Adam Fröberg, Swedish football expert: Valdimarsson is a ‘very commanding’ goalkeeper

Adam Fröberg, Swedish football expert: Valdimarsson is a ‘very commanding’ goalkeeper
Adam Fröberg, Swedish football expert: Valdimarsson is a ‘very commanding’ goalkeeper

Adam Fröberg, reporter at Swedish football channel Fotbollskanalen, has shared his thoughts on goalkeeper Hákon Valdimarsson following his switch to Brentford from Allsvenskan side Elfsborg.

Valdimarsson was named Goalkeeper of the Year in the Swedish top flight in 2023. He kept more clean sheets than any keeper in the division (13) and had the highest save percentage (78) as Elfsborg finished runners-up to Malmö on goal difference.

And Fröberg believes that the 6ft 4in keeper’s command of his area will stand him in good stead as he competes with Mark Flekken and Thomas Strakosha for a starting spot at Brentford.

What did you make of the news that Brentford had signed of Hákon Valdimarsson?

Firstly, I was a bit surprised because the news before was that he was a bit closer to signing for Aston Villa, but then it emerged that Brentford were actually going to sign him.

My first thought is that it is a good step for him and that the Premier League and English football will suit him very well because he is a very commanding, physical and verbal keeper, with good feet.

It is a big step, because it is not often a player from Sweden, less so a goalkeeper, goes straight to the Premier League. After time to adapt, I think it will be a very good step for him.

What can you tell us about the strengths Valdimarsson possesses?

In the context of the Allsvenskan, he is very good in the air. He takes away everything, is very commanding and owns his box very well, which has helped Elfsborg. They came second in the league last season and Valdimarsson was a big part of that because he is the kind of keeper that helps his backline very much with his very verbal way of playing.

Sometimes, smaller centre-backs or full-backs at Elfsborg have not been tested as much in the box because Valdimarsson has taken everything away.

He is also good with his feet, so is more or less a complete goalkeeper.

The Swedish season doesn’t actually start again until April, so what sort of condition will he be in at the moment?

Valdimarsson is a very professional player and takes care of himself very well, so I would not think he has stepped down physically at all. However, he has not played a game since November, so that is one issue if Brentford would like to use him straight away.

If the plan is to play him straight away, I do not think it will be much of an issue, but he will need a bit of time to get to match fitness again.

Brentford already have two experienced first-team goalkeepers at the moment in Mark Flekken and Thomas Strakosha. Will Valdimarsson be prepared to develop first and then take the no.1 shirt later, if that is the club’s plan?

I think so. From the times I have spoken to Valdimarsson, I can see he is a very reasonable guy and, if he takes the step to Brentford now, I think it will be with a long-term view.

If it takes six months or two years to get to play in the Premier League regularly, that is all part of the plan.

Do you feel he has plenty of room to develop over the coming years?

Yes. For a goalkeeper, 22 is not that old and I think he can get better with more experience. That will help him a lot, but also some training with his feet will do him good, too.

Right now, I think he is a very good player; this is a good move for him and Brentford are doing a smart deal.

Is there any goalkeeper you would compare him to?

I have thought about this and it is a bit hard to compare him to anyone. However, though there is a big difference in the quality between the two of them right now, he is a bit like Thibault Courtois.

Do you think he has what it takes to be a Premier League goalkeeper?

Absolutely I do. We have never seen a goalkeeper like him in the Allsvenskan and, if the reports are true, he will be the most expensive goalkeeper a Swedish club has ever sold, which says a lot about his qualities.

Let me put it this way, he is one of the top three goalkeepers I have seen in the Allsvenskan and that is just from the peak of his play last season. When he came from Iceland, he started as the second goalkeeper at Elfsborg in the summer of 2021 and the goalkeeper at the time, Tim Ronning, was a young prospect who the club believed in.

Valdimarsson got three or four games in Allsvenskan that year, just to test himself to see where he was standing. In the 2022 season, Ronning was no.1 for half the season, then Valdimarsson got his chance in the second part. He has now made that spot his own.

How would you describe him as a person?

He is a very down to earth, kind person. That is the short description, but it describes him pretty well.