Who is Sasa Kalajdzic? The Stuttgart striker who could be Chelsea's plan B
Chelsea are monitoring the situation of Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic as they look for other options in their bid to secure a forward this summer.
Chelsea have been linked with Erling Haaland for most of the window but with Borussia Dortmund keen on retaining the prolific frontman for at least another year, the Blues are assessing their options elsewhere.
Kalajdzic has emerged as one of those options. So what kind of player is he, and what could Chelsea fans expect if he were to arrive?
Sasa Kalajdzic: Position and Playing Style
The Bundesliga is well known for its strikers. There’s Bayern Munich goalscorer Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland at Borussia Dortmund and then other strong No.9s like Andre Silva of Eintracht Frankfurt and Wolfsburg talisman Wout Weghorst.
And German added a new striker to its talented roster one possess the kind of potential to rival all of the goalscorers that currently dominate the German top flight.
Sasa Kalajdzic is one of themost promising forwards in German football. Although the Austrian talent initially began his career at Admira Wacker playing as a midfielder, Kalajdzic’s eye for goal and clear physical stature eventually saw him move further up the pitch until he was established as a clear target man.
After missing most of last season through a cruciate ligament injury, the 24-year-old talent has worked his way into Stuttgart’s first team and established himself as the club’s go-to striker and the man tasked with leading the line each week.
He has only completed three full seasons of top-flight football in Austria and Germany, and is still a relatively unknown quantity. However, what we’ve seen from Kalajdzic this season suggests he’s undoubtedly a star in the making.
In just 2139 league minutes in 2020/21, the towering striker has already bagged 16 goals and five assists, the equivalent of a contribution every 101 minutes played.
Sasa Kalajdzic: Bundesliga 2020/21
Kalajdzic picked up goals or assists against the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Moenchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Such is the player’s stature – standing tall at 6 ft 7 inches and quicker than most defenders – that comparisons to Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland are all but inevitable.
With only a Bundesliga campaign under his belt to date, it may feel a little too soon for him to begin dreaming of making the move to a bigger club but that hasn’t stopped potential buyers from being linked with the young talent.
It wasn't long ago that Liverpool were allegedly interested, with Kalajdzic saying of the Reds at the time: “I feel good all around at VfB, but it would be a really tough decision because I like Liverpool a lot. To me, it’s just a special club."
But it appears that Chelsea have moved into position, too. With the Haaland situation not progressing as they would like and Timo Werner's form a longer-term concern, Kalajdzic's performances - albeit in a small sample size - are interesting enough to have Thomas Tuchel noticing his potential.