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Why Kasper Dolberg could be the perfect replacement for Luis Suarez

ANALYST
Feature
2.41K   //    22 Dec 2018, 08:30 IST

Dolberg in action against Manchester United in the 2017 UEFA Europa League Final
Dolberg in action against Manchester United in the 2017 UEFA Europa League Final

With Luis Suarez turning 32 next month, it's safe to say that age is not on the Uruguayan's side. His fitness has been an issue this term and the Barcelona board are already scouting for his long-term replacement. 

According to Mundo Deportivo - Maxi Gomez, Nicolas Pepe, Luka Jovic, Andre Silva, Krzysztof Piatek, Timo Werner and Kasper Dolberg are the reported targets. The latter two are in particular demand, though if there's one player to replace El Pistolero in future, it should be the talented young Dane, Dolberg. In this piece, we analyse this exciting 21-year-old: 

Finishing ability

One of Dolberg's strengths is his powerful right foot. It allows him to take shots at goal from outside the box and test opposition goalkeepers inside the six-yard area. 

This season thus far, he's netted six goals and created two assists in ten Eredivisie matches. With 2.9 shots per game and a 48% shot accuracy, it's a decent return for a striker of his age. A decent header of the ball with a good weak foot too, he's one of the most lethal forwards in the division. 

Movement and agility

Other than being a lethal finisher, he's also dreaded by defenders for his impressive physical attributes. Standing 6ft 1in tall, he's both tall and strong with an incredible burst of pace. Coupled with the intelligence to manoeuvre smartly in-and-around the box, he can create and finish chances.

In addition, his acceleration and close-control dribbling ability allows him to run at defenders and get beyond them with ease. This season, he has attempted 12 dribbles with a success rate of 58%.

Link-up play

For a Barcelona striker, just scoring goals is not enough. You need to link-up well with other teammates to provide key passes and assists. This season, he has provided seven key passes and an assist, at the rate of one per 90 minutes.

With a tendency to drift out wide and create space for teammates in the box, due to his experience of playing as a left-sided winger during his spell with Ajax's youth ranks.

Moreover, he can also drop into the number ten position to make space for wingers to bomb forward, similar to Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino.

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Weaknesses

Dolberg (right) in action for Denmark during an international friendly against Mexico
Dolberg (right) in action for Denmark during an international friendly against Mexico

Although he's excellent with his link-up play, his passing accuracy rate of 80.1% (combined, across all competitions) - which is fairly average for Barcelona's high standards. He needs to improve this dimension of his overall play, while his defensive contribution is pretty ordinary too, which will need improving if he's to excel at the top level.

He struggled with injuries and missed a significant chunk over the 2017/18 campaign, which hints that he could be injury-prone.

Conclusion

Coming through the Ajax youth academy, it is no surprise that Kasper Dolberg is a modern, complete striker and has the Barcelona DNA instilled in him. In the list above, he's surely a better option when compared to other strikers. Strikers like Piatek and Jovic appear to be one-season wonders at the moment, while Werner and Pep seem more comfortable playing on the wings.

Also, it is safe to say that Dolberg is much better rounded compared to Andre Silva and Maxi Gomez. He surely has a long way to go and has the potential to spearhead Barcelona's attack in future.

Stats source: WhoScored

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