Tottenham Hotspur made a strategic signing by securing the services of the highly-touted Croatian defender, Luka Vuskovic. The 2007-born prodigy is set to join the Lilywhites from Hajduk Split when he reaches the age of 18 in 2025, inking a long-term contract that extends until the end of the 2029-30 season.
Tottenham reportedly triumphed over stiff competition from elite clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City to secure his signature. The prospect of Vuskovic forming a central defensive partnership with Ashley Phillips in the coming decade has Spurs fans buzzing with excitement.
Meridian Sport takes a deep dive into Vuskovic’s burgeoning career, shedding light on his background, playing style, and what Tottenham faithful can anticipate from their newest teenage sensation.
Background: Luka Vuskovic hails from a footballing dynasty in Split, Croatia. Football courses through his veins, with his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all having connections to their hometown club. Adding to the family legacy, his brother, Mario Vuskovic, plies his trade as a left-sided player for Hamburger SV in the German second tier.
Vuskovic’s journey through the ranks began at Hajduk Split’s academy, where he swiftly ascended through the youth levels. At the tender age of 15, he made his mark with the club’s Under-19 team, displaying versatility by contributing six goals in 14 league matches during the 2022-23 season. He also showcased his prowess in European competition with two goals in six appearances in the UEFA Youth League.
Despite his youth, Vuskovic made his debut for Hajduk Split’s first team just two days after celebrating his 16th birthday. In a league match against Dinamo Zagreb, he showcased his potential even in a 4-0 loss. Shortly thereafter, Vuskovic etched his name in the club’s history books by becoming the youngest-ever goalscorer for Hajduk Split, finding the net against NK Osijek in a Croatian Cup quarter-final. He played a pivotal role as Hajduk Split clinched the tournament.
During the 2022-23 season, Vuskovic made 11 appearances for the senior team, though he grappled with a muscular injury. He is yet to make an appearance in the 2023-24 season.
Playing Style: Standing at an imposing 6 feet 4 inches, Vuskovic naturally leverages his physical attributes in both defensive and offensive situations. Aerial dominance, a powerful right foot, and an eye for long-range goals define his style. He’s demonstrated the ability to score remarkable goals from well within his own half, catching opposing goalkeepers off guard.
While Vuskovic’s long-range prowess may need adjustment in the Premier League, his talents extend beyond the extraordinary. He possesses a keen vision for long passes and maintains composure under pressure. Notably, Vuskovic is comfortable carrying the ball out from the back, a trait reminiscent of Joel Matip, although it can leave his team vulnerable to counterattacks when he ventures forward.
Defensively, Vuskovic is a robust presence, adept at dispossessing opponents—a quality akin to Arsenal’s William Saliba. Impressively, he received just one yellow card in 11 senior appearances last season.
However, Vuskovic’s fiery temperament emerged in the UEFA Youth League, where he received a straight red card after scoring the winning goal against Shakhtar Donetsk. He was also cautioned in the semi-final and final of that competition.
International Experience: Despite his youth, Vuskovic has made strides on the international stage. He represented Croatia’s Under-16 team in friendly matches against Armenia, Greece, and Slovenia, winning all three encounters. In a meteoric rise, he transitioned to the Under-17 level within six months.
He played a pivotal role in Croatia’s Under-17 Euros qualifiers in October 2022, scoring a goal in a 2-2 draw with Sweden. He continued his international journey with friendly matches against Denmark and Turkey in February.
Injury setbacks prevented him from participating in the May Under-17 European Championships. However, when he recovers, it may not be long before he garners attention from Zlatko Dalic, Croatia’s senior national team manager, marking the next chapter in Tottenham’s development pipeline.