Why super Szoboszlai is the perfect alternative to Bellingham

Sam McGuire
Sam McGuire
  • Updated: 21 Feb 2023 14:16 GMT
  • 5 min read
Dominik Szoboszlai, Hungary, 2022-23
© ProShots

The Bundesliga will be the destination for the riches of the Premier League this summer.

Jude Bellingham is the most sought-after player in football right now and Borussia Dortmund are expected to demand a world record fee for an English player - surpassing the £100 million Manchester City parted with to pry Jack Grealish away from Aston Villa.

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He isn’t the only player in Germany to be attracting interest from clubs within the English top-flight though. Randal Kolo Muani has made quite the impression with Eintracht Frankfurt and is reportedly being courted by a number of clubs with both Manchester United and Liverpool believed to be keeping tabs on the Frenchman. Jesper Lindstrom, Muani’s teammate at Deutsche Bank Park, is another being tracked by Premier League sides.

READ MORE: European Assists King 2022/23

Then there is Josko Gvardiol. The RB Leipzig centre-back is liked by Chelsea and Liverpool, as revealed recently by our very own Jacque Talbot in an exclusive for Football Transfers.

One player going under the radar a little this season in the Bundesliga is Dominik Szoboszlai. Once rumoured to be an Arsenal transfer target, the most expensive Hungarian ever could well find himself on a number of shortlists this summer. Though he isn’t a like-for-like alternative to Bellingham, many teams could make a case for pivoting the way of the RB Leipzig No.17 if they miss out on the England international.

Obviously, it would be a bit of a stretch to see Szoboszlai in a midfield double pivot but he has the skill set to be a productive creator in a three-man midfield. A lot of teams are adopting a tactic these days that allow one of the three deployed in the midfield third the freedom to influence things in the final third. Again, that is a role that would suit the former Red Bull Salzburg man.

Liverpool, for example, would likely use him on the right side of their midfield three. A role currently filled by Jordan Henderson and one that is supposedly earmarked for Bellingham. Manchester United could well make a move for Szoboszlai, especially if they plan to use a 4-2-3-1 shape in the long-term. Wout Weghorst has been deployed as a No.10 recently and the RB Leipzig man could play a similar role for the Red Devils.

They aren’t the only Premier League clubs who could find a place in their squad for the talented Hungarian midfielder.

He has four goals and eight assists in the Bundesliga this term and eight-goal involvements in his last 12 appearances across all competitions. He finished last season with six goals and eight assists in the German top-flight. These are impressive numbers when you consider he’s been moved around, the team have used a variety of systems and RB Leipzig have had multiple managers over this period.

There hasn’t been a sustained period of consistency and this can hinder the development of a player, especially one of his age. Yet despite this, he’s been a reliable performer, at least in terms of output.

The 22-year-old has 10 goals and 16 assists across 2,980 minutes since the start of last season. That is a goal involvement every 114 minutes. Though the majority of his minutes this term have arrived on the right, he has also played on the left and also centrally.

Standing at 6ft 1in, he has a fairly unique physical profile for the sort of player he is. In theory, it would speed up his adaption to the rigours of the Premier League. It is easy to see why teams might be interested in him. In fact, they should be interested in him.

It isn’t often you find a player of his age with his profile, his versatility and his experience. The 28-cap Hungary international has an Estimated Transfer Value of €51m and his value is protected due to his long-term contract at the Red Bull Arena. There is no pressure on the Bundesliga team to sell, not when they are banking a reported €70m for Christoper Nkunku this summer. However, if the offer is good enough, they are the sort of club to sell. Their model is sort of reliant on that. They buy low and sell high.

RB Leipzig spent €20m on Szoboszlai. A bid in the region of €50m could well be enough to tempt them into selling him. It would allow them to reinvest that money into the next crop of wonderkids they no doubt have their eye on.

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