Haaland, Kane and 10 strikers for Man City & Chelsea to fight over this summer
This weekend Manchester City will take part in the first Champions League final in their history as they face fellow Premier League side Chelsea in Porto.
Pep Guardiola has conquered Europe before, twice with Barcelona, but has been unable to translate that success over to Bayern Munich or Man City just yet.
Thomas Tuchel has never won the competition but did take Paris Saint-Germain to their first ever final last season.
Interestingly, both Man City and Chelsea have reached the final of the competition without having a prolific number nine banging in the goals at the top end of the pitch.
With Sergio Aguero injured for most of the campaign and Gabriel Jesus not totally trusted, Guardiola has usually deployed one of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, or Ferran Torres in the central role up top.
Tuchel, meanwhile, has tried out Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in that position, while sometimes he has played without a striker too.
Even though Chelsea and Man City have enjoyed success this campaign, particularly in the Champions League, there is a general feeling that if they are to go on to the next level they will need to bring in a top-class striker.
So, here are 10 centre-forwards both might be looking at this summer.
Andrea Belotti – Torino
Andrea Belotti is just coming off his worst goalscoring seasons in a few years as although he scored 13 goals and recorded six assists in 33 games, it is still down from 16 and 15 Serie A goals from the previous two campaigns.
He remains the shining light of a Torino side that very narrowly escaped relegation this season and there has always been the feeling that he would excel in a better team.
Strength, pace, and an eye for goal make him a decent shout, but his star is not as high as it once was.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Everton
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has came into his own under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti and is coming off the most prolific season of his career in which he scored 21 goals in all competitions for the Toffees including 16 in the Premier League.
The issue with this one is perhaps that he only recorded one assist all season, and with Guardiola and Tuchel usually demanding more than just goals from their forwards, this one seems unlikely.
Everton would also likely demand an exorbitant fee due to the length of his contract and his nationality.
Erling Haaland – Borussia Dortmund
Probably the number one forward target for both Man City and Chelsea this summer is Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland.
The Norwegian has, over the past two seasons, become one of the hottest properties in world football due to his goalscoring exploits and is set to be an the centre of a major transfer tug-of-war between Europe’s elite sides.
In the 2020/21 campaign he has scored a ridiculous 41 goals in 40 starts in all competitions and was named the Bundesliga Player of the Season, even beating goal machine Robert Lewandowski to that gong.
He is the striker everyone wants.
Danny Ings – Southampton
Danny Ings’ time at Liverpool was plagued by injuries, but under Ralph Hasenhuttl at Southampton he’s been able to display his true form.
He may have fallen off slightly from last season’s numbers, but Ings is still a quality Premier League forward. He’s netted 12 goals in 26 starts this term, equating to 0.52 goals per 90, in comparison to 0.70 last year.
If Ings can translate his 2019/20 form, and stay fit, then he could be a good acquisition, plus he already knows the league, which is a bonus.
With his contract at St Mary’s expiring next year, this could be the ideal time to strike.
Harry Kane – Tottenham
A couple of weeks ago Harry Kane gave Tottenham the news they had been dreading when he formally asked to leave the club this summer.
Kane continued to excel for Spurs and recently picked up the third Premier League Golden Boot of his career following his goalscoring exploits in 2020/21.
However, again he was unable to win any silverware with the club which means he has still not won a major trophy in his career.
He will cost well over £120 million, but he is absolutely guaranteed to score goals whether it be with Man City or Chelsea, with the former looking more likely due to Spurs’ rivalry with the Blues.
Romelu Lukaku – Inter
Romelu Lukaku was never really given a fair crack at the whip during his time with Chelsea as he was sold to Everton after being on loan at the Merseyside club and West Brom previously.
Since he left Man Utd for Inter he has found his form to become one of the most devastating number nines in Europe, utilising his strength, power, and intelligence inside the box to fire the Nerazzurri to the Scudetto.
Head coach Antonio Conte recently left Inter after the club informed him that star players would need to be sold due to their current financial troubles, and that could mean Lukaku being available for a decent fee.
The Belgian scored 33 goals and laid out 11 assists this past season.
Lautaro Martinez – Inter
Another Inter star who could be up for grabs this summer is Lukaku’s strike partner Lautaro Martinez.
Martinez has previously revealed just how badly Barcelona wanted to sign him previously only to be unable to muster up the cash, so he is certainly well thought of among the elite sides in Europe.
Though a move to the Premier League has not been talked up as much as to La Liga, his tendency to provide more than just goals with his movement and creativity in the final third may be of interest to Guardiola and Tuchel.
Gerard Moreno – Villarreal
The scourge of Man Utd in the Europa League final was one of the best players in the world over the past 12 months in Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno.
Whether playing as a number nine or slightly off the right, the Spaniard has proved his quality as one of the most potent forwards out there at the moment, having come off a campaign in which he scored 30 goals and recorded 12 assists in 39 starts.
In a non-pandemic era Moreno would surely have been a target for Barcelona and Real Madrid but with that pair focusing their limited funds on other targets, the Premier League could come calling.
Age isn’t really on his side, though, as he just turned 29.
Andre Silva – Eintracht Frankfurt
Andre Silva has had a bit of a nomadic career so far as he made his way from Porto to Milan, to Sevilla and Frankfurt on loan before eventually sealing a permanent move to the German side.
It is in the Bundesliga where he has finally found his top form as he has been one of the best goalscorers on the continent in 2020/21, banging in 28 goals in 32 appearances in the top flight.
The Portuguese has never hit those kind of numbers before, though, so any suitors will be wary as to whether this past campaign has simply been a flash in the pan or whether he is the real deal.
Callum Wilson – Newcastle
An unlikely scenario could see Man City or Chelsea looking closer to home at Newcastle forward Callum Wilson, who has continued to prove himself excellent in front of goal despite playing with a poor team.
He has had his injury problems this season, missing 15 Premier League games, but has still managed to score 12 in 23 starts which is a decent record.
Man City and Chelsea will probably look at more elite players, but Wilson could potentially prosper in a top side if given the chance.