Alexander Isak: A man Real Madrid should be watching

Alexander Isak (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Alexander Isak (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images) /

There is no hiding the fact that Real Madrid are a side in a serious transition. Across the board, there are gaps, uncertainties and questions. How will they replace the older members of the squad? Where do some of the current younger stars fit in? Can X succeed Y?

Perhaps one of the biggest questions and problems Real have had in recent years, is how do they back-up Karim Benzema adequately? Luka Jovic has seemingly failed to make the grade, Borja Mayoral seems to have a foot out the door and Mariano Diaz does not belong at the club.

Whilst Benzema has been outstanding for the last few seasons, the drop off from him to the next highest goal contributor is simply too steep to be deemed acceptable. If the club wants to be successful, they must fill the void. How? With who? The answer seems to be a young striker that plays for La Real, Alexander Isak.

The Swede has been hyped up to be a star since he was 16. Often likened to being the next Zlatan Ibrahimovic, even though their profiles certainly differ. Isak did reject Real Madrid as a youngster, opting to join Borussia Dortmund. Although, the move ultimately did not work out, as Isak didn’t make the impression many had hoped for.

After a strong season in the Eredivisie, where he scored 13 goals in 16 games, he joined Real Sociedad for €10 million. He had a solid maiden campaign, with 16 goals in all competitions, including famously putting Los Blancos to the sword in the Copa Del Rey.

Alexander Isak (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Alexander Isak (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Alexander Isak could bring many positive traits to Real Madrid

During the game against Real, he showcased all the facets of his game that made him dangerous. His athleticism, pace, and cool finishing ability. With his debut season under his belt, the question of consistency was posed – a flash in the pan or the beginnings of sustained improvement?

The Sweden international followed up his debut season with an even stronger showing in 20/21. Not only did he score more goals, with 19 in all competitions, but his overall game improved considerably.

His goal contribution, his xG, his post-shot xG – by nearly every metric, he improved. In fact, he ranked fifth in LaLiga for his goals contributed per 90 minutes. To better that, from non-penalty expected goals, he ranks just second to Lionel Messi in the 20/21 season. In general, his xG number ranks within the 93rd percentile, which puts him in with the best 7% of strikers in Europe’s top 5 leagues.

Beyond the stats, Isak has shown a genuine growth and maturity in his sophomore season with La Real. He is taking more responsibility, contributing more and showcasing overall improvement to his game. He can hold it up, he can make runs and he can pick his passes.

Alexander Isak (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)
Alexander Isak (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images) /

One particularly notable improvement is his off-the-ball movement. The Swede has considerable speed and is also physically gifted. Often through the season, he would drop towards the midfielder in possession, before spinning and making runs behind or just simply dragging defenders with him.

At the Euro’s, we’ve seen how Isak is capable of also carrying the ball with great confidence, against Spain and Slovakia, he made numerous dribbles – occasionally from his own half. With Real needing someone who can link-up, somebody who is confident on the ball, somebody who does some of what Benzema does – Isak ticks a lot of those boxes.

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He’s young, he can score, he can help both on and off the ball. With Real Madrid desperately in need of a player who can come in and make a difference, whilst bringing something different, Isak fits the bill.