Euro Un­der-21 prospects

World Soccer - - CONTENTS -

“Luka is a bomb­shell in front of goal. He’s an ab­so­lute poacher” Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt coach Adi Hut­ter

Age 20 (23.12.97), striker, Ein­tra­cht Frankurt (Ger, on loan from Ben­fica, Por) & Ser­bia

In a sen­tence

A rav­en­ous preda­tor for club and coun­try with a mer­ci­less killer in­stinct.

What they say

Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt coach Adi Hut­ter: “Luka is a bomb­shell in front of goal. He’s an ab­so­lute poacher. He is do­ing an in­cred­i­bly good job for us. You al­ways have to be care­ful with su­perla­tives, but I do think he has the po­ten­tial to get to the top.”

For­mer Ger­many striker Fredi Bo­bic, now Ein­tra­cht’s di­rec­tor of sport: “He’s an un­be­liev­able op­er­a­tor in the box. The way he is de­vel­op­ing is sen­sa­tional.”

Story so far

A star striker with Red Star’s youth sides, he made his se­nior de­but at 16 in a league game against Vo­jvo­d­ina and marked the oc­ca­sion with a goal two min­utes af­ter ap­pear­ing as a sub. He re­mains the club’s youngest-ever scorer, and af­ter 13 goals in 48 games he moved to Ben­fica.

Fail­ing to make an im­pact in Por­tu­gal, he join­ing Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt on a twoyear loan in July 2017, and de­spite spend­ing much of last term on the bench he still man­aged eight Bun­desliga goals and scored the win­ner in a Ger­man Cup semi-fi­nal tie against Schalke.

He be­came an au­to­matic first choice this sea­son and has re­paid the faith of coach Hut­ter with a flurry of goals, in­clud­ing five in a 7-1 ham­mer­ing of For­tuna Dus­sel­dorf in Oc­to­ber.

Top scorer with seven goals in Ser­bia’s suc­cess­ful qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign for the 2019 Euro Un­der-21 fi­nals, he won his first full cap against Chile in June and made a fleet­ing 60-sec­ond ap­pear­ance at the World Cup against Brazil.

The next step

Ein­tra­cht have the right to buy him at the end of this sea­son for 12mil­lion. How­ever, Ben­fica have him un­der con­tract un­til 2021 and there could be scope for an­other party to push to the front of the queue. Bay­ern Mu­nich are said to be very in­ter­ested, while Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and Chelsea have also been linked.

Strengths

Clin­i­cal with ei­ther foot, he is strong in the air and plays with an abun­dance of brawny pres­ence. Tech­ni­cally gifted, he is in­dus­tri­ous and works the channels in­tel­li­gently. Quick on the turn in the box, he is ca­pa­ble of the most un­ortho­dox of fin­ishes, with a spec­tac­u­lar mid-air vol­ley or crafty leap­ing back-heel.

Weak­nesses

At times he can hang on to the ball a lit­tle too much and em­bark on over-elab­o­rate drib­bling ac­tions. His press­ing game needs a lot more dili­gence.

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