The big news out of Salzburg is that stalwart super-striker (172 goals in 202 games for RB Salzburg, says Salzburger Nachrichten) Jonathan Soriano is hoping to get a big-money move to China completed before the transfer window to the Chinese Super League closes on Tuesday, February 28.
Salzburg Sporting Director (RBNY used to have one of them; good times) Christoph Freund has given a widely reported interview to Sky in which he confirms that Soriano has a chance to take "an extraordinary offer and an extraordinary sum" for a move to Beijing Guoan, and the club will not stand in his way.
Gulbrandsen is a 24-year-old forward with three caps for Norway to his name. He started his career at Lillestrom (Wikipedia says he is the youngest player to appear for the club's first team), moving to Molde in 2013. With Molde, he won a Norwegian League and Cup double in 2014. In the summer of 2016, he joined RB Salzburg a few months before his contract with Molde expired.
Only a recent arrival at Salzburg and reportedly under contract until 2019, the Norwegian has struggled to crack the starting lineup in Austria. He has nine appearances - four starts - and two goals for Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga so far this season.
Reliably a "one-in-two" striker (one goal every two games or so, on average) during his time with Molde, Gulbrandsen was described as a signing who would add "extra quality, goals and combat power" by Salzburg's Christoph Freund when the Norwegian's signing was announced.
Freund gives the impression of being a plainspoken sporting director. In his no-nonsense account of Soriano's pending departure (which is a big deal for Salzburg, Soriano is a significant presence in the team), he reminded the press that "it can go quickly, but before the ink is dry, you cannot fix it." Translation: the deal isn't done until it is done, regardless of how much good will exists on all sides for it to happen.
As for Soriano, so too for Gulbrandsen. Freund described the player's move to RBNY only as a "possibility". Until the ink is dry, you cannot fix it.
Still, Gulbrandsen ticks a lot of boxes for RBNY. Head coach Jesse Marsch confirmed that his team was "hopeful to make one more attacking addition" in his comments at Red Bulls Media Day. And the club has recently favored recruiting from within the family of Global Red Bull soccer clubs: Omer Damari joined RBNY on loan from RB Leipzig last season for a few months; effort was made to persuade Terrence Boyd to make a similar move this year.
The latter move didn't work out, and Marsch has said clearly he perceives there is room for one more forward-thinking player in his squad. Nor do we have any reason to suggest Christoph Freund is either a liar or deluded about the potential personnel moves in and out of his club.
So RBNY is giving thought to another synergy transfer from the Red Bull family. A loan perhaps, since it seems improbable the Red Bulls are in the mood to buy out the remaining two-and-a-half years of Gulbrandsen's contract on the basis of his scant appearances for Salzburg.
The ink isn't dry, we cannot fix it. But it shouldn't be too long before we find out whether RBNY - which has already missed out on Terrence Boyd - gets its man this time.