So, earlier this week, we finally had our first offseason signing. News broke on Tuesday that Leeds United have officially signed Marcus Antonsson for a transfer fee estimated to be £2 million. Antonsson is switching from homeland side Kalmar FF and signed a three year deal to become the first big name recruit of the Garry Monk era.
— Marcus Antonsson (@AntonssonMarcus) June 28, 2016
So who is Marcus Antonsson?
Antonsson is a 25-year-old striker who has spent his entire professional career playing for teams in his native Sweden. He has just completed the best period of his career, scoring 10 times in his past 12 games to establish himself as the best scorer in Sweden’s highest division. His return is even more impressive considering Kalmar has only scored 18 times over this period.
Antonsson began his footballing career with Unnaryds GolF before joining Halmstads BK, where he was managed by United’s new assistant coach Pep Clotet. After five years with Halmstads, he made the move to Kalmar in 2015 and enjoyed a purple patch in front of goal.
What else do we know? Well a quick stalk of his Instagram feed reveals that he likes to throw a line into the water, enjoys rocking an orange sweater a little too much for my liking and that he is winning the battle of life off the field. Well played Marcus!
What type of footballer is Marcus Antonsson?
I’m not even going to lie and pretend that I’ve ever seen one second of Swedish football so let’s turn to an expert. Swedish football pundit Johan Velagic recently discussed Antonsson’s move to United with the YEP. Velagic, who is a journalist with Fotbolldirekt.se, suggested that Antonsson would prove to be a good signing for the Leeds and that he was good value for money.
When asked about Antonsson’s game style and his strengths Velagic noted:
"His biggest strength is absolutely his runs in behind defenders. His runs are really clever and you get many through-balls because of that. And then he is a goalscorer. He’s a great player in the box. He’s been playing in a pretty weak team and doesn’t get too many chances so he’s very effective. I really like his work ethic as well. He’s a real team player."
Velagic on the difference between Swedish football and the English Championship:
"I think he’ll manage to take the step from the Allsvenskan to the Championship. The Allsvenskan is better than it’s been in many years. We are far behind a lot of leagues in Europe but we’re moving in the right direction. I would say that the best teams in Allsvenskan would do it pretty well in the Championship."
And finally, Velagic’s comments on Antonsson’s desire to become a global star:
"He’s a very ambitious player. He’s been saying that he wants to move abroad, to do well there and then to get into the national team. He is determined."
As for the man himself, Antonsson told Leeds Untied’s official website that his biggest strength is scoring goals and that he excels at making well timed, fast runs in behind the defence.
Is there a Marcus Antonsson hype video?
You bet there is! Our friends at LeedsUnitedComps have already put this wonderful goal scoring compilation together. Special hint to everyone, there are some very nice finishes on the resume of Antonsson. I’m getting excited....
How does Marcus Antonsson fit with Leeds United?
My initial reaction is to laud the signing of Antonsson. Admittedly I had never seen him play until this week, but his purported strengths match exactly what we need. In order to meet that promotion promise we need to score more goals. Simple as that.
By all accounts he is a clever footballer and from my morning spent following him around YouTube, he looks to be a smooth mover when in possession. Moreover, he will bring something to the table that the current squad doesn't have. His speed and touch should make for a good pairing with Chris Wood, depending of course on what formation Monk employs.
All the signs are positive and in a micro sense, this looks to be a good signing. With that said, the club’s track record does make it it difficult to completely trust that the move will work.
As Jack Dudley discussed last week, play-off positions require goals, and goals require a significant financial investment. Spending £2 million for a striker who has never played in England before is a nice starting point... but more is needed. Remember that Middlesbrough invested almost £20m in its strike force last season in gaining promotion to the Premier League.
My skepticism has almost nothing do with Antonsson and everything to do with Cellino’s past failures. Antonsson looks good and will improve our playing stocks, but this needs to be the first move of the summer, not the flagfish transaction.
As for the new gaffer, here are his thoughts.
Welcome to Leeds, Marcus. We'll take all the goals and assists you can give us.