It took a little digging – but let me tell you just who our new Swedish wonder kid is.
David Moberg Karlsson (who will be affectionately referred to as ‘DMK’ hereafter) signs a four year contract for a fee reported to be around £1.6 million from Swedish Allsvenskan giants IFK Göteborg. Despite looking like he would struggle to buy a lottery ticket, he is 19 and comes to Wearside with heavy expectations from his home country.
DMK worked his way from virtually the very bottom of the Swedish football leagues, starting with Björsäter SK - based in a tiny village with the same name and less than 500 inhabitants. By bottom, I mean bottom, Björsäter play in the Southern Östergötland section of Division 6 – don’t be fooled by the number that is actually the 8th tier of Swedish football (that would be three divisions below the Conference National in England). He would then earn a move to IFK Mariestads in 2008 in the Central Götaland section of Division 3, which is equivalent to our Conference National (not to be confused with their fierce rivals Mariestads BK).
After a couple of seasons, DMK earned his moved to Sweden’s top division and arguably their biggest club IFK Göteborg. Used primarily as a winger, he has been ever present in Göteborg’s current campaign including coming on as a substitute in their cup final victory over Djurgården. Interestingly, former Sunderland player Tobias Hysen scored Göteborg’s goal which took the tie to penalties.
Okay, now you know where he came from…but what can we expect? I have no idea to be honest, but Patrik from www.Baraben.com (easily IFK Göteborg’s best fan site) has very kindly filled in the blanks for us. We put a few questions to him and here is what he had to say;
WAW: Can you tell us what you think are DMK’s strengths and weaknesses?
Patrik: “David's strengths are definitely his speed and technique. He often manages to get around and past his opponent and is very difficult to stop when he has the speed going. He is also a cool finisher and shoots really well with the left foot. We very often compare him to Gareth Bale. They play very alike, though - Gareth is a few steps better than David!”
“He would have to learn when to pass the ball sometimes. He is not selfish, but just needs to evaluate when it's time. Also, he hasn't scored that many goals this spring.”
WAW: Do you think he be suited to the English game?
Patrik: “Yes, he's a clean scorer and one of the biggest talents Sweden has managed to create this century, and yet, he is still only 19 years old.”
WAW: Would you say he is ready for first team football with Sunderland?
Patrik: “There's a big gap between Allsvenskan and the Premier League, but as a substitute in the first team – absolutely. A few youth games would do him good.”
WAW: Initial reports suggest he is primarily a striker, others suggested a winger - which position is he best suited?
Patrik: “David's a smart player who can play at both positions. For the English game I think he would do best as a winger. He's comfortable with the ball, and as a winger he gets to play more than just finish.”
WAW: Would you consider this is a good signing for Sunderland?
“I really do. He will definitely be missed by us. Only god knows how good he can be.”
Karlsson’s relationship with IFK Göteborg supporters certainly reads fruitfully with the little evidence we can get a hold of. Commonly referred to as Moberg rather than the more common Swedish surname Karlsson, Baraben.com went on to make a T-shirt of his nickname, ‘DMK’, which promptly sold out. We thought it was clever and here it is;
Patrik was not just complimentary of DMK as a footballer, but also told us a cracking little story showcasing his professionalism;
“When Gothenburg won the Swedish Cup in May, I travelled with the team back to Gothenburg from Stockholm. There was a private party on the train back home, but since I know many of the players they let me in. I think David was the only one who was not drunk. He's really serious in what he does. And we Swede's, we love to drink. A lot.”
I’m sure you did a nod of approval reading that like I did!
DMK describes his best footballing qualities as “quick and technical” according to an interview on IFK Göteborg’s website. When asked what player he would not like to play against, like a good lad, he replied “none”. The same website also describes him as “quick, explosive and has those qualities a sharp forward should have”.
It is clear that Moberg Karlsson has worked very hard to earn his move to the Premier League, with his professionalism and style earning comparisons with Gareth Bale – what could possibly go wrong? I feel you may see a lot more of DMK this season than perhaps we were first anticipating. The fact he is training with the senior squad would add weight behind that argument. It’s like that, and that’s the way it is.
Certainly an exciting prospect.