The 2023 summer transfer window is already shaping up to be an extravaganza for the history books. 19-year-old English sensation Jude Bellingham has already made the move to Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund for a whopping €100m plus add-ons. His Three Lions teammate Declan Rice also looks set to join Arsenal from West Ham United for a similarly mind-boggling fee.
But once those two deals are completed, it looks as though the striking department is going to be the most sought-after. A whole host of Europe’s elite are on the prowl for goalscorers, with Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich all in dire need of extra firepower up top. The team from the Spanish capital lost captain Karim Benzema on a free transfer, England’s League Cup winners haven’t replaced Cristiano Ronaldo who left in January, and the German champions never truly replaced Robert Lewandowski, who left for Barcelona last summer.
Throughout the last 12 months, a number of hotshots have forced their way into the shop window. Napoli romped to a first Scudetto in 33 years last season courtesy of the goals from their Super Eagle striker, and reputable betting sites Canada make them the +250 second favourites to retain their crown next season. Had it not been for the question marks hanging over him, one would think that they would be the outright favourite, an honour that currently goes to the +200-priced Inter Milan.
So, who are the most coveted strikers in world football at the moment, and where could they head in the coming months?
Of course, when you talk about the aforementioned success of the Napoleons in the Italian top flight last season, you have to talk about Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian striker netted a whopping 26 goals in 32 league appearances last term as the Ciucciarelli romped to the title, the most of anybody throughout Serie A and five clear of Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez. Add to that a further five goals in six continental appearances as Napoli reached the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in their history, and it’s clear to see why the 24-year-old is one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe.
A few eyebrows were raised when the Italian outfit forked out €75m to secure his services from Lille back in September 2020. Admittedly he had impressed in Ligue 1, but 18 goals in 38 appearances in France is hardly earth-shattering news. But Osimhen has proved his doubters wrong, and how.
Throughout his three years in Southern Italy, the 25-time Nigerian international has bagged 59 goals in 101 appearances. That has seen his valuation skyrocket, with the highly reputable Trandfermarkt valuing him at some €120m, which may be enough to scare off some clubs. But not the elite.
Manchester United are thought to be the front-runner in the race for his signature, with Paris Saint-Germain also on the hunt. Chelsea are also looking for an out-and-out striker to partner new signing Christopher Nkunku, and Osimhen is thought to be an option for Mauricio Pochettino. Whatever happens, the former Charleroi man has firmly established himself as one of the best strikers on the planet today, and it remains to be seen where his future may lie.
While Victor Osimhen may be a relatively fresh arrival on the radars of Europe’s elite clubs, Harry Kane has been there for the best part of a decade now. The current England captain is a goalscoring behemoth, and he has found the back of the net some 280 times in 435 appearances. It looked as though his career would be spent in its entirety at his boyhood club Tottenham Hotspur however, following their disastrous campaign last term, he too could be on the move in the current transfer window.
Kane is out of contract with Spurs next summer and it remains unclear whether he will sign a new deal at the club. As he turns 30 in July, this is probably his last chance to make a big money move to a club that is going to deliver him the trophies that he so desperately craves, and that may well be enough to turn his head. He has proven time and again both for club and country that he is the man for the big occasion, minus that shocking penalty miss against France in the quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
His availability has been well documented, and Manchester United were once again considered the front runners by many to secure his services. However, Real Madrid have entered the race following Benzema’s departure to Saudi Arabia, and should the Santiago Bernabeu club come knocking, not many players are able to say no. Will he remain in North London next season and be the man to break Alan Shearer’s long-standing Premier League goalscoring record, or will he leave both Spurs and England as a whole in the pursuit of silverware?