Wolverhampton Wanderers are currently in talks with Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart over a move for Austrian international striker Sasa Kalajdzic, according to The Athletic.
The Athletic journalist David Ornstein took to Twitter to reveal Wolves’ interest in the forward, tweeting: “Wolves in talks with Stuttgart to sign striker Sasa Kalajdzic. 25yo Austria int’l also speaking to WWFC over personal terms.
“No formal offer or agreement yet & sense is he’s among a number of options being explored.”
🚨 Wolves in talks with Stuttgart to sign striker Sasa Kalajdzic. 25yo Austria int’l also speaking to #WWFC over personal terms. No formal offer or agreement yet & sense is he’s among a number of options being explored @TheAthleticUK after @Plettigoal #VfB https://t.co/T0Yvrum35Z
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) August 22, 2022
It is reported that Stuttgart want a fee of around €25million (£21.2m) for Kalajdzic, 25, who is thought to be discussing personal terms with the club. Wolves are desperately in the market for a forward, with just Raul Jimenez on their books after loaning Fabio Silva to Belgian outfit Anderlecht.
Who is Sasa Kalajdzic?
Kalajdzic joined Stuttgart from the Austrian side, Admira Wacker, in 2019 and has made 60 appearances for the club, scoring 24 goals.
The Austria international enjoyed a fruitful 2020-21 campaign, bagging 16 goals in 33 Bundesliga appearances, but injuries restricted him to just 15 league appearances during the 2021/22 season, but he still managed a respectable six goals as they narrowly avoided relegation to the German second division.
The 25-year-old is also a regular with the Austrian international side, going on to register 15 appearances, and four goals with his first caps coming in 2020.
Kalajdzic is a regular fixture in the Stuttgart XI, and has featured in their first three Bundesliga games so far this campaign, picking up three assists but with his current deal running out next summer, it means the German outfit may have to cash in on their star man.
What will the Austrian bring to the Molineux?
Considering their uninspiring record in front of goal last season, scoring just 38 goals in the Premier League – the 4th worst in the top flight – it’s only right the club scour the market for a goalscorer to challenge Raul Jimenez. Kalajdzic is one of a number of options the club are considering as Lage looks to bolster his attacking options, and considering the abilities the Austrian holds in his weaponry, he could represent a very smart addition.
Standing at 6 foot 7, many would attribute the Austrian to being a target-man-like forward, but his game runs much more deeper and accomplished than that. Kalajdzic is far from your typical tall and lanky frontman who only holds the ball up and brings others in to play.
The 25-year-old is an intimidating presence, drawing favourable comparisons to Edin Dzeko and former Liverpool and Southampton striker Peter Crouch. While his playing styles are similar to both decorated forwards, the Austrian in actual fact is technically better than them.
The striker has a lot more to his game than just being an aerial presence. He is technically proficient, incredibly mobile for a player his size, a fantastic link man but also real grafter out of possession too. A player not afraid to do the dirty work if needed. He is also comfortable dropping in between the lines to get involved in the build-up, whilst also laying off passes to midfield runners.
As per FBRef, his numbers highlight show that he is more than your typical penalty box target man. He’s a creative weapon also. Over the past year, in comparison to other forwards in Europe’s top five leagues, Kalajdzic ranks in the 87th percentile of forwards for assists per 90, the 90th percentile for key passes and the 73rd percentile for shot-creating actions per 90. He’s also ranked in the 73rd percentile for through balls highlighting that he holds the vision, nous and technique to perform eye of the needle passes for others around him.
The Austrian’s style fits Bruno Lage’s fluid system to a tee, as it strongly requires a mobile, dynamic and swash-buckling forward well prepared to put the hard yards in, to bully opposing defenders but also offer much in the creative sense.
He is deceptively quick so will have no problems latching on to the end of through balls or loose passes, via standing on the shoulder of the last defender or whether pulling wide to create space for his fellow attacking players. More importantly, every modern forward is required to press from the front and set the tone for those behind him. While he isn’t amongst the best of them, Kalajdzic still offers much in his pressing. He ranks in the 69th percentile of forwards for pressures per 90, the 74th percentile for successful pressures per 90 and in the 81st percentile for pressures in the attacking third.
Moreover, Kalajdzic’s excellent hold-up play and his momentous abilities in his aerial duels will ensure Wolves have the option of relieving pressure by lumping balls up to him. The 25-year-old striker will be another acquisition for Wolves in a market where they have pushed for quality over quantity. Providing they complete the deal, Lage will be acquiring a player well suited to the demands of Premier League football.