Valon Berisha is set to move on after winning his fifth league title in a row.
The talented midfielder has outgrown the Austrian league and Red Bull Salzburg are set to lose him.
Former teammate Sadio Mane moved to the Premier League in 2014, joining Southampton and then Liverpool.
The question is, will Valon Berisha join him in the Premier League and could his new club be Newcastle United?
In March, it was reported (see below) that Newcastle had been tracking the midfielder for 18 months and now the player himself has confirmed this.
Valon Berisha saying in an interview that there is definitely interest from Newcastle but he is yet to make a decision on where he will go, with Serie A and Sampdoria another possible destination.
With Newcastle not as yet bidding on any new player this summer, fans are understandably anxious with only nine days to go until pre-season begins at NUFC with the squad returning.
Valon Berisha interviewed on Norwegian TV:
“They (Newcastle United) have been following me for a long time.
“There is interest there but nothing on the table that I have to decide on yet.
“England is the dream and we will see…
“Sampdoria are (also) very interested.
“I have to make a decision with the family (about my future).”
The Mag – 28 March 2018:
In November, it was claimed that Newcastle United were lining up the transfer of Valon Berisha.
The media in Kosovo (see below) claiming that Rafa Benitez could finally land the attacking midfielder (number 10) that he has been so desperate for, ever since arriving at St James Park two years ago.
As we know, Mike Ashley refused to sanction any buys in January, so Rafa Benitez was forced to rely on loan deals to try and ensure Newcastle’s safety this season.
However, the Chronicle say that Newcastle have followed Valon Berisha for 18 months now and he is in the frame for a possible NUFC move finally this summer.
The biggest weakness for many/most fans in the Newcastle team has to be the number 10 position and indeed the Chronicle claim their information is that Rafa feels the same.
Ayoze Perez tries his best but the threat going forward is almost non-existent, with only two goals and three assists this season, despite playing in that free role.
As for Valon Berisha, he has 37 goals and 34 assists in his time at Red Bull Salzburg and is currently helping them to their fifth Austrian Championship in a row, with the reigning champions eight points clear.
The 25 year old midfielder is playing in a league that is a pretty poor standard but Sadio Mane made the journey from Salzburg to the Premier League with some success…so no reason why Berisha can’t do the same, if Newcastle pursue him.
Attacking midfielders/number 10s and strikers are the most difficult to land, so maybe Newcastle’s best chance of landing better quality will rest on going for a player who isn’t playing in the most fashionable surroundings.
Interestingly, the Chronicle appear to have forgotten (see below) that three years ago they claimed that Newcastle were set to sign Valon Berisha’s brother, Veton.
He is now playing for Rapid Vienna and represents Norway, whilst brother Valon chose to switch to Kosovo when they became a FIFA member two years ago.
The Mag – 27 November 2017:
Newcastle United are going to try and sign Valon Berisha in January according to reports on Monday morning.
The 24 year old plays for FC Salzburg in central midfield and is one of their star players.
As well as topping the domestic league in Austria, Valon Berisha has also helped his team to impressive form in Europe.
Knocked out of the qualifying stages in the Champions League, FC Salzburg have gone on to be unbeaten in their Europa League group and have qualified for the next stage top of the group with a game to spare.
However, Kosovan Football report that Newcastle are keen to take him to St James Park in January to help with their tough return to the Premier League.
Valon Berisha has already packed a lot into his football career and life generally, born in Sweden to Kosovar immigrants.
However, he grew up in Norway and made his debut in Norwegian domestic football at the age of just 15 back in 2008 and after four years playing for clubs there, was then brought to Austria to play for an FC Salzburg team now backed by the money of their Red Bull owners.
This is now his sixth season playing for FC Salzburg and in all competitions has scored seven goals from midfield.
After playing at all levels of youth football for Norway, Valon Berisha went on to play 20 times for the senior team.
However, when Kosovo became a FIFA member last year, he asked for the chance to play for them instead, the governing body agreeing to his request.
It is obviously a massive leap from the level of the Austrian league to that of the Premier League but players such as Sadio Mane have shown what potential there can be, moving from FC Salzburg to Southampton and then Liverpool.
Another player to add to the ever growing January list of potential Newcastle signings.
The Mag – 9 June 2015:
Veton Berisha is the latest player linked with a move to Newcastle this summer.
The striker went on a trial with brother Valon to Manchester City in 2009 before returning to Norway and signing with Viking.
Now aged 21, this season has seen Veton Berisha finally establish himself at club level and has scored 8 goals in 12 league games, having previously scored 13 in 80 games spread over four years.
The Chronicle claim that Newcastle are interested in signing up the Norwegian Under 21 international, especially as they claim that his contract is due to end shortly.
That is largely immaterial anyway as compensation would have to be paid even if he ended up not signing a new contract at Viking.
Another factor is that due to the harsh winter climate, the season in Norway runs from March to November and so when exactly he is contracted to is open to question. Viking are currently sixth in the table after 12 games of the season.