Leeds United have confirmed the signing of Denmark right-back Rasmus Kristensen from Red Bull Salzburg for a fee around £ 10m.
The 24-year-old, who was also wanted by Borussia Dortmund and Brentford, has signed a long-term contract at Elland Road and becomes head coach Jesse Marsch’s second signing of the summer following the arrival of midfielder Brenden Aaronson – also from Salzburg.
‘I was never in doubt about joining Leeds’
On his move to Leeds, Kristensen said: “When I heard about the interest I looked at the project and what was going on and I was never in doubt, I was 100 per cent convinced.
“It’s a huge historical club which is playing in the best league in the world and for me, it fits everything that I love about a football club.
‘I’ve heard so much about Elland Road’
New Leeds signing Rasmus Kristensen on playing at Elland Road:
“I’m blown away by the stadium.
“I’ve heard so much about it, so many tales and stories, but to be here in person is incredible.
“I’ve been told what the atmosphere is like and I can imagine, but I’ve been told it’s better than I can ever imagine, so I can’t wait to experience it on my own.”
“I know a lot of things about the club, where I am from, a small village, most of my father’s mates are Leeds fans.
“I want to compete against the best and I will do that here.”
Kristensen played a crucial role during the 2021/22 season as Salzburg secured an eighth straight Austrian Bundesliga title, scoring 10 goals and assisting another eight.
He made 107 appearances for Salzburg since moving to the club from Ajax in 2019. He is well known to Marsch – as is Aaronson – having played under him in Austria.
Kristensen, who has six caps for Denmark and played in their recent Nations League victories over France and Austria, will add much-needed depth to Leeds’ full-back department as Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling both continue their recoveries from surgery.
I had a brilliant relationship with Jesse in Salzburg. I feel like I fit right into the philosophy and system that he wants to play and hopefully I can show that on the pitch.
Leeds boss Marsch said: “Rasmus is a player who developed a lot over the last three years.
“He established himself at Red Bull Salzburg as one of their best players, a very good Champions League full-back, and a Danish international.
“I am totally convinced that he will continue to grow into a great Premier League full-back as well.”
‘Other teams wanted Kristensen’
Leeds United director of football Victor Orta:
“It is difficult to find a player with this background, who is an international, in the market with a clear price.
“Rasmus trusts the project, he knows the coach and he’s left his comfort zone to try and succeed in the Premier League and at Leeds United and I feel proud of that.
“Other teams wanted him, including teams playing in the Champions League in the top five leagues, but he wants to prove himself in the best league in the world and this makes me very happy with the signing.
“His performances at Red Bull Salzburg made him one of the most influential right-backs in Europe and now in the line-up of his country.
“He has a determination to understand the position, he’s physical, demanding, has a high level with the ball and I hope he is a player fans will fall in love with quickly. They demand effort and quality, he has both things and he has chosen us. ”
What should Leeds do this summer?
Sky Sports football journalist Sam Blitz:
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani promised fans the club would be busy in the transfer market – and there’s a good reason for that.
Marcelo Bielsa preferred to use a smaller squad at Elland Road but that risk nearly led to relegation last season, so do not be surprised if the depth gets better under Jesse Marsch. The early activity to bring RB Salzburg midfielder Brenden Aaronson into the club this early in the window implies that widescale arrivals are coming.
Should Leeds lose Raphinha this summer, then a new attacking talisman will be needed, especially considering how injury-prone striker Patrick Bamford is as well.
Another key area where Leeds could strengthen is at full-back, with the signing of Junior Firpo not working out so far, while right-sided players Luke Ayling and Stuart Dallas are recovering from long-term fitness problems.
In an attempt to improve a defense that shipped 79 goals last season, some center-back arrivals could be vital if Leeds are to improve next season.
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