Red Bull Leipzig’s victory over Tottenham in the Champions League Round of 16 phase has highlighted just how the Austrian energy drinks backed team has come in recent years, rising from the German 5th division to the quarterfinals of the Champions League and currently sitting in 3rd place in the Bundesliga. The scorer of Leipzig’s third goal against Tottenham on Tuesday night is a player who has been a key part of the club’s rise to success, Emil Forsberg.
The Sweden midfielder has been at the heart of the Leipzig midfield since joining the club in 2014, when RB were still in 2. Bundesliga. He has made 168 appearances in all competitions since joining from Malmo, adding 38 goals and 50 assists.
The 2019/2020 season hasn’t gone as hoped for Forsberg. He’s seen a reduction in playing time, only starting 10 Bundesliga matches and being on record as stating he would be open to a move. Ironically enough, it’s the team he helped knock out of the Champions League that has been linked with Forsberg. Tottenham are reportedly interested, as well as a whole host of other Premier League clubs. So what could the 28 year old bring to the Premier League?
Emile Forsberg – Style of Play
Forsberg has found the most success starting on the left wing, and drifting inside on his stronger right foot when in possession. He acts almost like a number 10, finding space in between the lines and working his way around the high press that most Bundesliga teams employ a version of these days. The midfielder’s most noteworthy trait is his ability to keep the ball, both for himself and for his team. He’s a good dribbler who doesn’t get dispossessed easily and can turn out of a tight spot. His ability to be patient and make short, sensible passes while looking for the killer pass to spring a teammate has proved valuable for Leipzig.
While he is primarily focused on creating chances for teammates, the Swedish international does present a goal threat as well. He has excellent shooting technique, and is especially proficient from around the top of the box or just inside the box. Especially with balls cut back from the wings or like on Tuesday, a scramble where the ball pops up to him just inside the box , which he dispatched accurately past Hugo Lloris. A poacher’s finish to make it 3-0 on the night.
Forsberg is a fairly complete player on the offensive side of the ball but does have some defensive shortcomings. Most notably in the tackling department, as he’s far from a ball winner in midfield. Though he will complete his defensive tasks with due diligence and track back. Also, the Swede isn’t the most physical of players, something that could give Premier League teams pause before a potential summer move.
Emil Forsberg – Likelihood of move
It’s hard to see Emil Forsberg making the move to Tottenham anytime soon, despite the recent links. Spurs’ signing of Steven Bergwijn has swelled the ranks of wide midfielders at the club, and it’s difficult to see him breaking into the squad and receiving more playing time than he has at RB Leipzig.
Couple this with his age and a contract that doesn’t expire until June of 2022, and it’s more likely that Emil Forsberg would end up resolving the impasse with his current club. Or move to a club elsewhere in Europe. Regardless of where he goes, the Swedish international will add experience, play-making ability, and goals that most teams on the continent would be happy to have.
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