Position: Central Midfield
Current Club: IFK Göteborg (Sweden)
DOB: 18 July 2000
Birthplace: Kano, Nigeria
Height: 175 cm (5’9)
Weight: 66 kg (146 lbs)
|FC Hearts Academy (-2018)
|IFK Göteborg (2018-)
|Sweden (1st Division)
Alhassan Yusuf is an enthusiastic central midfielder who is capable of playing box-to-box. At Göteborg he currently plays as a deep lying midfielder who has freedom to make runs forward. Shows composure and steadiness on the ball that is advanced for his age. Heavy influence on the game by buzzing around and excelling at passing and moving between the lines. If Yusuf can continue to develop his attacking instincts and physicality, he can become an impactful player at the top level.
General Pros and Cons
+ Active and energetic nature leads to many touches. Excellent at disrupting the opposing attack.
+ Assured passer who doesn’t try to do too much or force things. Shows potential with long passing ability.
+ Excellent recovery speed. Covers large patches of ground with ease.
– Needs to develop more physically to improve tackling success. Tends to disrupt and get a foot in, but needs to retain possession more when he gets involved defensively.
– Passing ambition still in development. Will need to improve playmaking ability and instincts around the opposition’s penalty box to be a top level two-way midfielder.
+ Agility allows Yusuf to move quickly from side to side. Maneuvers swiftly through traffic for quick passing combinations.
+ Quickness over short distances for closing down keeps opponents uncomfortable on the ball.
– Easily muscled off. Doesn’t have the physicality to hold down a defensive midfield role by himself.
– Odds are against him on aerial duels. Lacks the vertical to make up for short frame.
+ Passing is already at a high level. Weights short passes well and shows real potential on long passes.
+ Confident on the ball. Deceptive movements allow him to escape pressure and contribute to his team’s ability to keep possession.
– Tackling technique needs improvement. Involved in plenty of duels but needs to come out in possession more rather than just disrupting and deflecting.
– Very one footed. Moments are rare when he uses his left foot and always keeps ball on right foot.
+ Already earning a high amount of trust from teammates. Primary distributor and initiator out of the back.
+ Makes teammates better with the amount of ground he covers.
[plus_sign_fusion_icon] A real asset attacking and defending. Knows when to venture forward while being able to track back if possession changes quickly.
[plus_sign_fusion_icon] Is always around the ball. High work rate keeps him involved and creates opportunities to positively impact the game.
[minus_sign_fusion_icon] Needs to improve decision making when in the final third. Hesitates more and isn’t consistent with his final product.
Completed passes/90 mins: 57.36 (12th amongst midfielders in Swedish Allsvenskan 2019)
Recoveries/90 mins: 8.78 (24th)
Progressive runs/90 mins: 0.91 (55th)
Progressive passes: 4.9 (70th)
Yusuf’s statistics highlight a player who does many things well, but still has plenty of room to grow. His progressive runs and passes numbers show how he has plenty of room to grow when it comes to initiating attacks. The video shows moments of promise, but in general Yusuf will need to become more comfortable and enterprising when going forward.
When it comes to being active and involved, Yusuf is already at a high level. When the opposition moves through midfield, he is always the first to engage and get a foot in to disrupt. While he could excel more and be higher in the league, the efficiency of his involvement will only improve with experience.
Where Alhassan rates best is his passing efficiency. Here is a list of the top passing midfielders in the league last year in terms of amount of passes and their completition rates:
That % completed number is the reason Yusuf is drawing interest from clubs such as Wolves. Many young deep-lying midfielders take years to become as efficient as they are capable of being with the ball. Yusuf is already at a high level in this regard at the age of 20. Therefore, it may take some time for him to be as effective as he can be in the final third, but managers and scouts will regard him highly for being advanced at his primary responsibilities.
Evaluation: Ready to compete for playing time in a top 4 league.
A standout at the Allsvenskan level, Yusuf projects to be the next African prospect to rapidly progress to a high level European league by way of Sweden. The first thing that stands out is his engine and ability to pop up all over the place to get involved. Combined with advanced passing ability and composure, Yusuf has all the attributes to earn a starting spot in one of Europe’s top four leagues.
The big issue at the top level will be whether he can develop the attacking instincts to play higher up. A lack of physicality will necessitate a more defensively solid partner in midfield. Rumors strongly suggest English Premier League interest. Even if work permit issues complicate a move to England, plenty of clubs will be ready with their own offers.