Dusan Vlahovic’s 33 objectives for Fiorentina in 2021 have propelled him to stardom and alerted Premier League sides to a possible coup. What makes him so particular, and will he be the subsequent younger striker to dominate European soccer?
“I am the Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Belgrade, I will play for the biggest clubs.”
Valeri Bojinov was main the road for Partizan as he witnessed a pimply 15-year-old change into the membership’s youngest-ever participant, goalscorer and debutant in Belgrade’s Eternal derby towards Red Star.
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Week after week, Vlahovic repeated his aspirations to Bojinov. It wasn’t lengthy till the previous Manchester City striker urged then-Fiorentina sporting director Italo Corvino to fork out £1.7m for his younger understudy.
“He was crazy, really crazy,” Bojinov mentioned. “But I liked his arrogance. I thought he would become a strong player.”
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Vlahovic's technical and bodily improvement all through his 4 years at Fiorentina is obvious
The Serb tiptoed his approach into Florence upon his 18th birthday and instantly did what was finest to endear himself to the locals: studying Italian by day and scoring objectives at evening.
Then, when Inter Milan got here to city in December 2019, Vlahovic picked his second. After 91 gruelling minutes towards the champions-elect and finest defence in Italy, he peeled away from his marker in his personal half, sprinted previous the final man and curled a shot in on the far nook.
Since then, his rise has been meteoric. His 47 objectives in Italy thus far have signalled a watershed second in Fiorentina’s current historical past, permitting them to return to problem for Europe after one in all their worst-ever sides have been spared – twice – from relegation.
With Dusan Vlahovic being linked with a transfer to Arsenal, we have a look again at a few of his objectives for Serbia.
Upstaging Zlatan in his “home”
That strike towards Inter has since change into one in all his trademark moments however what actually units Vlahovic aside is the number of his objectives, particularly the 36 which got here in Serie A within the final 13 months.
Dusan Vlahovic has scored a league-topping 16 objectives in Serie A this season and in addition ranks among the many elite for duels and aerials
Despite an imposing 6ft 3in body, he has solely two headed objectives to point out for it, and his most defining strikes have been a showpiece of his athleticism and taking pictures from any vary. His shot conversion price is among the highest in Italy and that features free-kicks and penalties – over which he retains a 100 per cent document.
There’s extra to him than meets the attention, too. As Bojinov found, his starvation to get to the very high is the driving pressure behind his improvement. What transpires from his interviews and physique language is that this innate urge for food for success which make the parallels with a younger Zlatan appear befitting.
Vlahovic's brace towards AC Milan in November ensured he got here out on high of his idol Zlatan Ibrahimovic
When Fiorentina hosted AC Milan in November, Vlahovic crossed paths along with his proclaimed idol and on the pitch, it was a case of “whatever you can do, I can do better”. Each participant scored a brace but it surely was the Serb’s that received the sport – in that second, his immense potential intersected with Ibrahimovic’s timeless excellence.
After scoring his second, Vlahovic pointed all the way down to the Artemio Franchi turf as if to say “this is my home”. He made it in Florence aged simply 21, and he knew it when he began being uttered in the identical sentence as Gabriel Batistuta.
For all of the love he acquired, and regardless of the board’s provide to make him the highest-paid participant in membership historical past, it is nearly sure he’ll go away the town in the identical style as Batigol – with a giant transfer to a title-winning facet.
The clever different to Haaland?
If 2020 was the yr of Erling Haaland, 2021 belonged to Vlahovic. His 33 Serie A objectives have been bettered solely by Robert Lewandowski in Europe’s high 5 leagues and allowed him to match the Italian document set by Cristiano Ronaldo in a calendar yr. Not unhealthy for somebody who was emulating CR7’s celebration a number of years again.
Perhaps what defines Vlahovic finest is the scary velocity at which he has burned bridges to morph into the proper prototype of a contemporary striker, one thing paying homage to his huge Norwegian peer.
“Maybe he’s only quicker than me, but we’re neck and neck on the rest,” Vlahovic instructed DAZN.
Tall, bodily, athletic, impudent, cold-blooded, bullish, continually hungry for extra and born days into the brand new millennium: it actually does look like the 2 left-footed sharpshooters have been made out of the identical mould.
Vlahovic scored extra league objectives than Haaland in 2021 – and will find yourself having extra suitors than the Norwegian
But whereas Haaland is extra of a field participant and will get concerned within the staff’s build-up or because the supplier, Vlahovic is a extra conventional goal man who likes to play on the shoulders of defenders and will get on the tip of the attacking chain.
The race for Haaland will duly warmth up in June when his reported 75m Euros (£62.5m) launch clause is activated and, by his agent Mino Raiola’s personal admission, there are solely 4 golf equipment that he might take into account becoming a member of – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
So with all choices nonetheless broad open and 18 months remaining on his contract, it appears like Vlahovic might spark an excellent greater battle for an excellent smaller charge in the summertime.
His pure profession development and bodily qualities make the Premier League – and Champions League – the logical subsequent step in his profession. Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle have already been linked with a transfer however there shall be extra suitors come June. The time shall be ripe for Vlahovic himself to select the subsequent stage of his glittering profession.
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