Dejan Kulusevski has the potential to become a great player like Pavel Nedved, according to his former coach Andreas Engelmark.
The 19-year-old is expected to link up with his Juventus teammates in the summer, having agreed a move to Turin in the January transfer window.
Speaking to TuttoJuve.com, former Brommapojkarna coach Engelmark explained the youngsters potential and what can be expected of him at Juventus.
Have you been able to talk to Dejan lately?
“Yes, we have had the opportunity to speak a few times in these last few months. Obviously he misses football, a bit like all of us, but he is doing well considering everything. He is looking forward to moving to Juventus, he has great enthusiasm”.
Will you come to follow him to Turin?
“When football starts again and safe travel is allowed, I will plan a trip to Turin. I can’t wait to see Dejan play at a great club like Juventus.”
The last time we spoke, his transfer was not yet official. Now I can ask you: what is your opinion about it?
“Obviously, it’s an excellent transfer for Dejan. In a way, it’s a bit surreal that at his very young age he already made a big transfer like this, but at the same time I’m not surprised by the outcome and the success he had. He has such a strong mentality, he has great quality as a player and I believe he will help Juventus improve and win even more titles.”
Will he ask Zlatan Ibrahimovic for any advice on what Juventus is?
“If Dejan were to talk to Ibrahimovic about it, I’m sure he’ll ask him for advice. But there are so many great champions of experience at Juventus who can certainly help him.”
In an interview released some time ago, you mentioned a game that Dejan played against Juventus when he was 13 years old. Can you tell us about it ?
“We faced Juventus in two different seasons, when Dejan was 13/14 years old, and they were tournaments for boys born in ’99. In 2014, in the tournament dedicated to Stefano Gusella held in Turin, he scored an incredible goal when, starting the action with our goalkeeper, we managed to reach the goal thanks to a series of quick passes. In that sequence, Dejan was able to deceive the opponent’s defence with a heeled strike. The game was lost 1-2, but we played really well.”
In today’s Juventus, in your opinion, would he be a starter?
“I think so. There are many strong players In the team, but Juve bought him for a reason. With better players around him he will be even stronger than at Parma. He is very good at interacting with his teammates and in his new club it will be easier because of the high level of his teammates.”
Do you think he could be Pavel Nedved’s heir?
“Nedved was one of the best of his generation. Dejan has the potential to become a great player like Nedved, but you only become one if you can maintain the same consistency. I think he can succeed in this, he is the right character and in the next few years it is up to him to prove that he can become a star of his generation.”