Jack Stroudley takes a deeper look at our potential new midfielder.
A right-back and a central midfielder. Those are the two positions that Fulham fans would’ve felt strongest about improving this January transfer window. Cedric Soares seems imminent to fill the first of those positions but the other and arguably more exciting player will plug the gap needed in midfield.
That man is Sasa Lukic, a 26 year old Serbian midfielder who looks to have agreed a deal to sign from Torino in the region of €10 million on a four year deal. I’m sure like many others I’ve not really heard a lot about Lukic and won’t claim to be an expert on Italian football so figured I’d head online to see what he can bring to Fulham.
The fact file
Sasa Lukic started his career at Serbian side Partizan Belgrade where he was in the youth set-up from 2009, the now Serbian international played his first professional minutes on loan at FK Teleoptik in the Serbian third division where he spent two seasons picking up 39 appearances in that time and scoring nine goals.
Lukic returned to Belgrade and immediately was put into the Partizan side making his debut in 2015 against Novi Pazar. The 26-year-old became a staple of the Partizan midfield for the year he was there making appearances in the UEFA Champions League as well as captaining several games.
His impressive season in Serbia caught the attention of Italian outfit Torino and he was signed by the Italian side in 2016. In his first season, the youngster struggled to get minutes and was loaned out to Spanish side Levante where he played 16 times over the course of a season.
As the years progressed and Lukic gained more experience, his minutes in Italy increased and now in 2023, Lukic is a pivotal member of the Torino squad and has now managed to pick up over 150 appearances in Italy aged just 26. Lukic is also a main stay for Serbia and played in all three of their World Cup games in Qatar.
A deeper dive
Looking at Lukic a bit closer, he looks like he could play pretty much anywhere in the midfield! Someone whose got technical ability and has played previously in the ‘number 10 role’ whose not afraid to pop up with a goal or an assist. Further back he could deputise for Palhinha adequately with solid defensive numbers being above the average for clearances and ariels duels won but the position he is most likely to pick up is similar to Harrison Reed in the ‘number eight role’.
Above I have attached an image comparing Sasa Lukic to Harrison Reed and it is quite apparent that Lukic is statistically a more improved version of the English midfielder. His passing range is much better both at short and long distances and he looks to be better at recovering the ball than Harrison Reed (ironically one of Reed’s strengths) while maintaining similar levels to Reed in tackling and chance creation. Lukic arguably has also not hit his full peak either being only 26 the best is yet to come. He has also become Torino’s penalty taker scoring four out of four over the last two seasons.
Yes or no?
This is without a doubt a good signing in my opinion. We’re desperately in need of depth in midfield and having a player who can play anywhere in the midfield three is someone that ticks a lot of boxes for Silva. Lukic’s statistics are fantastic and with Harrison Reed arguably being below his usual performances in the last few weeks bringing in a younger (and arguably more talented) midfielder provides the Englishman with much needed competition. His penalty taking ability alongside the relatively small price tag of €10 million and the long contract it seems like a good move for all parties.