New arrival in Hütteldorf and other first team news
On the last day of the transfer window, the club has moved to land centre forward Aliou Badji. The 21-year-old Senegalese (189cm) arrives from Swedish first division outfit Djurgardens IF, for whom he scored 15 goals in 54 competitive appearances. Rapid representatives have reached an agreement with Badji that sees the striker join on a 3.5 year contract that will run until Summer 2022. The transfer fee will remain undisclosed. Badji will don the shirt number 27.
Sporting Director Fredy Bickel: "Aliou Badji is a player that we've had on our list since Autumn as one of three top transfer targets for the striker position. It was a particularly difficult transfer for us to get over the line, as until recent negotiations, the asking price for the player was beyond our means. Everyone, including the trainer team, has fought to get him to the club and we're therefore delighted that we've managed to bring him in!"
Head Coach Did Kühbauer: "We wanted beyond a shadow of a doubt to bring in a striker and we’re all very pleased that we've manged to do just that. Not because we don't trust our current batch of forwards, but because we wanted to increase competition for places. I'm delighted to welcome Aliou Badji, and he now has the chance – as does every other player – to work hard in training and show us that he deserves a place in the starting eleven."
Striker Aliou Badji: "I'm delighted that the transfer to Rapid has gone through. Clearly, I know the club through the media, the reputation of the fans and also its appearances in European competitions. I’m an honest, hard-working player and will try to get established in the team as soon as possible because I want to show everyone why the club has brought me in."
As well as new signings, there is more team news to report:
SK Rapid Reserve midfielder Philipp Malicsek's contract was set to expire in the summer but will now be terminated with immediate effect by mutual consent. The 21-year old has made 16 first team appearances spread across two seasons and will join FAC. "Unfortunately, Philipp never quite fully made the breakthrough into the first team and we wish him all the best for the next steps in his career," said Sporting Director Fredy Bickel.
A possible loan move beckons for Ivan Mocinic, as the midfielder continues his comeback from injury. "Until that time he’ll remain a part of our first team squad and will continue to train as such," confirmed Fredy Bickel.
Midfielder Kelvin Arase, who trained with the first team during the winter camp in Belek, moves with immediate effect on loan to SV Horn where he will gain valuable playing experience. "At the moment he won't get the necessary minutes on the pitch for us due to the competition we have in his position, but the loan will give that opportunity. He'll also continue to train with us wherever possible," said SK Rapid’s Sporting Director.
Midfielder Melih Ibrahimoglu has linked back up with SK Rapid Reserves and stays in Belek with Head Coach Muhammet Akagündüz's side.