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Slovenian superstar

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A small club, then Red Bull Salzburg, followed by a move to Red Bull Leipzig and then stardom. In the last few years, many players have transversed this route. Dayot Upamecano, Dominik Szoboszlai, Hwang Hee-Chan, and Marcel Sabitzer are some examples of the players who have come out of the famed Red Bull academy. Now Benjamin Seskoi has become the latest star to continue the tradition.

The Slovenian forward has been considered one of the best young talents in world football for the past few years and has now started to fulfil his potential. The Slovenian, who has cut his teeth in the Austrian league with Salzburg and FC Liefering (Salzburg’s reserve team), has indeed come to his own this season and has been their best-attacking threat helping the club establish a nine-point lead in the standings as they look to win their 10th consecutive league title. And now he has been signed by Red Bull Leipzig, a club he will join in the summer transfer window.

 

But who is Benjamin Sesko, and how good is he?

Playing career so far 

Benjamin Sesko was born on May 31, 2004, in Radece, a town in Lower Sava Valley in eastern Slovenia. Sesklo would start his footballing journey with local club Radece in 2010. After spending three years at the club. From 2013 to 2019, he changed several clubs, of which his spell at Krsko was most important, where he scored a whopping 59 goals in 23 games.

In 2019, he came on the radar of Red Bull Salzburg’s radar, who moved quickly to add him to their ranks. Immediately after joining the club, he was sent to reserve side FC Liefering where he made 15 appearances totalling 354 minutes. However, he would get far more success in the UEFA Youth League, with Salzburg scoring three goals and providing one assist as the team reached the semi-finals.

The following season he would play for FC Liefering, making 29 appearances and scoring 21 goals, the second-most by any player in the league. These performances caught the eyes of then-manager Jesse Marsch, who gave the player his debut on January 30, 2021, against TSV Hartberg.

When the 2021-22 season began, new manager Matthias Jaissle promoted him full-time to the senior team. Sesko showed enough promise that he has been given the central role of the starting centre forward in the current season by the club. 

Benjamin Sesko stats 

In the 2021-22 season, Sesko played the role of the deputy to Noah Okafor and played 966 minutes across 24 matches scoring five goals and providing three assists. This was more than a respectable return for a player in his first full season with the senior team.

And this is what gave Jaissle the confidence to give him an expanded role in the squad this season. Sesko has played almost 60 minutes per game on average this season, his highest ever. And this has worked wonders for him, as he stands on nine goals and three assists after this. No player on the Salzburg teams has scored more goals than him which show his importance to the team.

In addition, six of his nine goals came when the team was either losing or drawing a match which helped the team earn an additional eight points, one more than their current lead in the league table. 

In the current season, he has managed to have a goal involvement every 89 minutes, which is very deadly for a player aged 19. He also makes 0.76 goals per 90 minutes, the fourth-best in the Austrian Bundesliga. In addition, he is also the fifth-most accurate shooter in the league, a trait that has massively helped him find the back of the net consistently.

Benjamin Sesko scout report 

Standing at 1.95 metres tall. Sesko, like his predecessor at the club, Erling Haaland, loves to use his physical frame to either dominate the defenders in their half or use it to keep off the hold when his team attacks. What also works in his favour is that Sesko is very mobile for a player of his height and has often dribbled his way out of tight spaces. 

In addition, Sesko is also a very clean shooter, which means that when on target, the goalkeeper rarely has the chance to save his shot. Sesko also has the pace and intelligence to make those well-timed runs behind the opposition’s defences.

However, Sesko also has some significant weaknesses in his game. One of them is his game awareness when he has the ball. While Sesko is an adept dribbler, his passing in the attacking third is not up to the standards of his teammates. 

Another aspect is though he is a clean striker of the ball, there are many times he fails to make the perfect connection. And it happens regularly, so much so that he has missed 11 big chances in the league, the most by any player. And while these weaknesses will be ironed out as he continuously plays and develops, he will need to do so quickly not to get exploited by the opposition.

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What makes him special

As mentioned above, Benjamin Sesko does have his weaknesses. However, where Sesko is good, he is so brilliant that even with those limited skills, he can be a menace for any defence. This gives immense hope that as he continues to develop more skills, he will indeed have the ability to become a world-class centre forward who could play week in and week out for the biggest teams in the world.

Another aspect of his that will inspire confidence among Salzburg and his future team Leipzig is Sesko, who gets better and better with increased game time. And his weaknesses are also ones which can be solved more with game time on the pitch and less on the training field.

Benjamin Sesko’s potential and future at Red Bull Leipzig 

There is no doubting Benjamin Sesko’s ability to make it as a top-level player. However, in Bundesliga, he will face a challenge that is far tougher than what he has faced so far in his career, And while Sesko does have the potential in him, executing it at the biggest stage is an entirely different thing.

However, in Red Bull Leipzig, Sesko has the perfect football system that can elevate him to the level that is expected of him. It is highly likely he will be given a far restricted role in terms of minutes on the field, much like his previous season at Salzburg. So, Sesko has to ensure that he takes advantage of every opportunity that comes his way to get one step closer to his dream.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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