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A Closer Look at Wingers Jonathan Levi and Osame Sahraoui

By Tyler Trent

Jonathan Levi - Age 26 - Right Winger

Jonathan Levi for Norrköping. Photo courtesy of IFK Norrköping.

Jonathan Levi was born in Glumslöv, Sweden in 1996. He came up through his local side’s academy team Glumslövs FF before eventually moving to the Eskilsminne IF academy in 2013, where his older brother played professionally. Levi eventually progressed to the Eskilsminne senior team in 2015, but was unable to break into their first team and was loaned to HIF Akademi. Playing in the fourth tier of Sweden as a teenager, he quickly proved he was above that level scoring 7 goals in 8 appearances.

Following his time in the fourth division, Levi climbed the pyramid of Sweden playing with Landskrona BoIS and Östers IF in the third tier in 2016 and 2017. Following his time there, Levi decided to take his career to Norway and signed with most successful team in Norwegian history, Rosenborg BK. Levi’s time at Rosenborg saw limited time during the second half of the 2017 season, but had a solid season in 2018 making 19 appearances and scoring 4 goals with 2 assists. However, for the next season Levi was loaned back to Sweden with IF Elfsborg in the league’s top division, Allsvenskan. Levi had another strong season in 2019 for Elfsborg scoring 5 goals and adding 4 assists in 21 appearances. Off the success of two successful seasons, Levi caught the interest of Allsvenskan side IFK Norrköping where he has played since 2020.

In his 3 seasons with Norrköping, Levi has scored 17 goals and provided 18 assists playing primarily as a right winger. In his first two seasons, Norrköping was a midtable club finishing 6th and 7th in the league. In his most reason season, his team struggled more finishing in 12th place, two spots out of the relegation zone. However, Levi had his most successful season as a professional for a struggling side. Levi scored 6 goals and added 7 assists in 2022.

Jonathan Levi is a player who provides a lot of attacking capability while being a capable defender as well. Levi was one of the best wingers in Sweden last year always with an eye to play the ball forward into dangerous positions. A left-footed right winger, Levi often looks to cut in and look for a key pass to a teammate or take a shot. Last season, his cross-completion percentage was quite low likely due to a weaker right foot playing on the right wing. However, after cutting inside, Levi was one of the most creative wingers in the league often making very strong goalscoring opportunities for his teammates. Standing around 6’1”, Levi is also capable of getting onto crosses in the box with his larger frame.

The below radar shows Levi last season compared to 32 other wingers in Allsvenskan. Levi was able to put up impressive stats for a struggling team throughout the season. If he was to come to Charlotte, he would come in as a right wing player where Charlotte likely has Kerwin Vargas and McKinzie Gaines for depth already. Vargas has played on the left as well, however, we will likely see him more on the right side. Bringing in another right winger could provide a boost to the team, however that could come at the cost of growth and playtime for Vargas. Additionally, Gaines continued to raise he level as this season progressed and turned into one of our most dangerous players as the season closed.

Radar Courtesy of Ben Griffis.

After Levi’s successful season, his value has increased to an estimated 2.7 million dollars. However, his contract with Norrköping only has one year left, so he could be on the move potentially. If Charlotte is to add a winger this season, Jonathan Levi could be a big difference maker, however, it is more likely for Charlotte to be interested in a left winger going into year two.

Osame Sahraoui - Age 21 - Left Winger

Osame Sahraoui drives the ball forward. Photo courtesy of Vålerenga.

Osame Sahraoui was born in Oslo, Norway, in 2001 and grew up in the Hauketo IF academy before joining the Vålerenga academy in 2014. In 2020, he made his debut for Vålerenga in Norway’s top division, Eliteserien. In his debut season as a professional, Sahraoui appeared in 28 matches and scored 5 goals. Sahraoui was born in Norway, but is of Moroccan descent. He played for the U18 team of Morocco as a teenager, but has been playing with Norway’s U21 team since 2021. In Sahraoui’s second season, he scored 2 goals and added 3 assists as he began to round out his game and become more comfortable as professional. In his most recent season, Sahraoui scored 6 goals and provided 2 assists. With three strong seasons under his belt in Norway, multiple teams have him on the radar for a potential transfer and he is likely to move this Winter.

Sahraoui is a very strong dribbler capable of taking players on by himself, however, he is also a strong passer of the ball as well. Sahraoui has always been smaller than the older players he has played with and has made up the difference with his technical ability and knowledge of the game. His pace, balance, and dribbling ability allows him to bypass more physical players easily and he always has the confidence to take a player on. In the most recent season, Sahraoui has improved in his physicality and defensive duties, but they are still his biggest weaknesses.

Osame Sahraoui prefers to play as an inverted left winger or as an attacking midfielder. While he is right-footed, Sahraoui has shown his left foot is capable of playing accurate and key passes into the box. Sahraoui likes to receive the ball in the box and takes a lot of touches inside the box looking for quality opportunities while using his strong dribbling skills. While he doesn't take shots as often as other wingers in Norway, he waits for a quality look before taking a chance as shown by his high percentile rankings for npxG per shot (non-penalty expected goals).

Radar courtesy of Ben Griffis.

Off a strong season with interest outside of Norway, Sahraoui’s value has been estimated at 2.1 million dollars. His contract is set to expire in December 2023, however there have been reports of Belgian clubs looking to sign the promising young Norwegian as well. With only one year on his contract, Sahraoui is likely thinking about moving to a stronger league while his club will be looking to profit of the player before his contract expires and he becomes a free agent.

Currently, Charlotte has Kamil Jóźwiak and Yordy Reyna as their primary left wingers. Reyna is likely to leave the club with reports suggesting Charlotte FC was looking to sell the player. Kamil Jóźwiak had a rough first season in Charlotte showing sparks of his talent, but overall, not meeting the standards of a designated player in MLS. Sahraoui could easily slide into the team as a U22 initiative player or young designated player capable of making a strong offensive output.