Saša Kalajdžić – Super-sized attacker
On their quest to reinforce the centre of ‘the Black and Gold’ attack, Wolves have turned their sights to a unique forward in Saša Kalajdžić – here is a quick summary of what the player can offer.
Let’s address not the elephant but the giraffe in the room - Saša Kalajdžić stands at 2 metres tall, and would dethrone Dan Burn as the tallest player in the Premier League. You would be correct to assume that Kalajdžić is a proficient aerial threat.
6 aerial duels are won by the Austrian every game, making him an elite threat with very few attackers being able to rival him in this department, as well as pass completion rates using the head – rare for an attacker, given the natural advantages for a defender in such an aerial duel. In a physical Premier League, this could be crucial to kickstart attacks and rapid offensive transitional play.
To further the claims of an ‘Austrian Peter Crouch’, half of Kalajdžić’s VfB Stuttgart goals have been headers – 12 in 60 competitive matches, in spite of the striker playing his whole youth career as a midfielder, holding Nemanja Matic as an inspiration.
Despite a debut season at VfB Stuttgart being tarnished by an ACL injury, the following wouldn’t be stopped by a 120-day shoulder injury with Kalajdžić firing in 16 league goals, helping his side to 9th place. Kalajdžić is a fighter, on and off the pitch. There are few attackers better than the Austrian international at pressing and defending from the front, being among the elite in successfully pressing, a necessity on the rise in modern football, and an initial demonstration of the role of Kalajdžić as a facilitator.
To accompany his sheer size, Kalajdžić’s technical ability sees him not as a traditional target man but a vocal point capable of receiving, holding, and distributing the ball effectively. Saša can hold off a defender well and simply lay-off the ball, but is more than capable of mixing it up, with a passing range to complement his midfielder days – Kalajdžić is in the 80th percentiles for assists, progressive passes, and key passes. He can draw a foul effectively, rarely loses out on the ball or is caught offside, showing intelligence on the field, not to mention his efficient movement in the box.
Kalajdžić at 25 years of age is still developing and while not being the most technically fluent attacker, he can be a real vocal point and facilitator for an attack crying out for a direct goal threat – which could potentially be answered with the rotation of Jimenez and the Vienna native.