Oscar Vilhelmsson – Sweden’s next big thing by Jake McGhee
Sweden is a country blessed with an ability to churn out world-class strikers: Henrik Larsson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and now up and coming Alexander Isak. This trend of goalscorers coming out of the Scandinavian nation shows no sign in stopping with Oscar Vilhelmsson being the most recent talisman to play in Sweden.
Who is Oscar Vilhelmsson?
Oscar Vilhelmsson is an 18-year-old striker who plies his trade with Swedish outfit IFK Göteborg, standing at a hefty 6”2 Oscar is an imposing and dangerous striker who will look to kick on and establish a name for himself in Sweden this season. Having already found the net twice in Sweden’s top flight this season and scoring in his only cup appearance Oscar has shown us that he knows where the net is. Vilhelmsson is a fairly well-known and respected young player in his native Sweden and has earned the plaudits of giants Borussia Dortmund too who looked to tempt the player with an offer to join them, however the young man wasn’t swayed by the offer and instead opted to stay with his boyhood club.
So just why did a club the size of Borussia Dortmund want to bring him to the Signal Iduna Park?
Vilhelmsson is your classic number 9, tall, physically imposing and more than able to finish a chance. A rare left footed striker VIlhelmsson mainly stays in the box, on the shoulder of his opposite number looking to fashion an opening to move into and avail himself for a ball, this smart movement often goes unnoticed when talking about “poachers” but Vilhelmsson is slowly mastering the art of being in the right place at the right time, showing a great situational awareness. Of course, he also has the ability to finish both quickly, and efficiently, not dallying on the ball and looking to test the goalkeeper as soon as possible as displayed in this clip where he converts a goal on the half-turn against Degerfors.
Naturally due to Oscar’s height he is an option from goal-kicks to get up and win a header or from a flick-on. The 18-year-old is also very strong as excels in his hold-up play which allows him to be an outlet for wide players to move into positions of opportunity whilst Oscar keeps defenders busy. Oscar netted his first goal in his first start for the senior team in a cup game at only 15 years of age, displaying his pace and ruthlessness in front of goal with a well-taken goal.
He is also the first line of defense in the team and averages 2.6 duels won per game with 1 of these duels being aerial, showcasing his ability in the air.
Oscar’s physicality, goal scoring ability and speed rolled into one bare resemblance of a certain other Scandinavian striker, none other than Erling Braut Haaland, although he is nowhere near as refined as the Norwegian he has flashes of some of his traits in game, Ciro Immobile and Mario Mandzukic are also the archetypal number 9’s who Oscar is reminiscent of.
What’s Next for Oscar Vilhelmsson?
It would be unfair to label Oscar as a ‘poacher’ or a ‘target-man’ due to the fact that although the technical aspect of his game isn’t exactly outstanding at the moment, it is sure to be honed and improved upon as Oscar develops and eventually eyes a move abroad. As previously mentioned Dortmund was offered as an option to Oscar however he decided to stay, but I do not see him staying in Sweden for much longer and it is vital for his development as a player if he truly wants to reach his ceiling to move abroad into a league with a higher standard of football. Personally, I believe an Eredivisie or Championship level side is perfect for Oscar at the moment, it gives him a challenge all while allowing him to develop and prove himself in some more established and internationally recognized leagues.