In 2017, Alexander Isak signed with Borussia Dortmund, leaving AIK for a reported $10.7 million.
At the time, the Swedish striker was the talk of the football world but he struggled to establish himself at the Signal Iduna Park.
As such, he joined Real Sociedad on a five-year deal in 2019.
Since then, Isak has quietly gone about his business, but an impressive European Championship has put the goalscorer back in the spotlight.
So, let’s look at how Isak went from failed Dortmund prospect to leading the line for Sweden.
Stepping Up in Ibrahimovic’s Absence
Isak failed to live up to expectations at Dortmund, and a fresh start for the 2019-20 season was best for all parties.
In finding goalscoring form at Sociedad, Isak established himself as a regular member of the Sweden squad.
After impressing Janne Andersson, the manager, Isak played an integral role as the Blue and Yellow topped Group E in the 2020 European Championships.
Now, Sweden will believe that they can go all the way, and they were 50/1 in Euro 2020 odds to win the competition, as of June 25th.
Sweden’s chances of reaching the latter stages of the European Championships would have been aided by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s inclusion, but a knee injury ruled the 39-year-old out of the competition.
This setback opened the door for Isak to lead the line for his country, and he hasn’t let the Blue and Yellow supporters down.
Although the 21-year-old failed to score in the group phase, he worked tirelessly to earn a hard-fought draw against Spain on matchday one, while he also assisted Emil Forsberg’s opening goal against Poland on matchday three.
His Success Won’t Come as a Surprise to Sociedad Supporters
It speaks volumes about Isak’s talent that Ibrahimovic described the 21-year-old as “fantastic”.
Furthermore, many believe that the former Dortmund prospect will fill the iconic striker’s boots when he retires from international football.
There can be no doubt that, since Isak moved to Reale Arena, he’s taken his game to the next level.
In the striker’s first season in La Liga, he scored nine goals and provided one assist in 37 appearances.
However, Isak only started 14 games in 2019-20. Last season, those figures rose to 17 goals and two assists in 34 matches, 30 of which he started.
Aside from being a prolific goalscorer, Isak's also consistent in regards to getting into goalscoring positions.
FBref states that in both 2019-20 and 2020-21, the 21-year-old hit the target with 50 percent of his total shots.
That said, his shot-on-target total per 90 rose from 1.31 to 1.50 across his opening two seasons playing for Sociedad, indicating that Isak is repeatedly in the right areas to trouble the opposition goalkeeper.
Does Isak’s Future Lie in Spain?
Isak’s impressive European Championship campaign will undoubtedly have piqued the interests of numerous clubs across Europe.
At six-foot-four, the Swedish striker can hold up the ball and bring others into play, while he also possesses the pace to burst beyond defenders.
Irrespective of what happens next in his career, adding consistency to his game has seen him develop from a Dortmund prospect to a starting striker on the international stage.
This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago