Swedish youngster Alexander Isak is the latest ‘wonderkid’ to get the gossip press all hot and bothered as speculation continues to increase about which European power will win the metaphorical ‘race’ for his coveted signature.
The latest reports from his native Sweden have suggested that 90 or more scouts from many of Europe’s biggest and most famous clubs including Real Madrid, who bagged fellow Scandinavian starlet Martin Odegaard the moment he turned 16, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Liverpool and others have all travelled to see him.
Christened the ‘new Ibrahimovic’ by AIK Stockholm team-mate Chinedu Obasi after two goals away from home in last month’s big city derby against Djurgardens, Isak has a big reputation already. But it comes from what he’s achieved on the pitch instead of just empty hype.
“His performance is like boxing in the ring. All predictions are based on performances in the ring, and Isaac’s accomplishments on the field speak for themselves,” Obasi told Swedish newspaper Expressen after the Djurgardens game – the same day as Isak’s 17th birthday.
“Moreover, he is a nice person. I hope he continues to keep his cool and fight on. Then he can go far,” the Nigerian international and Olympic bronze medallist added.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic himself is reported to be a fan and has even supposedly personally recommended Isak to two of his former clubs in Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. Mention of the veteran’s current employers at Old Trafford have unsurprisingly never been far away whenever the teenager has commanded media attention in recent weeks.
Born in the Solna district of the greater Stockholm area in 1999, Isak has been with AIK since the age of six and has risen rapidly through the ranks, training with the senior squad for the first-time two years ago. He only signed his first professional contract in May of this year and has already scored nine times in 20 Allsvenskan games.
This year alone, Isak has represented Sweden at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 level, his debut for the latter coming just this month in the most recent international break.
Full of pace and with two good feet, the player already stands well over six feet tall and promises to be an incredible physical presence – there is the Ibrahimovic comparison again – once he begins to mature into full blown adulthood and add muscle mass in the coming years.
“I have to eat more and gain more strength. It might get a little more muscle with age. I’m not that old yet,” Isak told Aftonbladet back in April when he was studying his first year of economics at Solna High School.
That same interview described the youngster as “thoughtful” in his answers and noted how he did not show the same signs of arrogance that can be so common in young footballers, aligning with what Obasi said about his character.
Isak of course looks up to Ibrahimovic, as any young Swedish player would, but his real role model is 32-year-old Henok Goitom, a former AIK striker now with San Jose Earthquakes in the United States. They share the same east African fansitedbusrs in Eritrea – the pair’s fathers are friends – and Goitom recently gave Isak a shout out on Twitter while watching a game.
Isak is well aware of the interest in his services that has been bubbling away for months, although his commitment right now seems to be with AIK and not a European giant.
“There are great clubs, and good facilities,” he said, once more to Aftonbladet.
“It also depends what the club (AIK) has planned, as it may be tempting to see players get the chance in the first team here in Sweden. I’d rather play for AIK. That is the situation right now, but you cannot just decide that it should be so.
“I would most of all like to play at AIK, but anything can happen.”
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