Ilsanker and Gulacsi join RB Leipzig
Stefan Ilsanker is leaving FC Red Bull Salzburg for RB Leipzig in the second German Bundesliga. The 26-year-old developed in the Salzburg youth ranks, and - barring a short period - has played at the club for his entire professional career. Ilsanker has won the league and cup for two seasons in a row for the Red Bulls, playing 130 competitive matches (89 in the Austrian Bundesliga, 7 Champions League qualifiers, 17 Europa League matches and 17 ÖFB Cup games) scoring a total of five goals. During his time with FC Red Bull Salzburg, he became an Austrian international, making seven international appearances.
There is an interview with Stefan Ilsanker tomorrow, Saturday, on redbulls.com.
Peter Gulacsi, who joined FC Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2013 from Liverpool and was able to win two league titles and cups with the club, is also leaving for Leipzig. The 25-year-old Hungarian was voted as best goalkeeper in the Austrian Bundesliga in the 2013/14 season and made a total of 100 competitive appearances for the club (65 in the Bundesliga, 6 Champions League qualifiers, 19 Europa League matches and 10 ÖFB Cup games).
Also heading for RB Leipzig is Nils Quaschner. The 21-year-old striker made 15 appearances for Red Bull Salzburg (10 in the Austrian Bundesliga, one in Champions League qualifying, one in the Europa League and three in the ÖFB Cup).
Ankersen joins FC Copenhagen on loan
Peter Ankersen is returning to his homeland of Denmark for the new season to play for FC Copenhagen on loan. The 24-year-old Danish defender made 33 appearances for FC Red Bull Salzburg last season (21 in the Austrian Bundesliga, 3 in Champions League qualifying, 5 in the Europa League and 4 in the ÖFB Cup), but will be in action in the Danish first division for the next year.
Walke, Berisha and Atanga extend contracts
Alexander Walke, who has played for FC Red Bull Salzburg since 2010, has extended his contract for another two years until 2017. The 31-year-old German has made 82 appearances so far for the Red Bulls. Alexander Walke says on his new arrangement: “I am delighted that the contract extension worked out, as I am very happy in Salzburg and with the club. I’ll give my all again next season and do everything to try to get some game time. It is an advantage that I really know the situation here at Red Bull Salzburg very well and have a lot of experience.”
Sporting coordinator Christoph Freund adds: “Alexander Walke is a very important component of the team and with his attitude and performances, he has made himself indispensable. He has taken to his new role with incredible professionalism, and he showed in the cup final what he’s got. We are delighted that he’s staying.”
Valon Berisha has also extended his contract with Salzburg for another two years ahead of time. The 22-year-old Norwegian international has been with the Red Bulls since 2012, making 99 appearances and battling his way back into a regular starting spot last season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.
“I feel really happy here in Salzburg, and we have a very good team with very good players. I was out injured for a long time recently, and the club gave me every chance to get back fit as quickly as possible. Now I want to repay them for this faith and improve myself further,” says Berisha on the contract extension.
Christoph Freund says on this deal: “We want Valon to commit to us for the long term as he has impressed us with his determination, mentality and attitude. He is still a young player, but he has shown that he can take a position of leadership. He will take a very important role for us in the future.”
Also extended to 2020 is the contract with David Atanga. The 18-year-old Ghanaian, who is currently with his national team on under-20 World Cup duty in New Zealand, joined the FC Red Bull Salzburg academy in the winter of 2014 and has trained for the first team since the autumn. The promising attacking midfielder was given his first professional contract in January 2015, and has made 13 appearances for FC Liefering in the Sky Go Erste Liga.
Freund says on Atanga: “David is a player who we want to keep on developing, as we see great potential in him.”
New signings Stefan Lainer and Masaya Okugawa
Stefan Lainer is joining Salzburg from SV Josko Ried. The 22-year-old defender emerged from the Red Bulls’ own youth ranks and left FC Liefering for Ried in the summer of 2014. Lainer has signed a contract with Salzburg until 2018. He has made 36 competitive appearances for Ried (34 in the Bundesliga and two in the ÖFB Cup) as well as 60 appearances in the Erste Liga (for FC Liefering, SV Grödig, Red Bull Juniors).
Stefan Lainer says on his return: “I grew up at Red Bull Salzburg, and I know the club and the professional conditions very well. It is the perfect place for a young player to develop. After a good season with SV Ried, this is the ideal next step for me. It is my aim to take a place in the starting line-up and to become an important player for Red Bull Salzburg in the future.”
Freund says on Stefan Lainer: “He is a player who we developed, and he has played really well for SV Josko Ried in the Bundesliga recently. He has shown with his performances and his attitude that he is a top pro. You could say Lainer is cast from the same mold as Stefan Ilsanker, and we hope that he will have a similarly good development for us. He has a history with FC Red Bull Salzburg, and we are delighted that he is coming back.”
After signing Takumi Minamino, FC Red Bull Salzburg have gained another top Japanese talent in Masaya Okugawa. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder is joining the Red Bulls from Kyoto Sanga FC (in the Japanese second division) and has signed a contract running until 2019.
The quick and nimble midfielder has attracted attention due to his outstanding performances for the Japanese under-18 national team. He will be developed for the first team via FC Liefering.
Okugawa says on his decision: “After the first discussions with representatives of the club, I was sure that Red Bull Salzburg is the best option for my development. I had the feeling from the beginning that my personal aims were very well understood and my prospects of playing in Europe are appreciated. I therefore believe I can develop really well here.”
Sporting coordinator Freund says on the new Asian signing: “Okugawa is a big Japanese talent and a very interesting attacking player who we have been watching for some time. We are delighted that we have managed to sign him. We want to build him up and develop him with us at FC Liefering.”
Taxiarchis Fountas remains in Greece
Taxiarchis Fountas, who the Red Bulls loaned to Panionios Athens last season, will remain in the Greek top flight, where he will play next season on loan for Asteras Tripolis.
Ralf Rangnick: “The last three years here in Salzburg have gone past very quickly, but on the other hand they have brought loads of developments. Although we didn’t win the title in the first year, it was very important, as it was the basis for all the changes. We were playing some really good football already back then. In the second season we then became some real trendsetters in our off-the-ball play and we were taken notice of across Europe for the first time for the way we performed against Standard Liege, Ajax and Bayern Munich. We took a huge step forwards in our football and our tactics. In the third year under Adi Hütter, we managed to win the double again, despite a change of coach and of a few players. Only two teams have managed that before in Austria [Rapid and Austria Vienna]. We deservedly won the cup final against Austria Vienna with ten men and without six injured first-team regulars. That shows that the development at FC Red Bull Salzburg is very positive.”