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Ones to Watch; 2022-23 | Number 6: Luka Sučić

Ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Luka Sučić is just one of two players under the age of 21 in the latest Croatian squad to tackle the UEFA Nations League fixtures on the back of his considerable rise at RB Salzburg

In a football world filled with countless stars of today, so many of us are curious about who is waiting in the wings. That search for that next wunderkind; a youngster who has the potential to make us stand up and marvel at how they are masters of their craft despite their tender age, is always on the minds of millions of fans around the world.

With this in mind, we at 101 Great Goals continue our weekly series that takes a look at U21 players across the world during the 2022-23 season. Some of them you will have no doubt heard of, while we hope to bring you a few new names to spark your curiosities every now and then.

Name: Luka Sučić

Age: 20

Position: Central Midfield

Place of Birth: Linz, Austria

National team caps: 3 (Croatia)

Current club: Red Bull Salzburg

Current Market Value (per Transfermarkt): €20m (£17m)

Potential suitor(s): Liverpool

As an independent and sovereign nation since 1992 after the international and the United Nations bestowed full recognition, Croatia has blazed a trail across the footballing landscape that spans just three decades.

From their first major tournament at Euro 1996 (where they reached the quarterfinals) to their first appearance at a World Cup at France ‘98 that saw them embark on a fairytale run to a third-place finish on the back of key wins against Romania, Germany, and the Netherlands, Croatia quickly became a force to be reckoned with both in Europe and on the global stage.

Names the likes of Davor Šuker, Robert Prosinečki, Zvonimir Boban, Zvonimir Soldo, Dario Šimić, and Slaven Bilić showed what Croatian football was all about while setting the standard of things to come regarding the Balkan nation’s ability to develop high-level talent that regularly reaches the very pinnacle of the game in Europe.

As part of the next generation to come into prominence, Luka Modrić, Ivan Perišić, Ivan Rakitić, Mario Mandžukić, Ivica Olić, Mateo Kovačić, and Marcelo Brozović have carried the Croatian standard to the biggest clubs in the game and are now being followed by yet another up-and-coming cadre of youngsters looking to take the reins from the old guard; Luka Sučić is one of those players.

Born in Linz, Austria, and the son of Bosnian Croat migrants fleeing from the Bosnian War that plunged the region into chaos between 1992-1995, Sučić is not a product of Croatian development, but Austrian.

Sučić began his education with SV Sparkasse Alkoven and then Union Edelweiß Linz for a combined seven years before he was eventually snapped up by Red Bull Salzburg and integrated into their budding academy setup. After a further three years of development, while already being an established Croatian youth international, Sučić spent the 2019-20 with Salzburg’s affiliate 2.Liga outfit FC Liefering and shone for both outfits across league play and the UEFA Youth League to the tune of a combined 16 goals and 7 assists in 31 appearances.

He would make his debut for Salzburg the following season in September of 2020 but would ultimately bounce between Salzburg and Liefering across the entirety of the season, but it was in 2021-22 that Sučić cemented his place at Red Bull Arena.

Across 44 appearances both domestically and in the Champions League, Sučić bagged 11 goals and added a further 5 assists from central midfield during a highly credibly campaign that put his name on the map for bigger fish across the continent including Premier League giants Liverpool this summer as the Reds and club boss Jürgen Klopp has begun to plan the next wave of midfield acquisitions moving forward.

Offering goals from midfield will always grab the attention of bigger fish, but the recently-turned 20-year-old full Croatian international exhibits the hallmarks of a Salzburg education; maturity beyond his years, an ability to read the game at a higher level of understanding while offering fantastic creativity (2.98 shot creating actions/90min via FBref), and work in the press that would suit Liverpool to the ground in a player profile that draws some similarities to another former Salzburg graduate in Naby Keïta.

Sučić has started the current season slowly and has registered just one assist in seven appearances, but with his inclusion in Croatia’s squad for the upcoming Nations League as one of a select few players that are under the age of 21 (but looks set to feature for the U21s in a playoff against Denmark), the future remains bright for the midfielder and that future could include being yet another Croat to reach the highest level in Europe.

For more from Ones to Watch, click below

Ones to Watch | Number 1: Destiny Udogie

Ones to Watch | Number 2: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Ones to Watch | Number 3: Johann Lepenant

Ones to Watch | Number 4: Jamie Bynoe-Gittens

Ones to Watch | Number 5: Emanuel Aiwu

Picture of Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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