Patson Daka is joining FC Red Bull Salzburg in the summer transfer window and will sign a five-year contract.
The 18-year-old Zambian talent is leaving Kafue Celtic FC to join the Red Bulls, having already spent half a year on loan at FC Liefering (where he made five appearances). The 1.85m attacker was also in action for the Salzburg side that won the UEFA Youth League - scoring in both the semi-final against FC Barcelona and in the final against Benfica.
Daka was voted Rookie of the Year for 2016 in Zambia, and stood out at the U20 African Cup in January 2017, where he was top scorer and player of the tournament. Patson Daka has so far made 11 appearances for the full Zambian national team.
In Salzburg he will begin as a cooperation player for FC Liefering and work towards making the Red Bulls' first team.
Christoph Freund, director of football with the Red Bulls, says on the transfer:
By signing Patson Daka we are continuing our successful path. We have been watching Patson closely for a long time, and we are convinced that he will fit FC Red Bull Salzburg well with the way he plays football. We are pleased to have taken another big talent under contract for the long-term at FC Red Bull Salzburg with Patson Daka.
Igor and Patson Daka
The Youth League final in Nyon was definitely a fantastic experience for you. How does it feel to be one of the highest profile young players in Europe at the moment?
Winning the Youth League is an incredible feeling that I don't think you can put into words. It is not only something extraordinary for me, but for the whole team too. I thank God to be able to have experienced this great honour and the privilege of getting this wonderful success together with our team. I am just at the start of my football journey, and this motivates me to keep on working hard on myself. The win showed me that I have taken the right step for my future career. I am looking forward to my future at FC Red Bull Salzburg and hope that we can win a lot more titles together.
It's not just in Europe where you have made a name for yourself, but also in your homeland of Zambia. You were voted Rookie of the Year in Zambia in 2016. That must be a great honour?
This award was a very special one for me, of course, as 2016 was a very tough year for me as a player. I didn't give up though, I believed in myself, worked hard on myself and was able to score goals to help my team. This award is not only a great recognition for my success but also a reminder that you can never give up.
Why did you decide to join FC Red Bull Salzburg despite talk of a lot of offers from big name clubs in Europe?
I was won over right away by the philosophy of the club and the way that football is played here. I knew straight away that I would be able to develop very well and quickly here, and I always had the feeling in discussions with representatives of the club, and later with the coaches, that they really wanted me here. I am really pleased that I made this decision as it's been better than I could have ever imagined. I would like to do everything to repay the faith the club put in me.
How do you like it here so far?
I really like Salzburg. It is a great place to live. I have a bit of a problem with the weather here, but I'm getting used to it a little [laughs!].