How the ‘new Ibra’ ticks all the boxes – Man United and Chelsea target assessed

first_img Friends Arena: Alexander Isak plies his trade at the Stockholm-based stadium In years gone by, pint-sized Argentine attackers have often been dubbed the ‘New Diego Maradona’. Ariel Ortega, Javier Saviola and Franco di Santo, among others, were tipped to follow in the great man’s footsteps, yet all struggled with the tag.All in all, Lionel Messi has been the only true heir to the throne, with some suggesting his exploits outshine that of Maradona. Nevertheless, any young player who excels is often likened to one of the nation’s great footballing talents.The latest in the Swedish production line is young Alexander Isak, who has – of course – been tagged the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic.The Manchester United man has even reportedly stated he wants the Premier League side to sign the 17-year-old, who has developed a WhoScored.com strength of ‘finishing’ having bagged nine league goals for AIK Fotboll this season. Like Ousmane Dembele last season, Isak is already attracting interest from a number of top teams across Europe, with United and Chelsea among the potential suitors.At 6’3”, the similarities between the teenager and Ibrahimovic are not without reason given their standing and technical qualities. Isak’s stature means he’s been able to stand up to the physical demands of the Allsvenskan with consummate ease, which has only increased his popularity among European giants. However, for a player his size, Isak is not prepared to simply remain static in the opposition area and wait for goalscoring chances to be presented to him. Rather, he is more than capable of running the channels to capitalise on any balls placed down the flanks and to chase down opponents to apply pressure on the defence and increase the likelihood of an opportunity being forged.Indeed, it’s this approach that has helped Isak muster a shot on goal every 29.9 minutes and a key pass every 64 minutes in Sweden’s top tier this term. While Ibrahimovic would rather drop deeper to receive possession, Isak adopts a different approach, but both are just as effective when it comes to pressuring the opposition goal.However, that is not to say he does not maximise his strength to put the ball in the back of the net, with two of his nine league goals this season being headers, accentuating a WhoScored.com strength of ‘headed attempts’. Furthermore, he utilises his strength when in possession, which is an asset when it comes to playing the role of the lone frontman. A dribble success rate of 63.9% is a respectable figure for the striker and is one of the better returns of the 46 players to attempt 30 or more dribbles in the Allsvenskan this term.With a greater onus on lone strikers to either drop deep or run the channels, Isak ticks all the boxes of the modern day forward.“Even when he was 10, he had an extremely developed game. He had nice feet and fine qualities in this way. Properties that you look at and that can help you to become a good player as a senior,” AIK scouting director Tobias Ackerman said of Isak and it is clear that all those associated with the club are aware that the teenage attacker has a bright future in the game, be it in Sweden or elsewhere.Isak has all the attributes to succeed in the game, with it being a little shock that football’s biggest teams are courting the youngster. If he can continue his rapid development in the right environment, then the ‘New Ibrahimovic’ billing will be well and truly justified.For more stats on Alexander Isak, click here to view his WhoScored.com player page 2 2last_img read more