Melker Hallberg - everything Hibs fans should know about the Easter Road side's new midfielder
Hibs have announced the signing of Swedish international Melker Hallberg on a three-year deal. Patrick McPartlin takes an in-depth look at the 23-year-old midfielder
Wonder kid in the making
At the age of 13, Hallberg was already featuring in Sweden's seventh tier for Möre BK, and made his debut in the country's top flight, the Allsvenskan, three years later when he came on as a half-time replacement for Johan Bertilsson in a match against Malmo.
He exploded onto the scene in his teens, chipping in with a handful of spectacular goals, and scored the winner for Kalmar against Elfsborg in July 2012, becoming the league's fourth-youngest goalscorer in history.
No.14 in Sweden's best 50 playersAs he became an Allsvenskan regular, the 18-year-old Hallberg was ranked at 14 by newspaper Expressen in their top 50 players of the 2013 season. He came in slightly behind Leicester and Ghana midfielder Daniel Amartey and current Rangers defender Filip Helander. Hallberg was deemed to have been a better performer than 148-cap Sweden midfielder Anders Svensson, current Brentford and former Malmo, Torino and Leeds defender Pontus Jansson and recent Newcastle signing Emil Krafth.
Hallberg's entry read: "What a super talent. Had he played for a bigger club, there would have been big headlines about Hallberg. He can be a bit inconsistent but his best performances are of an extremely high level."Serie A experience
Udinese snapped up Hallberg in 2014, and although he made just five appearances for the Serie A side, he caught the eye in central midfield in a match away to Napoli.He was close to a breakthrough at the Stadio Friuli side but ended up being sent out on loan to four different clubs for the remainder of his contract.
He can operate as a holding or box-to-box midfielder
Hallberg is a central midfielder who can operate as a Number 6 or Number 8 - he is comfortable in the holding role in front of the back four or getting forward. The quintessential team player, he possesses good technique, works hard in the engine room and is very disciplined.
During his loan spell at Norwegian side Valerenga, Hallberg was played as a Number 10, while Hammarby used him as a winger and, during his second spell with Kalmar, he filled in at right-back. At Italian Serie B side Ascoli, he was used as an auxiliary centre-back in one game.At his last club Vejle, Hallberg was used in his primary positions in central midfield and impressed, despite the Jutland outfit suffering relegation from the Danish top flight. Goals and assists
Still only 23, Hallberg has been played in no fewer than ten positions - and has scored and created goals in nearly all of them. He scored eight times for Kalmar and registered 12 assists over his two spells, with the bulk coming from central or defensive midfield. However, even when deployed as a winger or wide midfielder, he was adding assists and the odd goal.
In one game as a No.10 for Valerenga, he scored one and made the other in a 2-2 draw with Odds BK. He then scored a week later in another 2-2 draw, with Stromsgodset. International experience
Hallberg has been capped at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 level for Sweden, winning a combined total of 51 caps, scoring four goals. He has three full caps to date, won in friendly matches against Estonia, Finland and Iceland, and he was on the scoresheet against the Finns in a 3-0 win.