European football

Stuttgart striker Kalajdzic tipped for move to European giant

Kevin Kuranyi spoke to Stats Perform News about former club Stuttgart and backed Sasa Kalajdzic for a summer move to one of Europe's big spenders.

Stuttgart striker Kalajdzic backed for move to European giant by Kuranyi

Kevin Kuranyi lauded Sasa Kalajdzic as he backed the Stuttgart star to join one of Europe's biggest clubs amid growing interest.

Kalajdzic has enjoyed a fairy-tale debut season in the Bundesliga, scoring 14 goals and supplying four assists following Stuttgart's return to Germany's top flight. Only Robert Lewandowski (36), Erling Haaland (25), Andre Silva (25), Wout Weghorst (20) and Andrej Kramaric (17) have found the back of the net more often in 2020-21.

The 23-year-old Austria international forward, who has been linked with the likes of Juventus, Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, scored in seven successive games this season – a club record shared with Fredi Bobic (1995-96).

Kalajdzic has managed 14 goals in 30 Bundesliga appearances – the same amount as Kuranyi in his first 30 league games for the club, though his minutes-to-goal ratio (134) is superior to the retired striker's (152). His form has helped Stuttgart to reach the top 10 in the table with just three games remaining.

Only five players in Stuttgart's Bundesliga history have scored more goals in their first 30 games than Kuranyi and Kalajdzic: Vedad Ibisevic (18), Hermann Ohlicher (17), Dieter Holler, Tim Walter and Jurgen Klinsmann (15).

Kuranyi: "Kalajdzic can be a really top player"

Asked about Kalajdzic, Stuttgart great Kuranyi told Stats Perform News: "I think they are playing a really good season, while Sasa is playing really, really well.

"I think two weeks ago, he scored a headed goal similar [to] my time and I was remembering, wow, this guy can be really a top player in the Bundesliga or maybe in a big club in Europe.

"I know him because I met him a lot of times in rehabilitation because when he arrived at Stuttgart, he was a bit injured. He's a great personality, he's a good guy with a good mentality and also a nice person. I wish for him really a big career and I hope he keeps doing well."

Pellegrino Matarazzo's Stuttgart boast another prized asset in Silas Wamangituka, who was taking the Bundesliga by storm before suffering a season-ending injury in March.

Electrifying 21-year-old forward Wamangituka tallied 11 goals and four assists prior to the knee injury, having played a key role in Stuttgart's promotion from 2. Bundesliga last term.

"Wamangituka was a risk but he has shown his quality"

"I am really impressed because he's a fast player. He is good in one-on-one, makes a lot of goals," added ex-Germany international Kuranyi.

"[He] was a big risk at the start, but now the player shows his quality. Of course, it's very bad that he picked up the injury, but if he comes back, he will show it again and will keep going at Stuttgart."

Former Dortmund and Arsenal chief scout Sven Mislintat – working alongside Thomas Hitzlsperger – has been instrumental in overseeing Stuttgart's rise back to the Bundesliga after he was appointed sporting director two years ago.

With a reputation of unearthing footballing gems, Kalajdzic and Wamangituka have both arrived during Mislintat's time at the three-time Bundesliga champions, who were relegated in 2018-19 but bounced straight back.

"I think [he has been] very important," said Kuranyi. "Of course, he worked in big clubs like Dortmund and Arsenal, he understands a lot about football.

"He was scouting in all these clubs and he finds a lot of top players, young players. And now as a sporting director, he can use all his talent, what they learn in the in the past to make his own team and he's [doing] really, really good. I think for Stuttgart it was a good decision to take a top guy like him."