Norway is going through somewhat of a golden generation. Of course, Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard are at the forefront of that movement, but there’s a line of talented players behind them. Antonio Nusa is one, and with his latest emergence, the options for Norway just got enrichened many-fold.
At just 18, he is the apple of the eye of European elites. Name a European giant, and Nusa is being tracked by them.
Manchester United, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Barcelona, and Chelsea are just some of the clubs who are looking at him with interest.
So, who is Antonio Nusa, and why is there such a long queue of admirers for a kid who has never played in a European top-five league?
Who is Antonio Nusa?
Antonio Nusa is an 18-year-old attacking player who mainly plays as an inside forward on the left wing.
He started his professional career in his home country with Stabaek. His Stabaek debut came in May 2021, and he was off the mark in the goals column a month later against Bodo/Glimt.
He leveraged his good performances for Stabaek to engineer a move to Club Brugge in Belgium.
Brugge are famous for being a good breeding ground for young talents and Nusa’s step up to the Belgian club paid dividends.
He was slowly introduced to the first-team setup in Belgium, making 34 appearances in his first season but only playing 988 minutes because he mainly came off the bench.
However, his penchant for making an instant impact had not gone anywhere.
He scored on his UCL debut for Brugge, becoming the youngest debutant goalscorer in the competition’s history.
Nusa also scored on his international debut with a good goal against Jordan that got him off the mark internationally. This goal for Norway is what really put him on the map, as he didn’t look out of place amongst his esteemed colleagues in a 6-0 win for his national team.
So, having profiled Antonio Nusa’s achievements so far and his path to superstardom, here’s a look at the kind of player teams will be getting if they sign him.
Antonio Nusa playing style
Nusa is cut from the same cloth that the modern attackers are coming from. He is a dynamic and explosive forward capable of playing across the front line.
However, he is most comfortable playing on the left wing, where he can come inside and take the ball on his stronger right foot.
He is an attack-minded player who is capable of making the pass to runners in behind once he comes inside, although his first inclination is to have a pop at goal from the left half-space.
He is an extremely agile dribbler and what he might lack in raw pace, he more than makes up for it with swift changes in direction that leaves the defender bamboozled.
Overall, he is a nightmare in one-on-one scenarios, but his end product needs polishing. That shouldn’t scare off teams since he’s just 18 and has never played in a top-five league. With coaching, the raw tools are there to turn him into an attacking figurehead for a top team.
Even in defence, he is a coach’s dream, especially in the modern era where no team can afford to carry passengers/luxury players. He is diligent at tracking back and the full-back can rest easy knowing Nusa will rarely let him go one-on-one with the opposition winger.
That’s a great quality to have at such a young age, one that could make him a perfect fit for modern gegenpressing sides.
Antonio Nusa potential
Watching Nusa in action is like watching a young Sadio Mane who is still figuring out how to best utilise his extreme natural talent.
In the early stages of his career, Mane was also marked as a player who could do the unbelievable but was prone to spells of erratic play.
He broke through in a fluid Southampton team before his game was supercharged to world-class levels under Jurgen Klopp’s coaching.
Nusa will be aiming for a similar trajectory as he has the raw tools that justify him being given that ceiling.
However, for that, he needs to plan his career path with great care, just like Mane did.
That brings us to the next, and last point.
Antonio Nusa transfer
We’ve seen the script many times before. A young prospect breaks through at a smaller club, the world at his feet.
Big clubs come circling, the player’s head gets turned, and he makes a move to enjoy the bright lights of a giant.
However, there’s no room for first-team minutes, and the player is either stuck in a loan cycle or sold after having lost years of his development.
The interest in him currently would undoubtedly flatter Nusa, but he should stick to Club Brugge for now. At just 18, he should break out properly at Club Brugge before looking for pastures anew.
As mentioned before, the potential is there for greatness, but in the current state, he doesn’t look ready to be a regular contributor for a top club. A season or two in Belgium, ideally one in which he crosses the double figures for either goals or assists could then get him ready for his next challenge.
For now, the world is at Antonio Nusa’s feet, but his feet need to remain grounded.