Bulls want Barca star

Red Bull Salzburg (RBS) are eyeing up a versatile striker currently playing for UEFA Champions League winners FC Barcelona, it has emerged.

The Austrian Bundesliga vice champions are about to sign Jonathan Soriano who netted 32 times for Barca’s second team in Spain’s Segunda Division last year, according to sport newspapers. No other player scored more goals in Spain’s second-highest league in the 2010/2011 season.

Soriano, 25, could replace Joaquin Boghossian. The Uruguayan is tipped to return to his former club CA Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina after just one year at the Bulls. The 197-centimetre tall man failed to make the team’s starting line-up on a regular basis.

Red Bull recently signed Swedish midfielder Ramus Lindgren from Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam and ex-Werder Bremen defender Petri Pasanen. The Bulls, who won the league three times since their foundation in 2005, are currently managed by Dutchman Ricardo Moniz. Ex-Croatia captain Niko Kovac agreed to continue working as his assistant manager.

Red Bull have also signalised interest in Daniel Royer. However, bosses of ÖFB Cup champs SV Ried made clear that the winger was not for sale. “He will be with us for another season,” a club official stressed. Austria Vienna want to sign the national team star too.

Niklas Hoheneder joined Karlsruher SC. The former LASK Linz star decided to try himself in Germany’s second-highest league after a disappointing spell at Austria Vienna. The defender played for Czech giants Sparta Prague between 2009 and 2011.

Mario Haas and Samir Muratovic decided to stay at Sturm Graz. While Haas was expected to retire, Muratovic was chased by several clubs across the continent. Sturm won the Austrian Bundesliga last season. Franco Foda remains the team’s manager. The German was linked to a move to Eintracht Frankfurt and other clubs in his homeland.

Pavel Kostal left Wiener Neustadt. He will play for Hansa Rostock in Germany. Vaclav Kolousek also decided to leave the club formerly managed by new Rapid boss Peter Schöttel. It is unclear where the midfielder will ply his trade next season. Former national team star and First Vienna FC coach Peter Schöttel is now in charge in Wiener Neustadt. Billionaire businessman Frank Stronach’s recent decision to drastically cut financial support for the club he founded in 2008 tempted some of the team’s best players – including keeper Saso Fornezzi and striker Johannes Aigner to leave.

Meanwhile, a friendly between Rapid and TSG Hoffenheim ended in a goalless draw. Around 8,700 supporters attended the match at Vienna’s Gerhard Hanappi Stadium yesterday afternoon (Sun). Ex-national team defender Andreas Ibertsberger did not perform for the German team coached by Holger Stanislawski as he only recently recovered from an ankle injury.

Rapid aim to do better than last season which they ended in fifth out of 10 teams. The Green-Whites – whose reputation has been negatively affected by hooliganism among fans – signed striker Deni Alar (Kapfenberg) and midfielder Guido Burgstaller (Wiener Neustadt).

The club’s efforts to clarify their own role in the German Third Reich have been praised by historians. Rapid assigned Jakob Rosenberg and Georg Spitaler to find out whether players or officials engaged in Nazi crimes in the 1930s and 1940s. The results of their investigations can be found in a book called “Grün-weiß unterm Hakenkreuz” (www.doew.at, www.skrapid.at).