most expensive saleCredit: Getty

The 2021/22 campaign saw 35 goals and 16 assists in all competitions and the former Paris Saint-Germain man skyrocket to the top of shopping lists everywhere.

Chelsea won the race for his services last summer, and he’s since managed 23 goals and six assists and again looked unstoppable in east Germany.

The £53m may well end up being a wise investment for the goal-shy Blues, but for Leipzig, it’s just as important.

The fee represents a record for the Red Bull-owned team, who also own four more clubs across the globe.

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Leipzig are their flagship, though, along with Salzburg, close to founder Dietrich Mateschitz’s hometown in Austria.

The billionaire passed away in October 2022, and despite fierce and continued protests against his sporting model in Germany, Nkunku is the culmination of an extraordinary profit-making venture.

Nkunku takes the record by just £300,000 from Naby Keita, who similarly made Liverpool wait before he eventually joined in the summer of 2018 having signed 12 months earlier.

After that, Timo Werner had his go at the record when he left for Chelsea for £45m in 2020, but like Keita, things didn’t go well.

Chelsea will certainly be hoping Nkunku has more success than his two predecessors, and looking further down on the list should show promise.

France international centre backs Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate went to Bayern Munich and Liverpool respectively for a combined £73m, and are now mainstays for both of the European giants.

Werner struggled massively in England


Werner struggled massively in EnglandCredit: Getty
Red Bull are talented at spotting French defenders


Red Bull are talented at spotting French defendersCredit: Getty

But the real gold comes from shopping in Salzburg, and not just for Leipzig either.

Karim Adeyemi joined Borussia Dortmund for a hefty £32.5m last summer, and his second half of the season showed they may have another mega star forward on their hands.

Previous of which was one Erling Haaland, who Dortmund took from the same Salzburg side for £17m in 2020 and he’s since become a generational talent.

Sadio Mane and Joshua Kimmich are also Red Bull-reared players that went on to achieve world class status elsewhere, but the next off the production line has stayed in-house, and could be the best yet.

Haaland burst on to the scene in Salzburg


Haaland burst on to the scene in SalzburgCredit: AFP
Szoboszlai could well set a new record


Szoboszlai could well set a new recordCredit: AFP

Hungary’s next big hope Dominik Szoboszlai swapped between the two teams in 2021, and after an injury-hit start in Germany, he’s starting to show his extraordinary potential.

Newcastle are seemingly already convinced enough to pay his reported £70m, which would break yet another record for the Red Bull group.

On top of that, Josko Gvardiol is attracting the same sort of attention from the Premier League, while Benjamin Sesko is another to follow Szoboszlai’s path and his fee will likely go stratospheric in Germany.

There’s also high-income names like Brenden Aaronson who Leeds paid £24.7m, and Patson Daka who went to Leicester for £23m, showing that departures don’t have to set the world on fire for Red Bull to make a profit.

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Red Bull purchased Salzburg in 2005, and in 2009 they added Leipzig (then SSV Markranstadt), and it’s estimated since then that they’ve sold a combined £800m worth of talent between the two sides, with the billion pound mark not far away.

That’s without even mentioning the fees rivals have paid for coaches Julian Nagelsmann, Marco Rose, Adi Hutter and Jesse Marsch, showing that Red Bull does far more than just give you wings.


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