Why is Newcastle so underestimated

Saša Kalajdžić, the underrated

Saša Kalajdžić's career has been as steep as it is unusual. Now the underrated striker of VfB Stuttgart has become a coveted player - also at BVB.

The fact that he is a data freak has often helped Sven Mislintat when he was looking for players who "could be interesting". In spring 2019, the sports director of VfB Stuttgart and co-owner of a data-supplying agency ended up with someone who was not at all typical of the center forward corresponded.

The 48-year-old was looking for a guy who resembled the former Frankfurt Sebastien Haller. Big, technically gifted, fast, strong and dangerous for goals. His research led him to an Austrian with Serbian roots: Saša Kalajdžić.

Happy ending to a curious story

He kicked Admira Wacker Mödling in Austria, somewhat unnoticed. What followed is a curious story. Mislintat's discovery seriously injured around 2.5 million after his move. Tear of the cruciate and inner ligament along with meniscus damage: 286 days break.

The fact that the 23-year-old is now traded all over Europe is part of the steep rise since his recovery. The list of potential buyers reported sounds breathtaking. Juventus Turin, AS Roma, Newcastle, AC Milan, RB Leipzig and also Borussia Dortmund (in the evening opponents of VfB Stuttgart in the evening game / the current sports studio from 11 p.m.).

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Kalajdžić in the footsteps of Ibrahimovic and Haaland

Sometimes Kalajdžić is to be the successor of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, sometimes that of Erling Haaland. One thing is certain: the two-meter-long kicker has become a coveted object that could flush almost 25 million euros into the coffers of damp VfB. Mislintat would not be happy to give it to him. But plan B is in place: invest ten to 15 million in "two or three new ones" and, above all, dive deeply into the database again.

For now, they are hoping for more goals at the promoted team in Stuttgart. It was 13 in 26 games so far. Plus five assists. Born in Vienna, he cannot only be measured by goals. And there are reasons for that.

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Change from midfield to the very front

The smart striker used to play in midfield. As 6, 8 or 10. Perhaps this explains its enormous numbers. It is almost twelve kilometers per game. His goals are goals from an attacker who has been underestimated for a long time.

I'm an unusual player with traits that aren't that common.

"I'm not the classic giant, who is four meters wide and can hardly move because of all the strength, but rather the lank who can handle the ball," he says.

Kalajdžić: "If you do something, do it wisely"

Because it is now clear that "the guy is not only big and can only behead", Kalajdžić corresponds to the prey scheme of many clubs. Wherever Kalajdžić lands, you will enjoy him. On the lawn and with everything else.

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On the Bundesliga home straight, real dramas are only announced in the relegation battle. The race for the European Cup places offers excitement.

That, in turn, is very much down to a guy who doesn't take himself too seriously and thinks beyond football. He answers fan mail himself, "because it's a form of respect" and corresponds to his motto: "If you do something, do it smart."

Spanish lessons for distraction

In Stuttgart, confidence met him when he had doubts during the months of his injury. "You made me feel like I was waiting for me." The VfB physiotherapists helped him over the shock, as did friends and family.

Now he's back. And how. Ready to give a thoughtful assessment of everything that comes up. So it is fitting that he, who speaks Serbian and English in addition to German, has now also started Spanish lessons - because he was looking for "a balance to football". There Kalajdžić has long outgrown the mysterious world of the data freak Mislintat on the way to becoming a big number.