Scouting Time: Alhassan Yusuf
In this series, we take a look at some of the most interesting young talents in the football world. Next up is IFK Goteborg’s centre-midfielder, Alhassan Yusuf.
Alhassan Yusuf was spotted by IFK Goteborg and signed after impressing at the Gothia Cup in 2017. The young Nigerian was handed a two-year contract with a two-year optional extension, but after playing in the majority of IFK’s first 15 games in his debut season in 2018 the club quickly negotiated to remove the option and extend his deal to 2022. “He is thriving here and this is superb news,” said a club official.
Those words more or less sum up Yusuf’s time in Gothenburg so far. “Hasse” as he is affectionately nicknamed has continued to flourish with Blavitt and is now considered one of their star players.
A bustling central midfielder with a strong engine and good defensive instincts, Yusuf was named Allsvenskan Young Player of the Season in 2019 despite playing in a team that was not one of Allsvenskan’s top-performing sides. A bid from Wolverhampton Wanderers was reportedly rejected, and others including Anderlecht and Sheffield United are thought to be very keen.
Any club that does sign Yusuf would be getting a hardworking player who offers crisp passing and a welcome ability to retain possession. His 91% pass completion rate over 26 appearances last season demonstrates that. Yusuf is mobile and covers ground quickly across large spaces. He has great energy and stamina.
Going forward there is a lot the 19-year-old can still improve on. Physically he is still filling out and his progressive passing can improve as he becomes more established. But defensively he does a great job holding IFK’s midfield together.
Last season he averaged four interceptions per game and this is up to five so far this season now, while against Mjallby his 103 completed passes show just how central he is to their ability to retain possession. “He is already top of the class in Allsvenskan defensively but has the conditions to improve offensively. He is an incredibly impressive player,” says his manager Poya Asbaghi.
Unfortunately for IFK Goteborg, the Covid-19 crisis means their financial situation is truly dire, and the club has recently effectively admitted they will have to sell two of their star players to balance the books. Yusuf will be one of them. If he does leave this summer as expected, their hopes of a good season will be dramatically hampered. Even at 19 he is already a hugely important player for them.