Dusan Vlahovic: Scouting & Video Report
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In 2018, Dusan Vlahovic became Fiorentina’s youngest starter in the 21st century in Serie A. As someone whose career showed promising signs at a very young age; signing his first professional contract with Partizan in 2015 and becoming the club’s youngest debutant and goalscorer in 2016, when he was just 16 years old. The Serbia No.9 became an instant hit in the Serbian capital of Belgrade, where he was born, making a great impact from February to April of the year – going on to appear as the youngest ever player in the Eternal derby against Red Star Belgrade in the process and scoring a goal in the Serbian Cup final against Javor Ivanjica, that Partizan eventually won.

His exploits garnered him the attention of some of Europe’s top clubs, who were all turned down by the capital club in order to retain the striker. Juventus, Arsenal and Anderlecht were all rejected.

However, Fiorentina scouts were eager to bring him to Firenze and they did, in 2017. A five-year contract was agreed upon in February 2018 and the Serbian marksman has not looked back since. His first two seasons –in 2018/19 and 2019/20 were disappointing, as he managed to score only 8 goals in 44 appearances. But this season, he has

managed to take off to new heights with 21 goals in 38 caps across all competitions, breaking few records on the way. One of which being his first half hattrick against Benevento in March 2021, which saw him manage to break a record not seen in Firenze since 1964 – when the legendary Kurt Hamrin did the same back then.
Vlahovic sits fourth in the Scudetto top scorers list this season – with 21 goals (as of 16/05/2021) – only behind Luis Muriel, Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo. He has a goals per 90 ratio of 0.69 and a shot accuracy of 54%. Not since the legendary Luca Toni has any player been more consistent in goalscoring terms for Fiorentina.

La Viola supporters were disappointed with his form at the end of last season but their feelings are quite the opposite now, with Vlahovic having scored 21 of Fiorentina’s 47 league goals this season – almost half the tally. He has not gone more than three games in a row without finding the back of the net – since his strike against Sassuolo on 16 December last year.

The Stadio Artemio Franchi has a new goal scorer in its presence. He is also only the fourth foreign player in La Viola’s history to knock in more than 20 goals in a season – joining the ranks of legends like Gabriel Batistuta, Kurt Harmin and Pedro Petrone.

Vlahovic is a strong, athletic and physical presence in the penalty box who loves taking on opponents and challenging them into duels. With bucket loads of self-confidence and belief for a young player, the 21-year-old centre-forward is surprisingly mature for his age – given the way he operates on the pitch with great technical ability and tactical intelligence to outwit opposition players with his physique and sense of attacking play.

Standing just over 6 feet tall, Vlahovic is difficult to shrug off the ball, thanks to his great built and never-ending energy that can see him play full ninety minutes with the same intensity he begins the match with. Surprisingly, not a lot of his goals have been headers – although he has the ability to be a direct set-piece threat more often than not.
Explosive as a striker, he picks out productive positions within the attacking half so that he can get into goalscoring positions without giving a hint of it to his fellow opponents. Players like him who poach for goals come few and far around. Undoubtedly a great asset for a Fiorentina side that has been threatened around the relegation zone few times this season, he has the ability to stay on as the club’s main No.9 for years to come, however unlikely that may sound. He can function as a lone striker or play upfront with another centre-forward, either is a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 set-up.

He made his national team debut in 2020, in a UEFA Nations League game against Hungary. Along with Luka Jovic upfront, Serbia have two amazingly potent strikers upfront – a combination that may work like a charm in a 4-4-2 formation. Comparisons with Dortmund’s Erling Haaland is always around because of their similarities – age, playing style and position on the pitch as out and out strikers. Vlahovic is yet to find his pedigree team, unlike Haaland who has some of Europe’s most talented players around him. The Serbian needs a great midfield to excel i.e. feed him with creative and timely passes, something Fiorentina cannot be too proud of.

He has become one of Serie A’s hottest transfer properties and with AC Milan lurking in the background to lure him away (after increased reports of the Rossoneri being interested in him), Vlahovic might just need a more top-of-the-league table to make a difference at the highest level – given the fact that he has cited his admiration of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as his idol, who he wants to play alongside with one day.

Vlahovic is poised for greatness if he can continue this season’s form, not only in Italy but anywhere in Europe’s top five leagues.

 


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