Dominik Szoboszlai quickly thrust himself into Liverpool’s midfield plans, and as the club makes moves to complete a transfer we look at what he can bring to Anfield.
The Reds’ list of midfield targets has been long but there have been a handful of consistent names linked before the end of the season and into the summer.
On Wednesday, though, a report emerged that talks had taken place with Szoboszlai’s agents and less than two days later the Reds were optimistic about completing a deal.
A €70 million (£60m) release clause was known to expire on June 30, leaving Liverpool to either make their move at that price or wait to start negotiations.
With talent aplenty and once described as “outrageously gifted,” there is, rightly, excitement over the latest developments.
So, time to find out more!
Who is he?
Born in Hungary, Szoboszlai has plied his trade with Leipzig since 2021 after following their talent pathway from sister club Salzburg.
His career started with Liefering in Austria’s second division, he debuted at just 17 years of age and in the five years since he has already amassed 216 senior appearances.
It is a volume of games that Liverpool look for in their data-driven approach to transfers, especially for players of his age.
Now 22, Szoboszlai is captain of Hungary and has 32 caps to his name after quickly rising through the youth levels – leadership qualities never go amiss.
- Age: 22
- Position: Midfielder
- Clubs: Liefering, Salzburg, Leipzig
- Height: 6’1″
- Nationality: Hungarian
The 6’1″ midfielder is no stranger to silverware having won four consecutive Austrian Bundesliga titles with Salzburg from 2017/18 to 2020/21, and won the DFB Pokal both in 2021/22 and 2022/23 with Leipzig.
An attacking midfielder by trade, the Hungarian is versatile across the midfield, a strong runner and finisher in front of goal – Liverpool certainly cannot say no to injecting goals from midfield.
What are his strengths?
Few know players better than their managers and Szoboszlai’s former Salzburg and Leipzig coach Jesse Marsch had plenty to say about the midfielder’s strengths:
“As talent goes, there aren’t many better players that can play his position. Some are strong, some are technical, some are good tactically, and some can defend well or run a lot.
“However, Dominik is special because he has all of these skills combined. Dominik is just as talented as Erling Haaland.”
In a profile for FootballTransfers, writer Sam McGuire suggested that he could serve as an alternative to Jude Bellingham and a likely option in the advanced right-sided role in midfield.
McGuire goes on to say that “it isn’t often you find a player of his age with his profile, his versatility and his experience.”
The 22-year-old scored 10 goals and supplied 13 assists in 46 appearances last season, and his role has been, primarily, to unlock defences with his elite passing range.
Jurgen Klopp will be pleased to know that his work rate is a quality that stands out among the widespread analysis of the player – he is prepared to run himself into the ground on and off the ball, a press monster, if you will.
Passing, dribbling and chance-creation are among his strengths, as too set-pieces – “free-kicks and set-pieces in general are among my strengths,” Szoboszlai previously explained.
It is no wonder then that Szoboszlai was named Austrian Bundesliga Player of the Season in 2019/20, early signs of what was and is still to come from the midfielder.
How much will he cost?
Well, it will all depend on if Liverpool trigger his €70 million (£60m) release clause, which expires on June 30.
If not, the club will have to negotiate with Leipzig and could find themselves paying a higher price if the German club decide to play hardball.
For the Reds, it will be about the right price and the right instalments.
How will he fit in?
Szoboszlai’s versatility will appeal to Klopp, having played all across the midfield and attack, but predominantly as a No. 10 or on the right wing.
With Liverpool having previously been in the hunt for Mason Mount and linked to Gabri Veiga, there is a clear nod to the Reds targeting a progressive right-sided midfielder – to take over from Jordan Henderson.
But he would also be a valuable asset in Liverpool’s pressing game. According to the Analyst, Szoboszlai won 39 high turnovers (within 40m of the opposition goal) last season, the most of any Leipzig player and the sixth highest in the entire league.
Only three players contributed more high turnovers that led to shots than Szoboszlai (eight) in the Bundesliga.
So, it is looking like we will all need to know how to pronounce his last name and Bundesliga commentator Kevin Hatchard has helped us out, saying it is: SOB-OSS-LIE.