Luken Kesner: Almeria’s Young American Attacker by Joshua Nkan
Luken Kesner is another one of the USA’s exciting dual national gems shining in Europe at a young age.
Name: Luken Kesner Arteche
Nationality: United States, Spain
Date of birth: 4/18/2005 (18 years old)
Strong foot: Left
Current club: Almería Youth
Position: Right Midfielder, Attacking Midfielder
Kesner began his football youth with boyhood club Ibiza in Spain. There he began to develop into a lanky, yet physical ‘10’ on the field. He possessed a unique ability to retain the ball while transitioning across the pitch at high speed. Kesner’s size allows him to easily dominate the middle of the park, but he marries this physique with a technical dominance, and tendency for trickery that sees him pull off training ground skills mid-game. After a brief stint in Granada’s youth ranking, Kesner would return to Ibiza where at 17, he would begin training with the senior team and even appearing on the bench. Disagreements over the salary for his first team contract saw him search for minutes elsewhere in a trial at Serie A side Lecce. However once again, disagreements over contract terms saw him return to Spain in Almeria where he currently plays for their Youth reserves. His knack for coming up with the goods in the final third has seen him pushed out wide as an ‘extrema’ or winger, specifically on the right side. Kesner is eligible to play for both Spain and the United States internationally but is yet to receive a callup from either to date.
Style of Play:
Kesner is a deceptive player out wide, always willing to take the ball to the corner flag and beat a man on the dribble. However, when featured centrally he has been shown the ability to bring his other teammates into the attack with smart bits of build-up play. He also has a certain “bite” or tendency to get “stuck in”, sometimes flying into challenges. This aggression is a stark contrast of how aesthetically pleasing of a player he is on the ball, a very similar mold of player to countryman Giovanni Reyna. Kesner likes to play one-two’s, always moving and using his brilliant stamina as a relentless runner. Best suited as an attacking midfielder, his continued growth in height means he and his flashy style of play still could hold up swiftly once promoted to the senior game, so long as he grows into his frame.
Kesner is a true number 10, a dying breed the world of football sees less and less of every season, even in Spanish football. It’s because of this that despite his ability to feature elsewhere on the pitch, his profile might hold him back from becoming a senior contributor to Almeria for another year or two. In the long-term, if he fulfills his undeniable potential Kesner has the ability to contend for a spot on the US senior national team, either as an ‘8’ or on the right flank of coach Berhalter’s consistent 4-3-3. His final position may well be as a center midfielder and he certainly has all the tools to do so given his engine, physique, vision, and aggression. Regardless of where he plays on the pitch, it will be very interesting to follow his progress!