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MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 06: Alexander Isak of Real Sociedad celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Copa del Rey Quarter Final match between Real Madrid CF and Real Sociedad at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 06, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Arsenal: 3 reasons Alexander Isak is perfect for Gunners
By Ross Kennerley
https://paininthearsenal.com/2021/06/09 ... k-perfect/
4 hours ago
Arsenal currently have a world class centre-forward on their books. https://paininthearsenal.com/2021/06/08 ... ns-enough/ He also happens to be the highest paid player at the club and has just come off the back of a season in which those two points can be brought into question.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did not have a great 2020/21. There is no point going through the factors that offer him mitigation once again – those that undoubtedly had an impact in his output – but as an overall package he did disappoint. The striker will be 32 years old by the time the next Premier League https://www.90min.com/leagues/premier-league season kicks off.
Yet, with a stronger midfield, https://paininthearsenal.com/2021/06/08 ... -transfer/ he will be scoring again. His career reads goals and his importance reads a lot. There will come a time further down the line, however, perhaps even as early as next summer, where Arsenal will need to look to the future.
They already are. The Athletic https://theathletic.co.uk/2638584/2021/ ... -watching/ report that Euro 2020 will be an opportunity for Arsenal to continue taking a look at Alexander Isak, a player who the club have been monitoring https://paininthearsenal.com/2021/03/27 ... r-targets/ and someone who Edu is a ‘big fan’ of.
3 reasons Alexander Isak the perfect centre-forward to be Arsenal’s long-term option under Mikel Arteta
Boasting five centre-forwards on the books at present, two of those could be on the move this summer as Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette enter the final years of their contracts and look like bidding farewell to north London. With exciting 19-year-old Folarin Balogun signing a long-term deal there is depth primed for the future, but there will come a stage where Aubameyang departs and needs replacing.
Isak is a special talent who can be that man.
Bursting on to the scene with hometown club AIK, he then joined Borussia Dortmund https://bvbbuzz.com/ where he was unable to break into the senior fold regularly. A loan spell at Willem II in the Netherlands shot him back up to prominence and Real Sociedad saw fit to part with just under £6m two summers ago.
Off the back of his best scoring season to date, Europe is on high alert. Arsenal are too, and they should be: he’d be the perfect centre-forward under Mikel Arteta.
*stats courtesy of fbref https://fbref.com/en/players/8e92be30/s ... ing-Report and Understat https://understat.com/player/5232
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – JUNE 05: Alexander Isak of Sweden reacts after missed chance on goal during the international friendly match between Sweden and Armenia at Friends Arena on June 5, 2021 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)
1. Alexander Isak is the Archetypal Modern Striker
The role of a lone centre-forward has changed considerably down the years. Gone are the days of duel strikers as the 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 were ushered into the modern world, and now the remit for what a No. 9 does has altered.
Varying their skillsets from being pure 18-yard box predators, the need to be involved in phases of play both as a linking mechanism and as high-line presser have bestowed more responsibility upon strikers.
Isak does this role at Socieded superbly, with his heightened technical ability ensuring those facets are carried out to a consistently high level. He is someone who will work the channels, press from the front, not be afraid to shoot and play with his back to goal to invite his side to build.
Arsenal would love, ideally, someone who encompasses traits of both Aubameyang and Lacazette. He wouldn’t need to be a high-touch forward but the demands of coming short to link play and being a nuisance to opposition backlines have to be included. Isak is all of that but will also carry possession more progressively than he passes it and hold up the ball well when found at range.
Standing at 6’2″, his lanky legs are deceptively fast along the ground; he does boast a quick turn of pace and when galloping at length can reach commendable speeds. Playing on the shoulder he’s a constant threat, keeping defenders on their toes.
As far as a package – still with definite rough edges and a fat transfer fee hanging over his head – he would slot in this Arsenal team like a glove.
SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN – JULY 02: Alexander Isak of Sociedad celebrates scoring the second goal during the Liga match between Real Sociedad and RCD Espanyol at Reale Arena on July 02, 2020 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
2. Alexander Isak is Only Getting Better
Trajectory is so key, especially with players of Isak’s age.
As a keen follower of Swedish football (it helps having lived there for 14 years) even from his time with AIK the noticeable trait of Isak is that he has consistently improved year upon year. Dortmund didn’t quite work out for him, largely due to the timing of the move and the unsuitable fit, but he’s not looked back since.
Isak’s debut campaign in La Liga was a mixed bag. Netting 16 goals across his 45 outings was a strong return, yet only nine of those came in league appearances. Only just outscoring his xG that season (9 goals from 8.36 xG), he followed suit in the most recent campaign by nearly doubling his overall output for expected goals. 17 non-penalty goals in La Liga from 14.7 npxG is a very strong return and one that only shows signs of climbing next year.
Building on from 2019/20, Isak’s movement has improved dramatically, understanding space with trained eyes and believing in his own ability to shoot. That campaign he only took on 44 shots, a figure that has nearly doubled with him taking 81 in 2020/21. This is partly down to the broader range of shots he attempts, the result of work on the training ground and greater self-belief.
Fine-tuning each element of his vast ability, Arsenal would be getting someone with their whole career ahead of them who is growing with each season and improving in every department.
At 21 years of age there is plenty more to come.
MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 12: Alexander Isak of Real Sociedad during the La Liga Santander match between Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on May 12, 2021 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
3. Alexander Isak is Not Perfect but Arsenal Can Work With That
He may be listed as the ‘perfect’ centre-forward for Arsenal, but that word is hyperbolic. There are only a handful of players ever to grace the game who come close to that description.
As fine a player as Isak is and with as much potential as he has, there are still many rough edges to him. Despite standing at well over six foot tall, his success rate in aerial duels leaves plenty to be desired.
That tall frame is still far from being a strong one, as his 38.7% of aerials won has him in the lowly 50th percentile. He doesn’t rank highly for ball recoveries, tackles and interceptions (28th percentile) either, albeit those numbers different depending on a particular striker’s job role. Aubameyang, for comparison, is in the 3rd percentile for tackles and interceptions.
Isak does need to hit the gym. Being as tall as he is at such a young age he will naturally bulk up, but if he were to come up against Premier League centre-backs in his current physique his numbers for duels won would drop even further.
This, on top of the need to sometimes slow his though processes down, work on his passing range and not be afraid to set himself before shooting are all areas for development. Weaknesses in some eyes, but development opportunity elsewhere. In the right environment, like Sociedad has been for him, all of the above can be moulded to suit the team he plays for. That’s exciting.
Of course, the elephant in the room is his £60m release clause. There is always hope for some wiggle room to settle for less, but Sociedad know the value of their asset. Despite the European Championships coming up there is no well documented interest in Isak other than Arsenal monitoring him, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him remain with Real.
Is £60m a lot? It is and it isn’t. With strikers of wide-ranging skillsets either extortionately expensive (Haaland) or hard to come across, any such investment would be made with years ahead to extract full value. As it is, wherever Isak goes he will be worth it.
Or, Balogun can continue his exciting trajectory and the chequebook can remain closed. That would also be nice, but for now none fit the mould quite like the Swede. https://paininthearsenal.com/2021/06/09 ... eover-kse/
Last edited by Zmeselo on 10 Jun 2021, 01:05, edited 1 time in total.
90min's Our 21: Real Sociedad and Sweden's Alexander Isak
By Ross Jackson
https://www.90min.com/posts/introducing ... ander-isak
Jun 5, 2021
Image by 90min
What were you doing when you were 17 years old?
If you're anything like us you'll have been spending your weekends working in a rubbish job for a bit of pocket money while making cameo appearances at college through the week.
Alexander Isak was signing for Borussia Dortmund and had already scored his first international goal...at 17!
Alexander Isak already has 20 caps for Sweden / David Lidstrom/Getty Images
Now 21, Isak is currently plying his trade at Real Sociedad and with 17 goals in 34 games this season he's attracting more than his fair share of admiring glances.
So who is the player being linked with a move to Real Madrid https://www.90min.com/teams/real-madrid and Barcelona? Here's everything you need to know about him...
How he's performed this season
Alexander Isak has been superb this season / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
The Sweden international struggled to make an impact having moved to Dortmund at such a young age and was shipped off to Real Sociedad in 2019.
After a decent first season where he scored nine goals in 37 league games, the youngster has really hit the ground running in his second campaign with Sociedad, scoring at a ratio of a goal every other game in La Liga as he bagged 17 strikes to finish sixth in the goalscoring chart.
Isak is an out-and-out striker, though one of the best parts about his game is that he can do a bit of everything.
At 6ft 2in he's a pretty big unit so can play as a target man and has the technical ability to keep hold of the ball when it's played into his feet.
Isak is a real threat when running in behind a backline / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images
While he's an extremely competent focal point to the attack, Isak's real strengths lie in running in behind the backline and he's a great player to have if your side is looking to play on the counter.
Who does he play like?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexander Isak in Sweden training / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/Getty Images
Any guesses who the talented Swedish centre-forward has been compared to?
Of course it's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Isak has all the attributes the Milan frontman has built a career on including a quality touch and good hold up play - we're not saying he's as good as him before you start, just that their styles of play are similar.
Well, who doesn't aspire to be a lion? (Except for everyone over the age of seven).
What his teammates have said
- Former AIK teammate Nils-Eric JohanssonThere are many talented young players, but they usually need time before learning to connect with each other and play like a team. Isak was just 16, but played like a 26-year-old. That was absolutely remarkable.
- Former AIK teammate Chinedu ObasiHe’s a big talent, he has enormous potential. He can become the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
FIFA 21 rating and potential
When you kick off your career mode on FIFA 21, Isak already has a solid rating of 78, though a potential rating of 86 with a four-star skill moves rating making him a must-buy.
Football Manager rating
Everyone loves a wonderkid on Football Manager and Isak is precisely that.
The youngster's physical stats including acceleration, pace and jumping reach are already that sweet, sweet green colour us FM nerds like to see, and with a valuation of just £8m he'll hardly leave you bankrupt if you can lure him away from Real Sociedad.
Isak's starting stats
By the year 2030 his stats look even better and with the right coaching you could have a superstar on your hands.
Isak's 2030 stats
What boots he'll wear at Euro 2020
Alexander Isak in adidas' Nemeziz 19.1 / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images
Isak is sponsored by adidas and is usually seen wearing the footwear giant's Nemeziz 19.1s, so he's likely to be sporting a similar pair at this summer's delayed Euro 2020 finals. https://www.90min.com/categories/euro-2020
How involved he'll be at Euro 2020
Isak will undoubtedly be a big part of Janne Andersson's plans at Euro 2020.
It was Andersson who handed the youngster his senior international debut back in 2017 and he's already racked up an impressive 20 caps.
Alexander Isak already has 20 caps for Sweden / Michael Campanella/Getty Images
With talisman Ibrahimovic https://www.90min.com/players/zlatan-ibrahimovic not making the cut due to injury, Sweden are in need of a focal point to their attack and Isak represents their next best option.
The Swedes certainly don't have an easy group but they'll fancy their chances of progressing from a pool containing Spain, Poland and Slovakia, and Isak will no doubt be key to their efforts.