Scouting Report: Nikola Krstovic
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Despite not being one of the most cultural or media-oriented countries or leagues, Slovakia's Fortuna Liga has attracted the attention of many clubs and fans across Europe. One of the main reasons for this has been the explosion of a concrete footballer who achieved extraordinary results last season, having been involved in 30 goals out of 35 matches played this season, making him the league's top scorer. His name is Nikola Krstovic, a 23-year-old Montenegrin (05/04/2000) who has just been bought by Italian Serie A club Lecce.

 After being a member of Serbia's biggest club, Red Star, since his youth and not acquiring an important, starting role in the team, he decided to try and start his professional career abroad, where he seems to have begun to unleash some of his great potential. Nikola is a pure striker, who always plays as a striker and stands out for his great physicality, off-field movements and flair for goal. 

Nikola is the classical goal chaser profile and main reference, lethal in the penalty area and a complete nuisance to mark for defenders, as he possesses great physicality and quality movements off the ball. In fact, that physicality is one of the main virtues of his game, as it allows him to adopt different roles and registers. His corpulence is a great support for his team, as he holds the play with the back to the goal excellently, allowing his team to project forward or receive fouls, being really difficult to get the ball off him. In that sense, Nikola is a good alternative to play directly, but he is also great at appearing between lines and turning around. Due to his powerful lower train he receives the ball absorbing impacts and provided with an over average orientated first touch he leaves defenders behind vertically attacking the opposite goal on powerful solo runs. In those situations, he does not hesitate to try a longshot, as he possesses good ball striking ability and can score from a wide range of angles and distances, but he also has great vision and clinical passing in the last meters to filter line breaking passes to provide his teammates one on one goal scoring situations, with 4 assists provided this season. 

He is not the most skillful or eccentric player, but is effective and determined in his actions. Not being a great and pure dribbler, he registers good stats in one on one situations. When having space and being able to go for his man, he possesses good change of pass and ability to shift directions, being able to destroy defenders in open spaces, while playing in reduced areas he struggles to be effective in dribbles, where his huge size plays an important role to keep possession of the ball. Nikola is not the most associative player as his main target is to offer offensive transitions by attacking spaces to the back of fullbacks and fixing center backs, but his passing and technical attributes to keep the ball and oxygenate the play are great. He plays easily in construction zones and tries more difficult passing in the last third, but he is not the imaginative man to break a defensive low block by having the ball on his feet when exiting his striker area to receive. 

He is an aggressive player, able to create goal scoring situations for himself by being tough and successful in death balls and offensive duels. He possesses great instinct for the pressure, and his presence and physicality are a great threat for defenders on the ball. That sense of aggressiveness by times lead to committed fouls, as his defensive attributes as tackles and interceptions are improvable. 

Nikola Krstovic has given a lot to talk about during these last two seasons. It seems as if he is ready for performing at higher stages, and won't be strange to see his name linked to higher range and level clubs in the near future. 

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