No Sure Thing In Complicated Summer Striker Market

Scouts and executives will have a difficult job come the summer transfer window with several clubs looking for a striker.

With Kylian Mbappe already betrothed to Real Madrid, there is no standout striker candidate for teams like Chelsea or Arsenal.

Sporting CP’s Viktor Gyökeres, Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee and RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Šeško are the main names slated for summer transfers. 

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To ascertain which player is the best option, we first need to categorise them. Gyökeres (25) is more of a finished product, while Šeško (20) and Zirkzee (22) are developmental players.

Swedish striker Victor Gyökeres has burst onto the scene for Sporting CP this season. With 30 goals and 12 assists, you’d be silly not to consider him. However, you might also be silly to spend a fee of around £100 million to recruit him.

Gyökeres’ trajectory is impossible to predict because it has so far been quite unusual. Before moving to Portugal, he played three seasons with Coventry in the Championship, where he did not look elite. There is no data on championship strikers who have gone on to excel at the top of the game. Nor is there data on players who have played one season in Liga Portugal and succeeded in a better team. 

Is Gyökeres a late bloomer, or someone enjoying a fluke season? Nobody will know until next season.

Meanwhile, Šeško looks to have more potential than Zirkzee, at least statistically speaking. The data suggests the Serbian has more tools to become elite compared to the Dutchman.

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Both are physically imposing strikers standing at 6’4. Zirkzee is more of a deceptive 6’4 as he is more muscular, while Šeško is lankier. Zirkzee is a false 9 while Šeško is more of a traditional center forward.

Realistically, both players require a bridge club where they can develop before joining a team that competes for titles. However, since they will both be available for around £40 million, they will likely be fast-tracked.

There is a secret option here, and that is Newcastle’s Alexander Isak. Newcastle need to sell players to comply with PSR. If there is any way to prise Isak away from Tyneside, teams should move heaven and earth to do it. Even with his injury history, he is the surest bet in this striker market.