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Smart Transfers: Bodø/Glimt

As the winter transfer window has drawn to a close, we will use Smarterscout’s advanced metrics and league benchmarking to assess the transfer business of selected teams that caught our eye.


Norwegian champions Bodø/Glimt have been a team in the ascendancy of late, having lifted all three of the league titles in their cabinet in the 2020s. After Molde denied them three consecutive league titles in 2022, they bounced back brilliantly last term and finished first by a comfortable margin.

Over the winter, though, Glimt have lost a number of key players. Their attacking department has taken the biggest hit as both of their top scorers have moved on with Amahl Pellegrino going to the San Jose Earthquakes and Faris Moumbagna joining Marseille. Teenage talent Tobias Gulliksen has also left for Sweden, having only joined the club from Strømsgodset in the summer.

Looking at their squad depth, it is quite clear that they absolutely needed to dive into the transfer market to replace these players. Glimt did just that and also went on to add depth in a couple of other areas with their signings.

Håkon Evjen (from Brøndby)

Håkon Evjen has sealed a return to Bodø for a €2.50m transfer fee.

The Norwegian youth international has not had the best of times since leaving the Arctic Circle in 2020. He did not even cross 50 appearances in three calendar years at AZ and failed to complete a full season at Brøndby. As a result, it is tough to estimate where exactly his current level would place him in Eliteserien.

In the past, though, he has shown good glimpses. At AZ, he did well as a right winger, and his last season at Glimt saw him play a variety of positions including central midfielder.

Talent was never a question for Evjen as he broke through in senior football at just 15 years old, but he will now hope that a return to familiar surroundings sets his career back on track. For their part, Glimt will likely hope to see his attacking qualities shine through more consistently.

Jens Petter Hauge (on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt)

Another player returning to the club is Jens Petter Hauge, though he has only left Frankfurt on loan.

Like Evjen, he too has had a tough time since leaving Norway. Despite stints at Milan, Eintracht Frankfurt and Gent, he has struggled to find regular game time anywhere in mainland Europe. His last season in Bodø was quite sensational, though, so it is easy to understand why the club have brought him in.

Replacing the attacking output of the stellar Amahl Pellegrino is a very tall order indeed, but Glimt have gone for the man who starred in that role prior to the arrival of the 33-year-old winger. Like Evjen, Hauge will also hope to prove that he has still got it back in Eliteserien.

Kasper Høgh (from Stabæk)

The first entirely new arrival in Bodø in our list, then, is Kasper Høgh. The Danish striker only came to Norway last season as he left Aalborg for Stabæk, but has now moved to the champions who have been convinced to pay a transfer fee of €700,000 for his services.

Høgh only scored four non-penalty goals last year, but our model saw enough in his all-round attacking work and aerial strength to consider him a high performer for the Norwegian league.

On paper at least, it does not seem that the 23-year-old has the pure goal-scoring instincts to replace the output of Faris Moumbagna directly as he appears to be a different sort of profile. So, while he should be a strong addition to Glimt’s attack, it will be interesting to see where they plan to get their goals from.

August Mikkelsen (Hammarby to Bodø/Glimt)

Just a week before the window close, Glimt added another attacker to their ranks in the shape of young August Mikkelsen.

The 23-year-old spent the last year in Sweden at Hammarby, having previously progressed through the ranks and broken into the first team of his hometown club, Tromsø. He did not get a particularly great deal of game time in Allsvenskan, though, ending the season with less than 1,000 minutes played. With that in mind, Hammarby should be glad to have made a slight profit on his transfer fee by selling him for about €1.70 million.

Mikkelsen clearly did not make much of an impact in Stockholm, but his previous season in Eliteserien saw him do well enough in a couple of different roles.

In the 2022 Eliteserien, the young Norwegian did well in central attacking roles, standing out with his dribbling and passing while maintaining a very good degree of ball retention. His attacking output, though, was relatively low and remained so at Hammarby, so Glimt will want to see an improvement in that respect.

Jostein Gundersen (from Tromsø)

Despite their comfortable cushion at the top of the table, Glimt only had the third-best defensive record in Eliteserien last season. Regular center-back Marius Lode also left for Sweden, so he needed replacing. With all that in mind, perhaps their best piece of business this winter is bringing in Jostein Gundersen on a free transfer from the team that conceded the fewest goals last season – Tromsø.

Gundersen has been performing at an exceptional level for the last few seasons as a center-back on either side. His xGAR numbers are among the highest in Eliteserien, and they are largely a product of his absolutely outstanding defending quality and quantity.

It should be noted that Tromsø use a back-three, so Gundersen will not be given the same level of freedom to be an aggressive defender in Glimt’s 4-3-3. His quality should prove very handy, though, and his ball retention and link-up passing may shine better as well.

Kjetil Haug (on loan from Toulouse)

A part of Glimt’s defensive underperformance last season may also be attributed to subpar goalkeeping, so they have signed Kjetil Haug on loan from Toulouse with an option to buy in the summer window.

The 25-year-old Norwegian has barely featured for the French club, as he spent the first half of the 2023/24 season on loan at Sarpsborg. Our model was impressed by his work there and especially at Vålerenga prior, so he has a high non-headers in open play saving rating of 88 and also shows up well on ball-playing metrics.

All things considered, Haug seems to be the right profile of goalkeeper for Glimt, so the option to buy will likely be exercized in the summer with all being well.

Verdict

Clearly, it has been a busy winter window for Glimt with significant departures and arrivals.

Interestingly, they have elected to trust some attackers who formerly starred for them despite their disappointing returns elsewhere to make up for the loss of their talismanic forwards. Håkon Evjen and Jens Petter Hauge will hope to rediscover their form back in Bodø, but Kasper Høgh might be the safest bet as he has recent form in Eliteserien under his belt.

The signings of August Mikkelsen and especially Jostein Gundersen may also have a psychological impact as they have recently starred for Glimt’s rivals Tromsø. The latter is sure to improve the champions’ defensive record alongside goalkeeper Kjetil Haug, so they will only get stronger in that department.

All things considered, Glimt have done a pretty good job in this window. They have worked to upgrade what was a very slight weakness last season at the back, while also replacing key departures in attack with proven quality. Once again, they seem to be the favorites for the title going into the season.

 

By Neel Shelat

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