Club: RB Leipzig
Preferred Foot: Right
Benjamin Šeško is a diamond in the rough. Rapid speed with good mobility & dribbling for a 6’4” ST. Blessed with a swagger & level of flair. Flicks, tricks, turns & spins. When watching Šeško, it’s easy to forget how tall he is and the way he can turn past his man in style. Šeško is an amazing athlete with an elite range of movement/flexibility which enables his acrobatic improvised finishes. He’s the type of ST who throws his body at the ball to score. Similar to a young Zlatan Ibrahimović and in some ways, Erling Haaland.
Finishing-wise Šeško is strong on both feet. In 1v1 situations, volleys, half-volleys, shooting from distance, calmly slotting finishes past the keeper, etc. He has a great shooting technique and when he has the chance to volley the ball, he’s patient in waiting for it to drop perfectly. This is one way in which Šeško differs from Haaland. Šeško is capable of going on either side to equal lethality. Something that Thierry Henry said to Haaland in an interview on CBS Golazo Show that the Norweigan needs to work on. This is important to make a striker more unpredictable.
Šeško so far this season doesn’t always start for Leipzig due to a lot of ST competition with Lois Openda, Timo Werner, Dani Olmo, Xavi Simons, Christoph Baumgartner, Yussuf Poulsen, and all other ST options. But in the occasions he’s played he’s demonstrated excellent numbers. 4.17 shots per 90 so far this season and 2.08 of these are on target (in the Bundesliga). This gives Šeško a shot accuracy of around 50%. Šeško has an xG of 1.6 this season scoring 3 goals, this overperformance shows the level of Šeško’s shooting capabilities.
However, a caveat on these numbers is the fact that this comes from 2.4x90s. Whether he can maintain these numbers over the course of the season remains to be seen, but from what I know about Šeško from watching him at Salzburg is that he can. Šeško has great in-the-box instincts. He anticipates when the ball is coming in and positions himself well to receive it. A slight movement away from his defender creates separation so that when he gets the ball, he’s free to shoot without being challenged.
His in-the-box movement is largely down to his good spatial awareness in the box. He often knows where his teammates are so if he’s not in the best position to shoot he can find them with disguised passes (eg. flicks). Generally, Šeško has good positional discipline for a young ST. He’ll score goals… A LOT. When in the final 3rd he’ll stay central as a focal point rather than drifting wide. This is important when vs low-blocks to get on the end of the creative players’ through balls & crosses
Šeško’s tendencies to stay central mainly occur in the final third. However, when bracing himself for a counterattack, Šeško will drift wide to run into the open space down the channels. This allows him to use his devastating pace to get into the final third to create a shooting opportunity. At 6’4”, Šeško is an obvious target so he engaged in a lot of aerial duels. However, he isn’t outstanding aerially. He lacks the dominant presence that you’d expect in a 6’4” ST. Coaching in this regard would go a long way in making him more complete.
At 20 years old, it’s not a surprise that he has room for physical development. He still needs to grow into his large frame and learn to use his body better in duels, both ground and aerially. This will make him even better at hold-up play & a dangerous aerial presence on crosses/set-pieces.
Šeško doesn’t have a high amount of passes per 90 (17.5 attempted, 10.0 completed – 57.1% accuracy), but don’t let these numbers fool you, he does drop deeper to receive the ball to hold up the ball or for link-up play. He’s definitely not a false 9. He’s a no.9. On the other hand, he’s also not completely passive in build-up or link-up play. He’s a good middle ground. He shows silky, stylish link-up play when given the opportunity to do so.
The systems that Šeško has played in at Red Bull Salzburg & RB Leipzig allow for a counter-attacking style & space in behind so it’s here where his obvious strength is. But his link-up play is underrated. It is important to note is at 20 he’s young & inexperienced enough to be moulded into any system & type of ST whether it’s possession or transition-based.
With Šeško’s long rangy legs, and the power & speed they’re able to produce it’s not a surprise that Šeško is an amazing ball-striking. What’s impressive though is that he’s good on both feet. The Slovenian ST is able to generate great power in shots with minimal backlift to get shots off quicker. Šeško has shown good long-passing ability. Unfortunately, the volume isn’t there but this is down to his role and the tactical instructions.
He’s almost always been deployed in a 2xST formation with no wingers at both Red Bull group clubs. Here he’s been the furthest forward tasked with running the channels. Šeško has linked up well with his ST partner (Lois Openda at Leipzig, Noah Okafor/Karim Konaté/Junior Adamu at Salzburg). But if he was at a team that played with a creative winger and he was the lone ST, it would be good to see him drop deeper, use his long, chipped passes out wide to play the LW/RW through, then his pace to recover & arrive in the box to get on the end of the return.
Defensively Šeško is strong too. He plays a big role in defending corners and presses from the front relentlessly. The Red Bull way. They always have hard-working press machines, therefore, Šeško has the engine to maintain this throughout the game with such aggression. Rumours have been surfacing of Arsenal’s interest in Benjamin Šeško. Whether they sign him or not that remains to be seen, but I’m almost certain that they’ll be scouting him due to his high ceiling as an elite goal-scorer.
Šeško is a unique ST profile – one different from who Arsenal have in their squad currently. Someone of a more physical presence who also runs in behind much more. A more 2 footed finisher who will do whatever they can to get on the end of crosses. Compared to Eddie Nketiah & Gabriel Jesus, numbers-wise Šeško is much better aerially but less of a creator. It’s similar when comparing him to Kai Havertz from 2022/23 at Chelsea as a striker.
Looking at Šeško vs Ivan Toney, an interesting factor is that they received a very similar amount of passes but resulted in a vastly different xA and passes into the penalty box. Toney is a ‘ready-made’ solution, whereas Šeško is a prospect ST with elite potential. Possibly both are needed. The numbers make Šeško seem incapable of creativity, but the eye test suggests differently. He’d certainly need coaching in this regard because of being in systems so different but there’s the ability & the willingness to learn there with a great mentality. There’s still a long way to go in his development, but Šeško is nevertheless a unique gem in attack who could very well end up being Slovenia’s answer to Zlatan Ibrahimović.
By: Ben Mattinson / @Ben_Mattinson_
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Neil Baynes – FC Red Bull Salzburg