Benjamin Sesko: The striker with a profile that is much in-demand

Benjamin Sesko: The striker with a profile that is much in-demand

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The striker position is one that has evolved through different phases over the history of the sport. But in today’s game, we’ve reached a stage where the super clubs are looking for physically imposing number 9s who can do a little bit of everything, but in particular, use their elite physical traits to constantly pin back the opposition and hold their own against defences set up in deeper blocks.


By Mohamed Mohamed


Several young to early-prime age strikers fit that bill of the ideal modern striker. Erling Haaland is the most obvious example, as his combination of freakish athleticism and awareness led to his historic 2022-23 season with Manchester City. Victor Osimhen utilized a similar playbook and was the key factor in Napoli winning their first Scudetto since 1990. Other examples of these tall versatile strikers include Alexandre Isak, Joshua Zirzkee, and Rasmus Højlund. 

Another of those potential unicorns is Slovenian international Benjamin Šeško, who fits the bill as a tall forward with high-end athleticism. After a slow start to the season at RB Leipzig, he’s been one of the most productive players in the Bundesliga since the calendar turned over to 2024. His output over the past few months at a young age, combined with the intrigue over his skillset, makes him a highly sought after player for some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Šeško’s athleticism is on display both on and off the ball. Without the ball, he can be a handful to deal with. Part of the reason why is just how quick he can be. His ability to get to top speed in a short amount of time is impressive given how tall he is, which helps him be a threat during fast attacks. Relative to some of the other big five leagues in Europe, there is less emphasis on defensive compactness in the Bundesliga, and Šeško has been able to profit considerably during counter attacking play. Against settled defenses, you’ll often see him and Loïs Openda interchange positions, with one occupying the opposition centre-backs while the other is closer to operating between the lines.

There are some questions with how well Šeško operates inside the box. Whereas there’s more intensity with his runs into the channels or straight-line dashes towards the penalty box to get on the end of whipped crosses, he tends to be more stationary within the 18 yard area. The best forwards in the world like to incorporate double movements to keep defenders guessing, and generally have more variety in how they find open spaces. It’s tough to tell how much in-box movement can be improved through more experience and different coaching, versus this being something that’s more innate. 

Part of the evolution with these jumbo-sized strikers is that they’re quite comfortable receiving passes to feet and aren’t just target forwards who you lump aerial passes to. Šeško is no exception, with his 1.06 successful dribbles per 90 and 51.5% success rate considerably above average. He can shield the ball adeptly to bring others into play, and has quick footwork in the box to help get shots off. It’s helped him take 42 out of 44 shots from 18 yards or fewer. His tall centre of gravity means there’ll be moments where it can look a bit awkward for him, especially when sizing up his marker along the flank. 

With only 2 assists in just over 1400 league minutes this season, playmaking has not been a strong suit of Šeško’s game. The underlying numbers, 0.75 chances created per 90 and 0.08 expected assists per 90, don’t paint a substantially different picture. This isn’t to say that Šeško is a complete dud as a passer. He has some utility as an outlet ball to alleviate pressure and spark potential counters. These moments help fuel Šeško’s own movement as well since he can make forward runs immediately after executing lay-offs to nearby teammates against a destabilised defence, which include headed or chested passes. He’s not at the point where he can find pockets of space and spring teammates through with high level passes. 

Šeško is certainly not without his flaws at this stage of his development. A fair amount of his off-ball value comes from non-structured situations. On a more possession heavy side in a different league, those moments will happen less frequently. What separates someone like Haaland from Šeško is that in addition to being a premium counterattacking threat, Haaland expertly works the blindside of defenders when facing low blocks. Šeško isn’t a major playmaking threat, and so what he does in attack will be almost entirely dependent on the shots he generates for himself. It’ll also be interesting to see how much his dribbling and back to goal play translates against higher caliber athletes.

All things considered though, Šeško’s debut season in the Bundesliga has been a success. A combined 15 goals and assists in a little over 1400 league minutes is an impressive return, and he’s currently hit a purple patch for RB Leipzig which has them in pole position to secure Champions League football for 2024-25. The transition to German football has suited his game, and he’s ended up being one of the better players in the league. Despite the flaws mentioned, he’s shown enough to where he’s one of the more intriguing prospects in Europe because of the upside he’s flashed.

It’s not hard to see why there’s been a fascination with Šeško over the years. Big strikers who show good coordination on and off the ball are highly coveted in today’s game, and his goals and assists per 90 rate stacks up with some of the best forwards in Europe. While there have been some Bundesliga players who’ve found it tough outside the German football bubble, one could convince themselves that Šeško will not suffer the same fate should he move soon. This run of good form has been great for his current club RB Leipzig, and if it continues when Slovenia line up against England, Denmark, and Serbia in the Euro 2024 group stages, Benjamin Šeško’s name will be on the lips of many football fans this summer.  


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every developing transfer story on FotMob thanks to our active news feeds, club pages, and dedicated transfer centre. Download the free app here.

Benjamin Sesko: The striker with a profile that is much in-demand

The striker position is one that has evolved through different phases over the history of the sport. But in today’s game, we’ve reached a stage where the super clubs are looking for physically imposing number 9s who can do a little bit of everything, but in particular, use their elite physical traits to constantly pin back the opposition and hold their own against defences set up in deeper blocks.


By Mohamed Mohamed


Several young to early-prime age strikers fit that bill of the ideal modern striker. Erling Haaland is the most obvious example, as his combination of freakish athleticism and awareness led to his historic 2022-23 season with Manchester City. Victor Osimhen utilized a similar playbook and was the key factor in Napoli winning their first Scudetto since 1990. Other examples of these tall versatile strikers include Alexandre Isak, Joshua Zirzkee, and Rasmus Højlund. 

Another of those potential unicorns is Slovenian international Benjamin Šeško, who fits the bill as a tall forward with high-end athleticism. After a slow start to the season at RB Leipzig, he’s been one of the most productive players in the Bundesliga since the calendar turned over to 2024. His output over the past few months at a young age, combined with the intrigue over his skillset, makes him a highly sought after player for some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Šeško’s athleticism is on display both on and off the ball. Without the ball, he can be a handful to deal with. Part of the reason why is just how quick he can be. His ability to get to top speed in a short amount of time is impressive given how tall he is, which helps him be a threat during fast attacks. Relative to some of the other big five leagues in Europe, there is less emphasis on defensive compactness in the Bundesliga, and Šeško has been able to profit considerably during counter attacking play. Against settled defenses, you’ll often see him and Loïs Openda interchange positions, with one occupying the opposition centre-backs while the other is closer to operating between the lines.

There are some questions with how well Šeško operates inside the box. Whereas there’s more intensity with his runs into the channels or straight-line dashes towards the penalty box to get on the end of whipped crosses, he tends to be more stationary within the 18 yard area. The best forwards in the world like to incorporate double movements to keep defenders guessing, and generally have more variety in how they find open spaces. It’s tough to tell how much in-box movement can be improved through more experience and different coaching, versus this being something that’s more innate. 

Part of the evolution with these jumbo-sized strikers is that they’re quite comfortable receiving passes to feet and aren’t just target forwards who you lump aerial passes to. Šeško is no exception, with his 1.06 successful dribbles per 90 and 51.5% success rate considerably above average. He can shield the ball adeptly to bring others into play, and has quick footwork in the box to help get shots off. It’s helped him take 42 out of 44 shots from 18 yards or fewer. His tall centre of gravity means there’ll be moments where it can look a bit awkward for him, especially when sizing up his marker along the flank. 

With only 2 assists in just over 1400 league minutes this season, playmaking has not been a strong suit of Šeško’s game. The underlying numbers, 0.75 chances created per 90 and 0.08 expected assists per 90, don’t paint a substantially different picture. This isn’t to say that Šeško is a complete dud as a passer. He has some utility as an outlet ball to alleviate pressure and spark potential counters. These moments help fuel Šeško’s own movement as well since he can make forward runs immediately after executing lay-offs to nearby teammates against a destabilised defence, which include headed or chested passes. He’s not at the point where he can find pockets of space and spring teammates through with high level passes. 

Šeško is certainly not without his flaws at this stage of his development. A fair amount of his off-ball value comes from non-structured situations. On a more possession heavy side in a different league, those moments will happen less frequently. What separates someone like Haaland from Šeško is that in addition to being a premium counterattacking threat, Haaland expertly works the blindside of defenders when facing low blocks. Šeško isn’t a major playmaking threat, and so what he does in attack will be almost entirely dependent on the shots he generates for himself. It’ll also be interesting to see how much his dribbling and back to goal play translates against higher caliber athletes.

All things considered though, Šeško’s debut season in the Bundesliga has been a success. A combined 15 goals and assists in a little over 1400 league minutes is an impressive return, and he’s currently hit a purple patch for RB Leipzig which has them in pole position to secure Champions League football for 2024-25. The transition to German football has suited his game, and he’s ended up being one of the better players in the league. Despite the flaws mentioned, he’s shown enough to where he’s one of the more intriguing prospects in Europe because of the upside he’s flashed.

It’s not hard to see why there’s been a fascination with Šeško over the years. Big strikers who show good coordination on and off the ball are highly coveted in today’s game, and his goals and assists per 90 rate stacks up with some of the best forwards in Europe. While there have been some Bundesliga players who’ve found it tough outside the German football bubble, one could convince themselves that Šeško will not suffer the same fate should he move soon. This run of good form has been great for his current club RB Leipzig, and if it continues when Slovenia line up against England, Denmark, and Serbia in the Euro 2024 group stages, Benjamin Šeško’s name will be on the lips of many football fans this summer.  


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every developing transfer story on FotMob thanks to our active news feeds, club pages, and dedicated transfer centre. Download the free app here.