Five possible transfers as the window opens in Sweden’s Allsvenskan
Benjamin Nygren is gone (Genk), Daniel Sundgren is off (Aris), so too are Linus Hallenius (APOEL) and Carl Starfelt (Rubin Kazan). The transfer window in Sweden has only just opened but already several done deals have seen some of the Allsvenskan top players depart for pastures new. So who else can we expect to see leave the league this summer? Jonathan Fadugba, football analyst and founder and editor of Just Football and the Nordic Football Podcast, takes a look at five players catching the eye!
1 Muamer Tankovic
The former Fulham youngster has contributed more goals and assists combined than any other player in Allsvenskan in 2019, so inevitably the scouts have come calling for a look. The Hammarby attacking midfielder has had an up and down career so far – once extremely highly-rated, he was linked with moves to Manchester United and Tottenham as a teenager before Fulham snapped him up as a 16-year-old on a three-year deal. There, he failed to make the grade and was eventually released, and a not-too-memorable spell in the Netherlands eventually saw him shipped back to Sweden on a free transfer, Hammarby the destination.
This season Tankovic, a former IFK Norrkoping youth player, has shown why he was considered too good for Swedish football in the first place. 10 goal contributions – 6 goals and 4 assists – have helped make the Stockholm giants one of the most creative sides in the league. Tankovic has been a key figure. From the stats, we can see that the 24-year-old has already almost matched last season’s 7 goals and 4 assist tally despite playing over 1,000 minutes less (1,533 vs 2,745 minutes played in 2018). He also ranks well for smart passes and key passes per 90 minutes.
MLS outfit Columbus Crew have already made a bid for the player, and he may be departing Allsvenskan shores for a new adventure once again in the coming weeks.
2 Jordan Larsson
Son of the great Henrik Larsson, Jordan is on fire this season and has silenced many who have been critical of the striker in the past. The 22-year-old isn’t someone who will pass too much or create – his stats show 0.07 key passes per 90 minutes and 0.05 assists per 90 according to Wyscout. But what you do get with the young forward is an increasingly clinical finisher.
Positionally very clever in the box, where he averages 3.54 touches per 90, Larsson is a fox in the box type player who ghosts away from his defender before turning up in the right place at the right time to pounce and score. The cuteness of his left foot is also a real asset; he finishes with lovely deft touches as shown in goals-against AFC Eskilstuna and Falkenbergs for example. He can also finish with power, and score off both feet.
As Allsvenskan’s top goalscorer with 10 goals, there are now inevitably plenty of rumours. An unsuccessful spell in the Netherlands at NEC Nijmegen is one of the only factors that may give bigger clubs doubts, but he can’t stop scoring right now.
3 Dino Islamovic
Strongly linked with a move to Leeds United in recent weeks it would come as no surprise to see Dino Islamovic leaving Allsvenskan before the summer transfer window closes in Sweden. It is a well-known fact that the Championship club sent scouts to watch Ostersunds’ game against GIF Sundsvall last month, with 25-year-old Islamovic a prime target.
As one of the tallest forwards in Allsvenskan Islamovic’s height makes him an obvious instant attraction to clubs in England, where the physicality of a league like the Championship is almost as important as the skill or technical quality. Saying that he is far from just a big lump upfront for the rest of the team to playoff. The former Swedish international is, in fact, one of Allsvenskan’s most creative players with the ball at his feet, averaging a very respectable 0.84 key passes per 90. In fact after 14 games played he was the joint best player in Sweden’s top division for key passes with ten, according to Wyscout data.
Islamovic’s incisive ability to slide razor-sharp passes through with his left foot has helped create several chances for his teammates, and with better finishing from the likes of Alhaji Gero, Jamie Hopcutt and Tom Pettersson he would have more than just the two assists to his name. A spell abroad at Groningen five years ago didn’t lead to much, but perhaps now is the right time for a more mature, well-rounded Dino Islamovic to give it another shot in a bigger league.
4 David Batanero
Check the stats and behold the Allsvenskan’s answer to Xavi because David Batanero is quite simply a passing machine. With an incredible 1,235 passes completed after 14 games, the Spanish central midfielder is averaging better than one pass per minute this season, picking up from where he left off last season as the central figure in GIF Sundsvall’s exciting tiki-taka style that won the hearts of many in 2018.
Comfortably the best passer in Allsvenskan in terms of number of passes completed per 90 minutes, Batanero averages almost 20 more passes per game than any other player in the league who isn’t at GIF Sundsvall – an indicator of just what kind of style they have been accustomed to up in the north of Sweden under Joel Cedergren. Indeed, just to go through Batanero’s first 300 smart passes this season on Wyscout would take you over 99 minutes!
Batanero averages 12.43 final third passes per 90. He keeps the game ticking along in midfield, which has led to interest from both bigger clubs in Sweden and some abroad. GIF Sundsvall has had financial problems in recent months leading to them selling star players like Linus Hallenius, and they’ve struggled slightly on the pitch.
Batanero scored five goals and assisted three last season and has one goal and two assists so far in 2019. He also breaks up play, averaging 3.82 interceptions per 90. AIK reportedly had a bid rejected before the season started and others may try to test GIF Sundsvall’s mettle in trying to attract the 30-year-old to add silk to their midfield.
5 Filip Rogic
Without his five goals and three assists this season Orebro would be cut adrift at the bottom of the Allsvenskan, so that is all you need to say about Filip Rogic’s immense influence on his current team. The midfielder has also shown good consistency over a longer period because his seven goals in 2018 were also very important in his club’s lower mid-table finish. Back then he was overshadowed by star players Nahir Besara and Kennedy Igboananike (both who have since departed) but in their absence, the 26-year-old has become Orebro’s main man.
Given his team are not one of the bigger clubs in Sweden Rogic does tend to go under the radar most of the time, but his crisp passing, crossing, ability to play off either foot and eye for goal are all attractive qualities. He also scores goals – his winning goal against AIK first time with his left foot from outside the box to beat the champions was an absolute beauty, and he has a variety to his goals too with headers, left footers from a distance or right foot finishes in his locker.
On the Nordic Football Podcast, I personally predicted Orebro could be relegated this season, despite predictions of a mid-table finish. If they lose Filip Rogic, who currently sits on an expiring contract and is surely ready for a new challenge, they would pretty much be toast for me.