“Is this really true?”
That was the thought rattling around Lucas Bergvall’s head after he marked his debut for Swedish top-flight side Djurgardens with a goal. One short year later, the prodigious midfielder signed for Tottenham Hotspur on his 18th birthday, finally ending the torrent of wild rumours surrounding his future.
Djurgarden’s sporting director Bo Andersson was certainly relieved. “I don’t think there has ever been so much speculation about a player either in Swedish or Scandinavian football before,” he gushed.
Here’s why Spurs fought off Barcelona and the rest of Europe to ensure that the Swedish teenager will be lining up in north London next season.
Bergvall has always been ahead of schedule. Growing up with a brother two years his senior, Lucas has invariably been compared to Theo but soon overtook his older sibling. Tottenham‘s new central midfielder made his debut for IF Brommapojkarna (BP) – the club that also produced Dejan Kulusevski – a little over two years ago in the Swedish third tier before his brother could make the breakthrough at right-back.
Theo followed Lucas to Djurgardens in February 2023 but is yet to force his way into the senior team. The younger Bergvall made his first start for the capital club in May 2023 and was tasked with man-marking Hacken’s captain Samuel Gustafson. The Sweden international is a decade older than Bergvall but was smothered by the enthusiastic debutant.
Oliver Berg captured his teammate’s indefatigable approach with an unusual analogy. “It’s like a dog,” Berg smiled after Djurgardens’ 1-0 victory, “when you release a ball, it runs after it. He runs after the ball all the time. Fantastic commitment and fantastic joy.”
Bergvall made his debut for Sweden’s senior side against Estonia as a 17-year-old in January, coming on for half an hour on the flanks but his best work is done through the middle. Industrious and dextrous, the 6’2 teenager has been hailed by Djurgardens head coach Thomas Lagerlof as “a complete player”.
No player born in 2006 could come anywhere near Bergvall’s generous tally of playing time in Sweden’s top flight last year, appearing in 25 of Djurgardens’ 30 league matches. By the end of the campaign, Bergvall was undroppable, scoring twice and teeing up another goal during a prolific spell which included a poignant strike against his former club BP. He didn’t celebrate.
Djurgardens most regularly lined…