Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has dispatched the club’s scouts to pay more attention to rising Eredivisie talents, The Sun reported last week.

Among those named was PSV Eindhoven midfielder Joey Veerman (see our player profile). Another is winger Jesper Karlsson.

Who is Jesper Karlsson?

Jesper Karlsson played for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, joining the club for just £2 million from Elfsborg in 2020.

He has scored 37 goals in 104 matches for the club, also providing 28 assists, with seven goal contributions so far this season.

Karlsson plays as a left winger, but this season has also lined up on the right and filled in at centre-forward.

A scouting report from First Time Finish in 2021 wrote that Karlsson, “Plays in a similar manner to the raw Cristiano Ronaldo seen in his first two and a half seasons at United.

“Perhaps most obvious is the dribbling technique. Possessing an upright and long-strided approach that is strikingly comparable to the five time Ballon d’Or winner.”

It added: “Karlsson’s approach forces defenders into making the first decision which he can capitalise on.”

This season statistics show Karlsson is averaging 2.2 chances created per game, WhoScored note, the joint sixth-highest in the Eredivisie.

He has eight international caps for Sweden. Yet to score for his country at senior level, he did net six times in five games for the under-21 side.

sc Heerenveen v AZ Alkmaar - Dutch Eredivisie
Photo by Pieter van der Woude/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Karlsson has been on United’s radar before

Jesper Karlsson is a player who Manchester United may have a few scouting reports on already from when he was a teenager.

Way back in 2016, Fotboll Direkt reported United were tracking Karlsson’s development when he was playing for Falkenberg, having made his league debut at just 17.

How could Karlsson fit in

This is a tricky one considering Manchester United’s multitude of options at the left wing position, including breakthrough talent Alejandro Garnacho.

There is one potential route to get Karlsson to United, which would involve selling his Sweden international teammate Anthony Elanga.

Erik ten Hag has indicated Elanga is not really in his plans. He has selected him for just 25 minutes of Premier League action since the World Cup, despite him getting the chance to impress on the winter training camp.

Karlsson is a more developed replacement who will be 25 going into next season, has been steadily improving in the Eredivisie, and could be more ‘ready now’ to contribute to the first team.

Jesper Karlsson profile

  • Full name: Jesper Karlsson
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: July 25 1998
  • Height: 1.72m (5ft 8in)
  • Place of birth: Falkenberg, Sweden
  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Club: AZ Alkmaar
  • Position: Winger
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