He’s been compared to the Hungarian great Ferenc Puskás, scored the dramatic late goal that took his country through to the 2021 European Championships and been linked with a host of top clubs. At twenty years old, Dominik Szoboszlai has established himself as one of Europe’s hottest young talents but how does he compare to similar prospects in the Premier League and which club would best suited to helping him realise his undoubted potential?
Red Bull Salzburg have produced a conveyor belt of young talent in recent years, with players like Sadio Mane, Erling Haaland, Naby Keita and Dayot Upamecano all making a name for themselves in Austria ahead of big moves to the German Bundesliga or English Premier League. Yet even by Red Bull Salzburg’s standards, Dominik Szoboszlai stands out. The attacking midfielder played a starring role as the Austrian side picked up their seventh consecutive domestic title last season, scoring 13 goals and contributing 11 assists in 30 starts.
This season his stats are even more impressive, contributing 8 goals and 9 assists in just 17 games for Red Bull Salzburg, who could still qualify for the Champions League knockout stages if they beat Atletico Madrid in the final group game. He is also a set-piece specialist who scored five free kicks and three penalties last season, while five of his 11 assists were from corners that he delivers with unerring accuracy. Add in his phenomenal injury time winner for Hungary against Iceland that took his country to the finals of 2021 European Championships and this is a player who’s clearly ready for a bigger stage.
The Austrian Bundesliga may not be one of Europe’s top leagues but the Ai Abacus Player Performance and Valuation models can be used to objectively assess and benchmark players’ ability and market value across different countries and leagues.
The below graphic compares Szoboszlai’s current ability and market value with four similar Premier League prospects.
Szoboszlai’s ability has already caught the eye but Ai Abacus predict his Attacking Rating will continue to improve over the next five years, establishing him as one of Europe’s most effective forward players. Interestingly, of the five players analysed, Gabriel Martinelli’s Attacking Rating is projected to improve the most. Having made a positive start to his Arsenal career, Martinelli has missed the last five months with a knee injury. However, he’s now back in training and Mikel Arteta will be hoping he can quickly rediscover the goalscoring form that saw him score 10 goals in his first 26 appearances for the Gunners.
Szoboszlai’s market value is also projected to triple over the next five years, from £25.4m to £75m – the highest percentage increase of the five players. And with a release clause reportedly around £22.5m, he could prove to be a cost-effective investment, given his current ability and potential to significantly improve over the coming seasons.
RB Leipzig appear favourites to sign Szoboszlai, largely due to the club sharing the same owners as Red Bull Salzburg. No fewer than 18 players have made the move between the two clubs in recent years so RB Leipzig could be in pole position to sign the Hungarian prodigy in January. But with a host of other clubs rumoured to be interested, including Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid and Tottenham, moving to a team that suits his style and characteristics will be key to fulfilling his potential.
Ai Abacus use the very latest in artificial intelligence to assess the suitability of a player to a prospective team. The below graphic predicts how Szoboszlai is likely to fit in at some of Europe’s top clubs based on similarities in playing style and chemistry with prospective teammates.
Using the AiA Simulator, and its three intelligence-driven metrics, the below graphics predict the likely success of Szoboszlai’s transfer to three clubs linked with him in the media: Arsenal, RB Leipzig and AC Milan.
Each metric computes a modelled value from 0-100 to rate the style suitability, player chemistry and cost-benefit of a player to a prospective team;
Playing Style Index rates the likely fit of a player based on similarities in the playing style and formation of their current and prospective team.
Player Chemistry Index predicts how well the playing characteristics of a new recruit will complement those of his prospective teammates to produce positive on-pitch performances.
Cost Benefit Index rates value for money by evaluating a player’s current market value and predicted performance versus the proposed contract length, transfer fee and weekly wage.
At twenty years old, Dominik Szoboszlai has already amassed impressive stats and his current performance ratings rank him alongside some of the best Premier League prospects of a similar age and position.
Reportedly available for £22.5m, he could prove to be a cost-effective investment with his ability and market value predicted to improve significantly over the next five years.
Red Bull Salzburg’s Sporting Director has admitted Szoboszlai is likely to move on in January. The player himself has revealed that money isn’t the main incentive; instead, finding a club where he will play and develop is his top priority.
Of the three clubs analysed using the AiA Simulator, RB Leipzig score highest for playing style suitability and predicted chemistry with other players in the team. The link between the two clubs is well established and Szoboszlai could see this as the ideal next step in his career, allowing him to gain experience at a higher level before eventually moving on to one of the European giants.
Arsenal are also rumoured to be interested in Szoboszlai, and are likely to be in the market for more offensive-minded players in January. However, they rank lowest of the three teams for playing style suitability, indicating the player may take time to adapt. And with a pressing need to address a lack of goals and creativity, Arsenal could look at alternative targets who are more likely to have an immediate impact in the Premier League.