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Elseid Hysaj seems to be headed for big things, if the comments of his agent are to be believed. The right-back, who plays for Serie A side Napoli, was linked heavily with a move to Premier League clubs like Arsenal and Chelsea earlier in the summer, but the Partenopei managed to retain him.
However, his agent has now said that the player could very well be on the move next summer, if Napoli fail to win the Serie A this season, dropping the names of several big clubs like Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus as potential destinations.
Speaking to TMW Radio (via Express), agent Mario Giuffredi said:
“He is a champion and could make an important role for himself even at Juventus, Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain, not just at Napoli. He is destined for the career of a champion.
“He decided to stay at Napoli because he had started this project with Maurizio Sarri and all together they believe this can be the year of the Scudetto.
“Hysaj wanted to continue the work they had begun, then in June we’ll see what to do.”
With the player’s agent dropping hints over a big move to Real Madrid, here we take a closer look at who Elseid Hysaj really is and whether he has the quality to cut it out on the big stage.
Born on 2 February 1994, in Shkoder, Albania, Elseid Hysaj started at local club FC Shkodra before moving to Italy at the age of 14. He had trials with a number of clubs, including Fiorentina, but ended up joining the academy of Empoli in 2009.
Two years later, he received his first call-up to the senior team and made his debut in November 2011 in a Coppa Italia game against Fiorentina. However, he did not make his Serie B debut until the following year, despite having made it to the bench on three occasions. In October 2012, he made his first league appearance and went on to play 35 times that season, assisting a single goal.
Impressed with what they had seen, Empoli offered Hysaj a new contract in September 2013, as he continued to grow into a pivotal member of the first-team. He made 32 league appearances in the 2013/14 season, scoring a solitary goal, as the club earned promotion back to the Serie A. He made his serie A debut in August 2014, against Udinese, and went on to play 36 times in the competition, assisting two goals.
Napoli came calling in July 2015 and a €5million move was completed a month later. He immediately became the first-choice at the San Paolo, appearing 43 times in all competitions, registering 2 assists in the 2015/16 campaign. In the process, he also made his European debut in the UEFA Europa League. He played 45 times in the subsequent season, producing the same returns as the preceding campaign. Hysaj has played six times in the ongoing campaign.
Having represented the Albanian national team at the U17s and the U21s, he made his senior debut in February 2013 and till date, has played 29 times for Albania.
A full-back of versatile nature, Hysaj can slot in at both right-back or left-back and has been equally comfortable and consistent on both sides of the back four. He has also filled in at centre-back when needed and has showed that he can perform in that role strongly.
Standing at 6ft tall, the 23-year old is a commanding presence at the back, and effuses great defensive awareness. His ability to keep the concentration levels up all the time and stay alert to situations is a big feature of his game. A highly intelligent player, with strong sense of positioning and tactical awareness, Hysaj is someone who rarely gets caught out at the back, something that is very useful for a full-back.
The Albanian international possesses decent pace and is quite athletic for someone of his physical frame, and is strong in his challenges, be it on the ground or in the air. He might have not produced great number of goals and assists in his career, but he is an effective attacking outlet, with his passing and usage of possession oozing quality and efficiency.
Madrid are short on options at right-back, with Dani Carvajal the only senior choice for Zinedine Zidane, having sold Danilo in the summer. So, a move for another right-sided full-back cannot be ruled out in the summer.
Hysaj wouldn’t be a Galactico signing by any means, but the 23-year old has proven himself to be an able player and given his age, there is plenty of scope for improvement. With Carvajal lacking proper competition and backup in the ranks, the Napoli man could be the right man to push the Spanish international in the Madrid squad.