Written by Dan Anjos
As transfer season starts to warm up, I look into the strikers around Europe that have been firing goals all season which could be soon featuring on Match of the Day.
The first league with 3 strikers that have been scoring all year long is the Eredivisie (Dutch League).The Eredivisie has had many good strikers that have succeeded in the Premier league such as Bony at Swansea, Pellè at Southampton and famously Luis Suarez at Liverpool. The top goal scorer in this league was Vincent Janssen with 27 goals and 5 assists in 34 games for AZ Alkmaar. This is a striker with an eye for goal as his main attribute. Old fashioned in the sense he is not the quickest of strikers or the tallest but does score goals. At the age of 22 , he has plenty of time to develop and become even better. I am surprised that no team has announced his signing yet. The Dutch league is a selling league and with the financial power of the BPL it seems like a no brainer for a top half side to sign him. He could move for a fee of between £10-15 million if not less. I can see Spurs as a great place for him to develop his football. It would offer Harry Kane some sort of competition for his place which is always good and will give Pochettino more depth. But at the same time Pochettino has a track record of working well with young players. Another reason for Janssen to join Spurs is the fact he will have time to adapt to the league as he will not be expected to start over Kane. With the exciting football that Spurs demonstrated last year, surely Vincent Janssen will be attracted to the idea of playing for Spurs especially with Champions League guaranteed next year.
credit Charanjit Chana
A name that most of us will recognise having played for Newcastle not long along is Luuk De Jong. He opted to move back to his home league and he has had a great season at a personal and team level. PSV snapped him up last year for £4.13 million and he has returned that fee with 26 goals and 10 assists in 33 games. He helped PSV to the title for sure. We all know where his strengths lie and he has tried making it in the Premier League with minimum success. I personally cannot see this player moving back to the premier league in this transfer season but if I was a mid table BPL team I would definitely be trying to sign him as he can bring firepower. At only 25 too, with his game style not being reliant on pace he will have over 5 years easily to carry on performing at a high level. Time will tell if this player decides to give the BPL another go but well done to him on having such a stellar season.
Poland have relied on Lewandowski in recent years for goals but with the rise of Arkadiusz Milik he will not have to carry that responsibility all by himself. At only 22, and with already 28 caps and with 11 goals and 10 assists to his name for his country. At a club level last year he was just as fantastic. Having played 31 league fixtures and scoring 21 goals with a further 8 assists to his name. Milik is a player that can also operate behind the striker as he does for his country to a good standard too. His finishing and passing ability are his strongest points, a very technical player too. He can potentially be the Eredivisie’s most expensive export this summer. I can picture this striker in a top half team but which team is harder to know. Everton despite not finishing in the top half last year but with a lot of transfer funds in addition to them wanting to prove something this year could be a place he ends up at. To top off that Ronald Koeman has a lot of knowledge about the Dutch league which would give Everton a helping hand for sure. Another team which I think might be suitable is Southampton, with Pellè being linked with a move away it could be a good replacement and fits the ideology of signing good young players at Saint Mary’s. But if Poland have a good Euros and he plays an important part maybe even bigger teams might come knocking for him.
Over in the Süper Lig (Turkish League) a player that has caught my eye is Edin Visca who plays for Basakehir as a winger. He played 34 games and scored 17 goals with a further 5 assists all for a modest team. This record for a winger is very good and with more and more managers wanting wingers to get goals instead of simply being so reliant on their strikers. At 26 and a full international he is at the peak of his game. A player like him must be on the transfer wishlist of the relegation threatened teams. With those teams a lot of the time lacking goals to keep them up in the division this guy must be a risk worth taking. His current transfer value is £7.5 million which surely cannot put too many teams off him. His record last year does suggest despite being a risk it is a very calculated risk with potential of huge benefits. It will be interesting to see if this player does end up getting picked up by a BPL team or not but I personally believe it is a gamble worth taking.
In the Greek league there is also a player that I can imagine seeing on Match of the Day, that man is Konstantinos Fortounis. He is an attacking midfielder that can also play on the wings, currently at Olympiacos. Last season he scored 18 goals and 13 assists in 27 games. It is true that Olympiacos do win that league with ease year after year but you still do need to give credit where it is due. He is young at 23, but those stats definitely suggest he is ready for a jump to a better and more competitive league. With some Champions League experience to his name too it could be a good signing for Leicester if he can adapt to Leicester’s style of play as it would surely take some of the creative responsibility from Mahrez, if the Algerian does in fact stay. Also with teams knowing how Leicester play they will need more creative players to counter act the more defensive teams that they will face. Ranieri having coached him at the Greek National team will know of his ability too. His current transfer value is £6m but I cannot see Olympiacos letting him go for so little but even if they do want £15 million for him, you do feel that Leicester now do have that money to offer for players.
In the Liga NOS (Portuguese league) there is a player that I think belongs in the BPL and that man is Islam Slimani. The Sporting Lisbon striker nearly helped them to win the league after 14 years but Sporting Lisbon lost out by 2 points to local rivals Benfica. At 28 he is definitely at his peak. Last season he scored 27 goals and 7 assists in 33 games for Sporting. He is a striker with only eyes for the ball and a great aerial threat. His movement in the box is excellent too and technically he is constantly improving since Jorge Jesus took over. Jesus has been the man behind turning good players into very good players such as Di Maria, Matic, David Luiz just to name a few. His transfer market value is £15 million but Sporting Lisbon’s chairman has said he will not sell for any less than £23 million which was his buy out clause up until the 15th of June. So now without a buy out clause and a fan favourite status at the club he could potentially push his price up. He is also a full international and the main striker for his nation of Algeria. At Algeria he has 43 caps and 23 goals which is another good record too. Initially Leicester had been linked with him but after failing to get Vardy it seems that Wenger has turned his attention to Slimani. Slimani is unlikely to want to go to a team that is not competing for titles or without Champions league football too. Personally I do not think he is the right signing for Arsenal as he is not an improvement for Giroud but instead a very similar style of player to him. Leicester are also unlikely to make a move for him after Vardy’s intention to stay and with Manchester City out of the equation, it does leave Spurs as a possible place for him to play his football. With Spurs playing football that involves the full backs pushing up and crossing it would suit Slimani’s style to a tee and will definitely bring Kane competition for his place. Sporting lisbon fans will be hoping that Slimani does stay as the club goes into another season with the ambition of becoming champions. The most likely outcome is him playing his future either at Sporting or moving to North London but playing for what colours we will not know yet.
Do you agree that these players could cut it in the Premier League? Let us know who your team should go for!