Red Bull Salzburg have humorously mocked Manchester United after reported target Benjamin Sesko bagged the winning goal against Liverpool in Wednesday’s friendly in Austria.
Jurgen Klopp’s men took part in their penultimate friendly of the summer as they build up to Saturday’s Community Shield showdown against Manchester City, but they came up short 1-0 at the Red Bull Arena, with Sesko providing the only goal of the game on the half-hour mark.
The 19-year-old combined expertly with Noah Okafor to breach Adrian’s net with a well-executed strike, further enhancing his already-burgeoning reputation heading into the game — and Salzburg couldn’t help themselves but jump on the bandwagon of hype in the aftermath.
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A reported target of Erik ten Hag this summer, Salzburg’s social media team poked fun at a tweet posted by Fabrizio Romano earlier this week — in which the popular transfer guru suggested that Man Utd were keeping tabs on Sesko — laying out their terms if such a transfer were to happen.
“We want 300 million + Bruno,” Red Bull Salzburg’s English twitter account responded to Romano’s tweet.
However, following Sesko’s masterclass against Liverpool, that price tag went up…
They tweeted: “Update: We now want 1 billion, Bruno and Fred the Red for Sesko.”
Update: We now want 1 billion, Bruno and Fred the Red for Sesko. https://t.co/xgha9v16b3
— FC Red Bull Salzburg EN (@FCRBS_en) July 27, 2022
Certainly a bit of fun, but there is a reason why Man Utd would harbour a genuine interest in bringing the teenage tyro to Old Trafford.
Standing at 6ft 4in, Sesko is a natural goalscoring talent who shares a similar profile to Erling Haaland, another who enjoyed a prolific stint in Salzburg.
Tall, explosive and a keen sense for the back of the net, Sesko’s comparisons to Haaland certainly appear apt beyond the obvious Salzburg connection.
Sesko appeared frequently in the Champions League for Salzburg last season and boasted a rather impressive 1.22 shot placement ratio, the same as Karim Benzema and just 0.2 below Haaland, despite not actually finding the back of the net in six appearances.
He has already been capped 13 times by Slovenia and netted an impressive 11 goals across all competitions in his breakthrough campaign in 2021/22, building on from a fruitful stint on loan at Salzburg’s farm club FC Liefering the season prior.
On comparisons to Haaland, Sesko told Slovenian reporters: “Such comparisons motivate me and give me energy. They do not represent pressure. I will listen and learn so I can be even better than he is.
“My team-mates at the club tell me that Haaland and I are very similar, especially in terms of speed. Most of them even tell me that I’m better than him!”
It will come as no surprise that Sesko has risen to prominence at Red Bull Salzburg, a club that has cultivated a strong reputation for developing elite youngsters in recent years, with the likes of Haaland, Sadio Mane, Dayot Upamecano, Naby Keita and Marcel Sabitzer all once calling the Red Bull Arena in Austria their home.
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It’s the perfect environment for Sesko to continue enhancing his skill-set before seeking a move to one of Europe’s elite. However, clubs seeking to get Haaland 2.0 may be getting a little bit more than just another version of the City superstar if Sesko’s agent’s comments are anything to go by.
His representative, Elvis Basanovic, recently stated: “Many compare him to Haaland, but I think they are different types of players.
“They are similar in physical construction and speed, but they are different players. Benjamin is more of a team player.
“He is maybe better technically with his skills, but Haaland is a bit more wild with his energy, in a positive sense. He remains a humble, hard-working boy.”