Arjen Robben is one of a kind, most would say. His breathtaking runs down the wing, which cut inside with perfection are truly pleasing on the eye. But the dynamic Dutchman has numerous players who resemble him in certain ways.
One of them is new VFB Stuttgart signing Filip Kostic. The 21 year old seems to be an exact carbon copy of Arjen Robben in a variety of ways. He looks too young for someone of his age, going by his on field exploits. He is a gem of a winger that Stuttgart have managed to snap up but it remains to be seen whether this 21 year old has got what it takes to replicate the Bayern Munich wingman.
The Serbian starlet inked a contract until June 2019 and received the jersey number 18, Stuttgart confirmed in an official statement on Sunday. Kostic was heralded as a highly coveted emerging star during his time at Groningen and as a matter of coincidence, even Arjen Robben kick started his footballing career at Groningen when he was 16.
Career so far..
The 21 year old Serbian is a near complete winger at the tender age of 21. During his early days at Serbian club Radnicki 1923 and was a reported target for domestic giants Red Star Belgrade, Belgian club Anderlecht and English giants Tottenham Hotspur but he signed a contract with Eredivisie side FC Groningen and moved to the Netherlands in June 2012 after the end of the 2011-12 season.
Then, it was just a question of how much more time the starlet would take to dazzle the world with the help of his blistering skills, abilities and immaculate speed. After making his debut early on in the 2012-13 season, Kostic displayed sheer promise in the 2013-14 season, perfectly epitomized by his performance against NEC Nijmegen. He developed a paparazzi soon after delivering a stellar performace against Go Ahead Eagles. He racked up two assists in that as a result of which Groningen secured a crucial point and turned out to be a key reason as to why Groningen made it to the Europa League. Days ago, the Serbian completed a €6 million move to set off on a prominent stepping stone in his career where, new and fresh challenges are abound every corner.
Kostic is an inevitable threat moving forward and can rip apart defenses in a blink of an eye. His adventurous dribbles down the flanks are already being compared to Arjen Robben’s but considering his age. He still has got a lot to improve upon. He featured in every game for Groningen last season, scored 11 times and created a total of 50 chances as well.
The negative issue in his routine pertaining to featuring day in day out lay in his inconsistency. He played some great games but played out below par games following them in an equal share. Kostic was a leader in the Eredivisie total successful dribbles last season as he completed a total of 97 dribbles and had an average of 2.6 dribbles per game. Although, the total amount of dribbles he made last season was 225. He cuts inside in a rather recognizable Robben-like fashion and shoots in a similar curling fashion as well.
Not only does he have a keen eye for goal, but the young man has got a creative mind as well along with prospering in the tackling aspect of the modern game. He tackles 2.2 times per game and had 546 personal duels in the Eredivisie in 2013-14, at least 88 more than any other player. But, can he thrive playing in the Bundesliga? Maybe or maybe not. There have been a host of players who have successfully done so but there are others who haven’t found their feet after moving to the Bundesliga.
A prime example is Austrian winger Marko Arnautovic. Much like Arnautovic, Kostic has had health problems early in his career. He was reportedly having trouble keeping his weight in check but somehow got it under control, owing to massive self belief.
At which club would he fit in?
The physical aspect, on which he prospers makes him a perfect fit for the Premier League. Clubs like Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Newcastle are in some need of quality wingers in their ranks and although, Kostic has moved recently but a move to either of these clubs would suit him. Hatem Ben Arfa is being constantly troubled by Newcastle off late and Kostic can well replace him at the St.James’ flank. Crystal Palace’s counter attacking play was found to be somewhat indirect when compared to the likes of Stoke City and Southampton and to introduce that directness in there, they would need someone speedy and dynamic like Kostic.
They would have some significant sting moving forward and their reliance on direct and indirect set pieces would thaw. If he can keep up his skills and performances, one can be sure of seeing him light up the European stage one day.With Arjen Robben’s abilities and Luis Suarez’s self belief, this young lad may well be walking briskly upon the road to greatness provided that his Stuttgart career helps him catch some attention.