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View from Sweden: Who is Marcus Antonsson, Leeds's new striker?

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An in-depth look at the Swedish forward Leeds have brought to Elland Road, from HITC's Gothenburg based writer.

With Leeds United looking to bring in firepower up front ahead of the new Championship season, Garry Monk's first in charge at Elland Road, the club have finally secured the signing of a striker who has taken the Allsvenskan by storm over the last 18 months, Kalmar attacker Marcus Antonsson.

At 25, Antonsson is no promising youngster Leeds are gambling on. The striker has exploded into one of the best forwards in the country over the last couple of seasons, and is currently leading the goalscoring charts with 10 goals in 12 games, despite playing for a side that in recent years has struggled to make an impression in the top flight.

General view outside the stadium before the game - Leeds UnitedGeneral view outside the stadium - Leeds United

He is quick, strong and possesses excellent close control. Unsurprisingly for a player in the form of his life, this season he has displayed a real goalscorer's knack, often using his burst of pace and awareness to benefit from the slightest error from his opponents, while also able to time his runs very well in order to receive passes beyond the defence.

Kalmar, currently mid table, finished just above the relegation zone last year, Antonsson's first at the club after arriving from Halmstads, where he briefly played under new Leeds assistant Pep Clotet. But the forward still managed to finish as one of the division's top scorers, and it is a sign of his upwards trajectory that he has already beaten last season's total across all matches. 

Swansea manager Garry Monk and assistant manager Josep Clotet (L)New Leeds United management team Garry Monk and assistant manager Josep Clotet (L) while at Swansea.

Antonsson really caught the eye in Sweden in the final few matches of Halmstads' 2014 season, where he scored six times in the last five games to steer them away from relegation danger and towards mid table. Prior to that, he often featured from the bench, despite having made his debut in 2010. Upon selling him to Kalmar that winter, Halmstads would suffer relegation back to the second division in the following season. 

This year, the attacker has pushed his form up to another level, scoring in all but four of his club's league games, a run that saw him nearly make Sweden's squad for Euro 2016. He signed an improved contract earlier this year until 2018, but appears to have already outgrown the Allsvenskan.  

Leeds of course famously signed up one of the greatest Sweden internationals of the last 25 years when they brought in Tomas Brolin from Parma in 1995, but the forward, revered in his own country, was a huge disappointment at Elland Road.

However, there have been several Scandinavian stars who have impressed while turning out for the Whites, though most have come from across Sweden's west border. Eirik Bakke, Alf-Inge Haaland, Gunnar Halle were three Norwegians who, though never superstar players, are fondly thought of by Leeds fans.

The real question is, does Antonsson have what it takes to have an impact similar to or greater than his Scandinavian compatriots, or is he likely to struggle in England like his fellow Swede Brolin?

As with many players, catching them at the right point in their career is pivotal to their success. Antonsson, confident and fit having already taken in half a domestic season, should be able to carry his form across to the Championship, if he is given sufficient opportunities by Monk.

For the player personally, their is now a Zlatan Ibrahimovic sized hole in the national team, and the country's top five-ten strikers, of which Antonsson is certainly part of, will know that a prolonged spell of form could see them in the famous blue and yellow number ten.

TV4 journalist Olof Lundh certainly had positive things to say about the attacker's move to Elland Road, when he spoke to West Yorkshire Sport Daily earlier this week.

And with the style of football Monk way well implement at Leeds, it could be that Antonsson carries his goalscoring form seamlessly into English football.

Nouha Dicko of Wolverhampton Wanderers (C) in action with Gaetano Berardi (L) and Liam Cooper of Leeds UnitedNouha Dicko of Wolverhampton Wanderers (C) in action with Gaetano Berardi (L) and Liam Cooper of Leeds United

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