Bundesliga News

Danso speaks on Augsburg departure: "I knew they were giving me the runaround."

By Peter Vice

FC Augsburg and Austrian defender Kevin Danso finally completed what could be described as a messy divorce on Friday evening. 

Journalist David Bernreuther of German footballing magazine Kicker managed to get a hold of the disaffected 22-year-old shortly thereafter in order to get his side of the story. 

We're pleased to provide a transcript of that interview.

Bulinews' Peter Vice supplies the translation. 

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The saga of Augsburg's Kevin Danso stretched out for a most uncomfortable three weeks. After the 22-year-old Austrian was told to leave the FCA training camp in mid-July, Germany's Fuggerstädter were finally able to swing a transfer to the player's preferred club of RC Lens yesterday.

FCA sporting director Stefan Reuter waxed oddly sentimental when acknowledging Danso's departure. The Bundesliga footballing executive made clear that the club thought highly of him and had plans in place to use him this season.

The nature of the statement naturally left one curious as to what Danso himself thought of the situation. Journalist David Bernreuther contacted the play to solicit a response.

Bernreuther: Mr. Danso, it would be best if we started at the beginning. You informed FC Augsburg that you would no longer be able to train and play for the FCA. Why, from your perspective, was this step necessary?

Danso: That's how it was presented, but that's not how it happened. I'm not one who simply says, 'I don't feel like it anymore'. I had repeatedly told the FCA that I wished to leave the club because I saw no prospects of playing regularly. I was eventually told that I couldn't make a move within the Bundesliga and could only go abroad and that the club would then work on a transfer that fit this condition. Then an offer came in and Augsburg didn't work on it. The FCA didn't keep their word. As a player, this was difficult for me to understand. It was mentally taxing.

Bernreuther: And what did you do then?

Danso: I went to the coach and said that I wasn't mentally prepared to play. Everyone knows that a lot can happen in a situation in which one isn't 100 percent focused. It was a matter of my fitness. I could have trained, but I couldn't play at that point. The coach then gave me three options: either you train/play, pack your bags, or find a club that's willing to buy you for €12 million. I said that was unrealistic and definitely not in line with the market for someone like me, who played in the second division last year.

Bernreuther: And what happened next?

Danso: I went out on the pitch and trained, but it was insufficient for the coach. Two hours later, I was sent home from camp. It wasn't as if I wished to leave of my own volition.

Bernreuther: And after that you were listed as sick. Why is that?

Danso: Because of the mental burden. That's not just empty talk. I genuinely wasn't feeling well. I was in great distress and didn't feel well handled. That can be dangerous in terms of injuries. I was able to get a medical attestation from a doctor describing my condition.

Bernreuther: Coach Marcus Weinzierl and managing director had previously praised you publicly. Augsburg had major personnel problems at your position. Is it not the duty of a professional to fight with all of his might for a position in the team?

Danso: I put a lot into training, but just didn't feel well anymore. I was told that I could break into the team this season. I nevertheless overheard the same people saying that they only saw me as a back-up. I don't want to be a back-up anymore. I'm at an age at which I have to assert myself in order to accomplish my professional goals.

Bernreuther: But competition is quite normal in football. Very few players have a steady place in their early 20s.

Danso: I love competition. That's why I became a professional. I still want fair competition in which I have the chance to be number one or number two. I'm ambitious and want to take the next step. If the opportunity to do that is better somewhere else, then I want to take that chance.

Bernreuther: But you signed a contract with Augsburg through 2024. You can't decide on your own when you wish to leave.

Danso: The club knew for over two years that I wanted to leave. Every year they acted as if it was a surprise that I wanted to leave.

Bernreuther: Did you have the feeling that your desire to leave would not be taken seriously if you continued to muddle on through?

Danso: That's exactly how I felt. I asked myself, "Do I have to train poorly or react as other players in the past have done before they understand that I want a new start?"

Bernreuther: Did you have the feeling that your desire to leave would not be taken seriously if you continued to muddle on through?

Danso: I don't have such a fear. It was a decision in the interest of my career and I will make the best out of it. On the flip side of things, I'm grateful to FC Augsburg. Unfortunately we were unable to part on cordial terms and instead had to do it this way. That's a great shame.

Bernreuther: You moved to Augsburg from England [MK Dons] at 15. In 2019, you signed a five-year-contract. How was it that the relationship of trust between you and the club deteriorated so quickly?

Danso: FC Augsburg made me a professional. I'm very grateful for that. It wasn't one, but many things that led to the breakdown in trust. Other players were constantly brought in at my position. I was sometimes benched after a poor performance even though I was the only center halve. When I asked the coach about my benching, I was told I was too aggressive. There were also accusations that I was undisciplined, but that's completely pulled out of thin air. The club has known me since I was 15. When they portrayed me like that, I knew they were giving me the runaround.

Bernreuther: After a tough fight, you're now allowed to transfer. You haven't partaken in team training for three weeks and the season starts on Sunday with Lens. Do you feel fit and what are your goals for the season?

Danso: I've trained as much as I could on my own for the past three weeks and feel ready. I want to break through and play as many games as possible, which was unfortunately not possible in Augsburg.

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