Despite lucrative offers from foreign clubs such as Blackburn Rovers, Celtic, Hertha Berlin and Hoffenheim, Marc Janko agreed to remain with Red Bull Salzburg because he has unfinished business in Austria.
“I still have a mission to accomplish here in Salzburg,” explains the 6ft 5in striker who signed a two-year extension to his contract, keeping him with Die Bullen until 2013.
“My career is at a turning point and in order to reach the next level I need stability and focus now. Therefore, I have decided to stay.”
Not surprisingly the 25-year-old’s wages have increased significantly, with Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz admitting: “You cannot expect somebody to turn down a £1.5million offer from an English club and instead play for £30,000 in Salzburg.”
But according to his agent, Georg Stangassinger, Janko decided to stay put because he wants some continuity.
“He has played an excellent first half of the season, but he wants to find stability. After all, he was injured for most of last season and also previously hampered by injuries,” says Stangassinger. “Marc hopes to win the ESM Golden Shoe and then play in the Champions League with Salzburg before he joins a foreign club.”
With 30 goals in 21 matches during the opening half of the Austrian championship, Janko was top of the rankings for European league goalscorers. And although he missed a penalty and hit the post against defending champions Rapid Wien when the season restarted, he still scored one goal and provided an assist for the other in a 2-1 win that kept him in line for the ESM Golden Shoe and Salzburg on course for their second title in three years.
“I am happy that we won the game and I continued my scoring streak,” says Janko.
“Missing the penalty was unlucky, but those things happen. Although the championship is not decided yet, that victory was certainly a big step into the right direction.”
Janko’s third target during his extended stay at Salzburg is to help the club make their mark in Europe.
This season they went out of the UEFA Cup in the first round to two-time winners Sevilla and Janko says: “Sevilla were tough opponents, but I believe we have learned a lot since and are a much stronger side now. I am confident that we can achieve something in Europe next season.”
He is also facing a new challenge on the international front as new national team coach Didi Constantini tries to pick up the pieces following the sacking of Karel Bruckner.
“Didi has huge experience and was an international himself,” says Janko. “He has proven that he can turn things round quickly on a club level several times. I am convinced he is going to lead Austria back into the heights of the footballing world.”