VfB Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic is not a well-known name for the masses.
But for a Bundesliga, German or Austrian persuasion, you probably know a lot about a player who has blown up at the top airport in the last 12 months.
Kalajdzic has actually been so impressive that he has already taken an interest in the Premier League, and Stuttgart are now looking nervously at their emails while waiting for a potential offer. West Ham were first linked with a £ 15m move back in March, to replace the now longtime Sebastien Haller, but it is now Champions League winners Chelsea who are believed to be circling.
The Blues are determined to land Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and are willing to pay up to £ 150 million to get an incredible deal. But even if it sounds like incredible money, BVB does not seem to have any intention of sanctioning a deal – leaving Kalajdzic as a more than credible alternative B.
Do you feel like you want to know more about Kalajdzic? Never be afraid of. 90 minutes is here.
Kalajdzic towers his opponents / Stuart Franklin / Getty Images
Standing at a monstrous 6’7, Kalajdzic has understandably received comparisons with Peter Crouch due to his height and equally narrow frame.
Crouch is a member of the Premier League 100 club, but that means comparisons are not a bad way to go. He has previously dealt with the subject, but admitted that he does not take it too seriously even though he took the positive.
With such a height, he could go to the WWE Performance Center before too long.
It comes as a shock that someone so great can ever be used anywhere other than as a striker or goalkeeper, really, but Kalajdzic was once none of those things.
In his youth career, the Austrian was actually used as a midfielder and tells those years to have helped him refine his technical ability before a growth stoppage hit him in his later teens.
Who knows, maybe he’s the man every club secretly needs.
After impressing with Admira Wacker in her native Austria, Kalajdzic earned a transfer to VfB Stuttgart in July 2019, but was ruled out with a torn ACL just 20 minutes into a pre-season friendly.
This meant that he had to wait until 28 May 2020 to officially make his debut for his ‘new’ club, which was chasing promotion to the Bundesliga.
It would have been easy for him to drop out after such an injury, but he played six games that season and has since become a key player in establishing Stuttgart’s Bundesliga status.
Leeds are said to have previously had eyes on Austrian / Pool / Getty Images
West Ham and Chelsea are not the first clubs in England to have their eyes on Kalajdzic.
Leeds United had been linked with a move for the Austrian due to his impressive 2018/19 campaign with Admira Wacker before making the move to Stuttgart.
Having such a physically impressive striker on such an energetic Leeds side under Marcelo Bielsa would have been interesting to say the least. He would also have appreciated the physical challenge of the championship.
A potential career situation hero / Christian Kaspar-Bartke / Getty Images
For the world’s players in FIFA Career Mode, Kalajdzic can actually be the hidden gem you save.
In the FIFA 21 edition of the game, he starts at 69 and is available for around £ 3.2 million on salaries of around £ 11,000. Keep in mind that he can grow to at least 78 in total, it’s probably a bit of a deal to do for a side at championship level.
Sasa Kalajdzic came in the 80th minute with Stuttgart 2-0 to Union?
Ten minutes later he had them level? pic.twitter.com/syeXpu582k
– Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) December 18, 2020
Okay, time for relevant things. What does he look like on the pitch?
It’s not surprising that Kalajdzic is not the fastest or most agile of forwards, but he uses his body well to get others to play and makes smart runs into the box, gliding through teammates with a pass or finishing himself.
Mix it with some serious physical dominance and there is a rather unique striker to have in your group, if you can find the right system to let him go.
Kalajdzic netted for Austria at Euro 2020 / Justin Tallis – Pool / Getty Images
Kalajdzic is a relatively late-bloomer in many ways, and the same can be said about his international career with Austria.
Mostly overlooked at the youth level, he only made six appearances for the Under-21s and failed to score. However, Kalajdzic has taken his chance to shine at senior level and got Austria back in the match against Italy during their European Championship 2020 round 16 at Wembley.
Unfortunately, his extension head was in the vein as Italy won 2-1 before continuing to win the entire tournament.