Ahead of the Bhoys' visit to Austria in the Europa League, Jack Beresford identifies three Salzburg stars that could strengthen the Celtic squad.
After suffering defeat to lowly NK Maribor in qualifying for this season’s Champions League, Celtic head to Salzburg as outsiders for victory over a team that suffered a similar fate in Europe.
Like Celtic, Red Bull Salzburg are domestic champions but missed out on a place in Europe’s premier cup competition after losing to Swedish side Malmo over two legs last month.
They do boast something in the way of Europa League pedigree, however, after progressing to the last-16 of the competition last term as part of a memorable campaign that saw them beat Eredivisie Champions Ajax 6-1 on aggregate.
And with Celtic looking to rebuild and regroup this season under new manager Ronny Deila, the Norwegian manager could do well to cast his eye over some of Salzburg’s big stars if he wants the Bhoys to return to the big time of European football soon.
Here are three Red Bull stars that Celtic should look to sign.
Andre Ramalho Silva – Defender - 22
With Virgil van Dijk likely to depart Parkhead in the summer, despite the best efforts of the club, there could be room for another young defender at Celtic Park next season and the Bhoys could do worse than look at Salzburg’s young Brazilian.
A product of the club’s well-regarded youth setup, Ramalho has become a mainstay Die Rotten Bullen first team, following a breakthrough campaign last year in which he featured 33 times for the club.
Strong in the air, the 22-year-old also has an eye for goal with five strikes to his name last term and was previously scouted by Southampton. With some sources claiming he could be available for as little as £2 million, he could well be worth a look.
Jonathan Soriano – Striker – 28
Newcastle United were rumoured to have scouted the Spaniard over the summer and, while a Magpies move never ultimately came to pass, the former Espanyol and Barcelona B striker could prove a canny acquisition for a Celtic team in dire need of a seasoned finisher in front of goal.
Soriano is certainly that, with a tally of some 77 goals in 81 games for Salzburg to date. Currently the club captain, the 28-year-old made headlines on the continent last term after scoring from near the half-way line in Red Bull Salzburg’s memorable Europa League victory over Ajax.
Thought to be available for somewhere in the region of £5 million, the Spaniard could prove to be a snip for the Hoops, and the man to help them improve their record on front of goal in Europe.
Kevin Kampl – Midfielder – 23
Regarded as one of the brightest young stars at Salzburg, Kampl came to the club from lowly German side VfR Aalen after the Austrian giants paid the €3 million release clause on his contract with the then 2.Bundesliga side.
A former Bayer Leverkusen academy player, the Slovenian has thrived in the Austrian Bundesliga with 16 goals in 63 games from midfield and he has developed a reputation for spearheading quick breakaway attacks at the club.
A combination of attacking guile and defensive steel saw Arsenal linked with a move to the 23-year-old but with no bid forthcoming from the Gunners, Celtic would do well to swoop for a player that can add some much-needed quality to the Hoops squad.
Which of these Salzburg players would you like to see playing for Celtic?