It took Antonio Nusa just 10 minutes to score on his Norway debut. The Lions eased to a 6-0 win over Jordan on Thursday evening, with the teenage winger taking no time at all to open his account for the national team. No wonder Chelsea sought to sign the winger on deadline day. Reports suggest the Blues had a £23m bid rejected for the rising Club Bruges star this time last week, and failure to secure his services could come back to haunt Mauricio Pochettino's side.
Nusa is supposedly being scouted by at least 20 clubs with the race to land the 18-year-old set to heat up in the coming months. Chelsea spent much of the summer hoovering up the best young talent from around the world, with the club signing five players under the age of 20. Nusa is the next in their sights, and for good reason. Despite making just a handful of senior appearances for Club Bruges, the Norwegian is tipped to become a world class talent, so it's no surprise that interest in his services is already high.
Despite playing for a Club Bruges side that has scored more goals (15) than any other team in the Jupiler Pro League this season, Nusa has only been directly involved in two league goals this term, scoring once, and both of those came in a resounding 7-1 win over RWD Molenbeek last month. There is an argument to be made that the goal return should be higher. Nusa's 14 shots ranks ninth in the division, but a conversion rate of 7.1% is the second worst in Belgium's top tier.
Evidently there is work to be done in front of goal, but this is an aspect that will improve with the right coaching. That being said, while Nusa has just one assist to his name, it's not for want of trying. Nine key passes is a solid return for the young winger, and that ranks 20th in the Jupiler Pro League. That he has just one assist to his name is down to his teammates profligacy, yet crucially highlights that there is an end product to Nusa's game.
Given the willingness to try and ghost past an opponent with the ball at his feet, this is key. Indeed, Nusa's return of 17 successful dribbles is the fourth most in the Belgian division to reinforce a statistically calculated WhoScored strength of 'dribbling'. A 51.5% success rate shows that there are rough edges to Nusa's game that need to be smoothed out, yet the determination to regularly seek to beat a marker is a mental toughness that should be applauded.
🇳🇴 Antonio Nusa's player characteristics:— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 8, 2023
🟢 Aerial duels
🟢 Defensive contribution
🟢 Key passes
🔴 Passing pic.twitter.com/cZCeoQUhhd
What does also stand out about Nusa, though, is not just his work when in possession, but also the work he does off the ball. The winger boasts a statistically calculated strength of 'defensive contribution' and for good reason. He's won possession in the final third five times this season, the 14th most in the division, while 15 tackles and interceptions ranks 55th in Belgium's top tier. For context, this is a metric topped by Siebe Schrijvers (37), with Nusa impressing out of possession.
However, it is when Nusa is in possession and has space to run into that he is able to wreak havoc in the final third. "I like to create chaos. Neymar is my role model." he said back in 2021. He's been dubbed the Norwegian Neymar for good reason with his dribbling ability undoubtedly his biggest strength. Coupled with an ability to play across the frontline, he has the potential to take the world by storm, and Chelsea fans will be hoping he continues his rapid development at Stamford Bridge rather than elsewhere.
A goal on his international debut will further boost his reputation and if Europe's elite sides weren't already courting Nusa, they certainly will be now. Chelsea will fight tooth and nail to convince Nusa that west London is the perfect place to continue his improvement and really develop into a world class talent. They would rue any failure to land Nusa, that goes without saying.