Football Features

RB Leipzig summer transfer window: New players, outgoings & potential line-up for 2023/24

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 9:40, 8 August 2023

RB Leipzig have been a Bundesliga top-four mainstay since their promotion but the forthcoming campaign is set to be challenging.

Experts at rebuilding, the East German side have been ravaged, losing Dominik Szoboszlai, Christopher Nkunku and Joško Gvardiol, who became the second most expensive defender in football history after Harry Maguire, when he completed his £77.6m transfer to treble winning Manchester City.


Despite losing three influential players, head coach Marco Rose has signed a contract extension, effectively his reward for stabilising the club during a difficult phase.

“Even after the upheaval this summer, we want to stand for football with which the fans can identify,” he said in a statement. “If we succeed, we will have a lot of fun together in the stadium and celebrate further successes. I am pleased with the trust of those responsible and am happy that I can continue to be part of RB Leipzig and write the story.”

A native of Leipzig, the former Borussia Dortmund tactician succeeded Domenic Tedesco last September and ultimately guided RBL to a third-placed finish as well as their second DFB-Pokal title in a row. The powers that be have backed Rose as RB Leipzig continue to be active this summer by dipping into the free agent market, loan deals and some permanent acquisitions.

Loïs Openda

  • Position: Forward
  • From: Lens
  • Transfer fee: £36.8m

It was a Vitesse where everything clicked for the former Club Brugge academy graduate. In his final season, Lois Openda bagged 28 goals across 50 matches in all competitions, and that form attracted RC Lens whose faith in the Belgian marksman was sensationally repaid. Openda’s sole Ligue 1 campaign saw only Jonathan David (24), Alexandre Lacazette (27) and Kylian Mbappé (29) outscore him. Lens needed every single one of his 21 goals as they finished second meaning a return to Champions League football. He will not be with Franck Haise’s side, instead, Openda has been given the unenviable task of filling Christopher Nkunku’s shoes. Not with just the goals but living up to his club record price tag.

Christoph Baumgartner

  • Position: Midfielder
  • From: Hoffenheim
  • Transfer fee: £21m

Leipzig had 18 different Bundesliga scorers last term with half registering more than one strike. Dominik Szoboszlai, who joined Liverpool this summer, chipped in with four. Replacing those efforts could be done through Christoph Baumgartner’s acquisition. The native of Horn, Austria turned professional at Hoffenheim and has scored at least six times in each of the last four German top-division seasons. Baumgartner’s path to RB Leipzig’s first team looks blocked initially with compatriots Nicolas Seiwald and Xaver Schlager holding down those central midfield positions.

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Benjamin Sesko

  • Position: Forward
  • From: Red Bull Salzburg
  • Transfer fee: £20.7m

Being part of the same ownership means Leipzig will always have a pipeline to sister club Red Bull Salzburg and we’ve already seen numerous players move from the Austrian club including Marcel Sabitzer, Hwang Hee-chan and the aforementioned Szoboszlai, but not Erling Haaland who made Dortmund his Bundesliga home. The latest making this well-trodden path is Slovenian prodigy Benjamin Sesko; who arrives on the back of registering 16 goals across 30 league outings last season, having turned 20 recently the Radeče-born marksman has won 21 international caps to date subsequently netting six goals for his country. Sesko will naturally compete to lead Leipizig’s attack.

Nicolas Seiwald

  • Position: Midfielder
  • From: Red Bull Salzburg
  • Transfer fee: £17.2m

Leipzig announced the deal with Salzburg for 22-year-old midfielder Nicolas Seiwald in late February. He is seen as a replacement for Konrad Laimer, who Bayern Munich picked up on a free transfer.

“Nici is a tough-tackling, box-to-box player who has undergone a tremendous development in the last few years,” said Leipzig sporting director Max Eberl.

El Chadaille Bitshiabu

  • Position: Defender
  • From: Paris Saint-Germain
  • Transfer fee: £12.9m

There’s a case to be made Paris Saint-Germain’s academy is up there with Europe’s best. Even so, their first team isn’t exactly littered with former academy graduates, El Chadaille Bitshiabu was one having played 14 league matches (albeit in their starting line-up six times and completing the full 90 minutes just twice) before leaving for pastures new this summer. Given the nature of Paris Saint-Germain, who are about the now, Bitshiabu’s development wouldn’t be accelerated through irregular appearances instead looked at Leipizg’s recent history of developing tomorrow’s stars and is banking on that continuing. The teenage centre-back could be fast-tracked into RBL’s starting eleven following Gvardiol’s departure.

Xavi Simons

  • Position: Midfielder
  • From: Paris Saint-Germain
  • Transfer fee: Loan

Speaking of PSG and development they had Xavi Simons on their books prior to his exit last summer. Again it was a lack of opportunities that saw him join PSV Eindhven where he blossomed. Simons was arguably the Eredivisie’s most outstanding player last season having managed 19 goals and eight assists in 34 appearances. However, there was a buyback clause in his contract which PSG activated, by doing so they later agreed to loan him to Leipzig for the season. Simons is undoubtedly an exciting prospect but it remains to be seen how invested RBL are especially as there will be no option for the club to sign Simons on a permanent basis.

Fábio Carvalho

  • Position: Midfielder
  • From: Liverpool
  • Transfer fee: Loan

In hindsight, Fábio Carvalho staying at Fulham may have been the smarter move, but the pull of Liverpool is too much for most to resist. He lacked minutes in a Reds jersey and now looks to get back on track under Rose, another Klopp student. It’s hard to see Carvalho, who signed a one-year loan deal, cementing a starting berth from the jump but there are certain to be opportunities scattered across the season.

Leopold Zingerle

  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • From: Paderborn
  • Transfer fee: Free

This is nothing more than a backup for Péter Gulácsi who is Leipzig’s undisputed number one. That being said, Leopold Zingerle — who never played for boyhood club Bayern Munich — has tons of experience, across 140 outings for SC Paderborn he’s kept 42 clean sheets and conceded one goal every 64 minutes.

RB Leipzig 2023 summer transfer window outgoings:


Joško Gvardiol Defender Man City £78m
Dominik Szoboszlai Midfielder Liverpool £60m
Christopher Nkunku Forward Chelsea £51m
Alexander Sørloth Forward Villarreal £8.5m
Tom Krauß Midfielder Mainz 05 £4m
Josep Martínez Goalkeeper Genoa £3m
Marcel Halstenberg Forward Hannover 96 Fee undisclosed
Kristaps Grabovskis Forward Rapid Vienna Fee undisclosed
Daniel Ihendu Defender Werder Bremen Fee undisclosed
Jonas Nickisch Goalkeeper Cologne Fee undisclosed
Konrad Laimer Midfielder Bayern Munich Fee undisclosed


How RB Leipzig could line up in 2023/24

To date, Rose has overseen 41 matches in all competitions as RB Leipzig’s boss, using no fewer than five different formations. Broken down further, three systems have been used for a combined eight matches: 3-4-2-1 (4), 3-4-3 (3) and 5-4-1 (1).

Like many of his managerial contemporaries, Rose has often gone with a lone striker and double pivot in midfield, utilising that familiar 4-2-3-1 system on 13 occasions.

However, it’s now a less fashionable shape his players have come accustomed to. As things stand, there’s no reason to believe Rose will deviate from the 4-4-2 he used 20 times. This would mean a new two-man attack consisting of Simons and Openda while Sesko, Yussuf Poulsen and Timo Werner are all options, although the latter is a contender to start on RBL’s left flank.

The loss of Gvardiol will be a tough pill to swallow, after his £77.6m move to treble winners Manchester City, but vice-captain Willi Orbán is expected to forge a central defensive partnership with El Chadaille Bitshiabu or Lukas Klostermann.