'Norwegian Neymar' already showing Premier League potential

Sam McGuire
Sam McGuire
  • Updated: 20 Nov 2023 10:21 GMT
  • 5 min read
Club Brugge winger Antonio Nusa is wanted by by clubs all over Europe
© ProShots

Antonio Nusa is a special talent.

The 18-year-old turned down a move to Chelsea this summer and while the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Newcastle United, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, Lyon and Monaco have all been following his progress.

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Ahead of the January transfer window, the Blues are reportedly ready to step up their interest in the player once more but face potential competition from Tottenham. Of course, Club Brugge will be desperate to hold onto him, but it feels like a matter of when and not if the Norway international leaves for a top European club.

PROFILE: Who is Antonio Nusa? The 'Norwegian Neymar' wanted by Chelsea

Chelsea reportedly bid €30 million for the explosive winger towards the end of the transfer window, prior to bringing in Cole Palmer, but Nusa wanted to focus on his development in a stable environment.

“I didn't know about it," Nusa told TV2 of Chelsea's bid.

"We had a match that day against Osasuna, so I didn't find out about it until after the match. I saw there was a lot of stuff on my mobile phone. My cell phone exploded after the match. Then I wondered what happened. Then I realised.

MORE: Nusa stars on competitive international debut

Antonio Nusa
© ProShots - Antonio Nusa

"I already knew that it wasn't going to happen [this summer]. But then the money came on the table. Then it was seen in a slightly different way. We had to have another conversation when the money arrived, but we were on the same page, so there was no problem there. I knew what to do anyway, so it was fine.

"Now I'm in a situation where I want the next step, when it happens, to be something I've really thought through. I want to find what is right for me. It is important to me. I think about what is best for me. Right now it's perfect, sort of, so you just don't stress too much, things will come along."

Though a move to Stamford Bridge is an opportunity few have managed to turn down recently, it isn’t exactly the best place to develop as a youngster right now. The Blues have added a lot of new faces to their ranks over the past 12 months and most have struggled to kick on.

For example, Mykhalio Mudryk and Noni Madueke aren’t exactly tearing it up having arrived in good form.

So Nusa remains in Belgium for now. But his performances this season are only going to see his list of admirers swell further.

Antonio Nusa playing for Club Brugge
© ProShots - Antonio Nusa playing for Club Brugge

Spectacular international arrival

The teenage sensation scored in his debut for Norway during the September international break. It was a snapshot effort from inside the area. He received the ball, quickly sorted his feet and rifled it into the far corner from the left side using his favoured right foot.

Nusa certainly made an impression. The ‘Norweigan Neymar’ opened the scoring in the 6-0 win over Jordan and former Norway coach Per-Mathias Hogmo reserved special praise for the debutant, saying: “When I sat and looked at him, he reminded me of Martin Odegaard when I took him to the national team at the start of his career,” Hogmo told VG.

“The wonderful balance. The ability to handle the ball in tight situations and, at the same time, be efficient in the way you play. There was nothing more we could do for him. He is, in short, the greatest talent we have seen and will be watching for quite some time. We have had several good players, but Antonio Nusa is something very special.”

Days later, he was decisive in a crucial Euro 2024 qualifier against Georgia that Norway won 2-1 thanks to his assist for Odegaard.

The 5ft11 forward is already mature beyond his years. Though his right foot is his dominant one, he’s comfortable and composed on his left. But what really impresses is how he alters his dribbling technique depending on the situation. He has an aggressive upright stance if he plans to carry the ball before getting a shot off. This changes when he’s looking to pass as he adopts a closed stance and this allows him to manipulate his body away from the opposition while protecting the ball.

When he adds goals to his game, which he will, he’s going to be one of the most dangerous wide players in football. He’s capable of bamboozling players with his quick feet, he’s explosive over short distances and can attack the outside as well as the inside, and he’s fairly physical for someone playing in his position. He’s got a perfect profile for a modern-day inside forward.

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