Summary

  • Born in Solna to Eritrean parents.
  • Joined AIK aged five, working his way up to the first team squad.
  • Sweden's youngest ever international goalscorer.

Borussia Dortmund fended off competition from some of Europe's biggest clubs to secure the services of 17-year-old Swedish international Alexander Isak – but what else is there to know about the man dubbed "the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic"?

bundesliga.com trains its microscope on the latest gem ready to sparkle at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK...

1) Precocious

Alexander Isak joined AIK at the tender age of five. Just over 10 years later, on 28 February 2016, he made his first team debut, coming on as a 75th-minute substitute in a Swedish Cup match against Tenhults IF. Just over 10 minutes later, he made it 6-0, becoming AIK's youngest ever goalscorer in a competitive match.

2) A keen eye for goal

On 7 April 2016, AIK coach Andreas Alm started Isak in the second outing of the Swedish Allsvenskan season, away to Östersunds FK. He grabbed the second goal in a 2-0 win, becoming AIK's youngest scorer in the Swedish top flight at just 16 years and 199 days.

 3) Rapid rise through the ranks

Isak's eye-catching performances couldn't fail to grab the attention of Sweden's national coaches. He made his U16 debut against Lithuania in April 2015, scoring in a 3-0 win. By autumn of the same year he was playing with the U17s, before making a solitary appearance for the U21s in October 2016. His senior Sweden debut arrived on 8 January 2017, in a friendly against Côte d'Ivoire.

Watch: Isak explains his decision to join Dortmund ahead of a host of European suitors:

4) Record breaker

In that Côte d'Ivoire friendly, Isak became the second youngest player to wear Sweden colours, at 17 years and 109 days. The record is still held by Gunnar Pleijel, who was 17 years and 72 days old when Sweden played Finland back in October 1911. Isak did break another long-standing record, though, when he scored against Slovakia in his second international game. At 17 years and 113 days, he became Sweden's youngest ever goalscorer, a distinction that had been held by Erik Dahlström since 1912. "Isak is rewriting history and I am not surprised," said Janne Anderson, coach of the Swedish national side. "I knew that he would do well."

5) Sweet 17

Born on 21 September 1999, Isak shares a footballing birthday with Hungarian legend Sandor Kocsis, who was born exactly 70 years earlier. And the Swedish prodigy will certainly have fond memories of his 17th birthday. On 21 September 2016, he scored two goals as AIK cruised to a 3-0 derby win over arch-rivals Djurgårdens IF.

6) Top marksman

As AIK's top scorer in the Allsvenskan last season, Isak played a pivotal role in helping his side qualify for the early stages of next season's UEFA Europa League. He notched up 10 goals in 24 league appearances, as AIK finished second behind champions Malmö FF.

Can Isak fill the sizeable gap left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden's all-time record scorer with 62 goals? © imago / StephaneAllaman

7) The new Zlatan?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired from international football after UEFA EURO 2016, leaving the next generation of Swedish strikers a sizeable pair of boots to fill. Isak has already been touted by some as the "new Zlatan" after a string of fine performances, and it is tempting to draw a few parallels. Like Ibrahimovic, he is of non-Swedish origin, having been born to Eritrean parents in Solna. He is also tall (1.90m), and while he has a wirier frame than Ibrahimovic, the two men clearly share an appetite for goal. Like Ibrahimovic, he has chosen to expand his footballing horizons outside of Sweden – and his progress at Dortmund may define to what extent he becomes the new darling of the national side. 

8) Growing popularity

Isak's breakout season with AIK saw him pick up several honours at the Allsvenskans Grand Prize ceremony. He was voted Best Young Player in the Swedish top flight, and also picked up the Fans' Favourite Award, after winning an interactive vote on Facebook. Proof, if it were needed, that the Swedish starlet is turning heads both on the pitch and off it.

9) Dortmund over the rest

It was only a matter of time before Europe's big guns came calling – and Isak has chosen to commit his future to Dortmund, a club with an excellent reputation for developing young players. The 17-year-old should find himself right at home in Thomas Tuchel's squad, where the likes of Christian Pulisic (18), Julian Weigl (21), Ousmane Dembele (19) and Emre Mor (19) have been given regular opportunities to showcase their talents.

10) Watch this space

Isak isn't one to hang around when it comes to opening his accounts. He needed around 11 minutes to score on his AIK debut, and grabbed his first goal for Sweden 18 minutes into his second appearance. His sharp turn of pace and predatory instincts will help to bolster an already formidable Dortmund attack, and it will surely only be a matter of time before he nets his first goal for the Black-and-Yellows. Alexander Isak – get used to hearing the name.  

Andy Smith