Salzburg wonderkid Benjamin Sesko, unwanted Memphis Depay or bargain Andrea Belotti… with Manchester United, Chelsea and Co on the hunt for a new forward, who could they sign this summer?
- Man United, Chelsea, Newcastle and Everton are all in the market for a forward
- There are several Premier League sides hoping to bring someone in to their club
- Benjamin Sesko, Memphis Depay and Alexander Isak are linked with a transfer
- The likes of Andrea Belotti and Adnan Januzaj are still available on a free
- Sportsmail assesses which big-name stars across Europe could be on the move
Erik ten Hag – amid the ongoing Cristiano Ronaldo saga – insists Manchester United need a new one. After the departure of Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea fans think Thomas Tuchel must sign one before the end of the window.
The ‘richest club in the world’, Newcastle, frankly just want one who is less injury-prone than Callum Wilson and better than Chris Wood, while Everton will look to stave off interest in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and replace Richarlison up top.
It’s the forwards who score the goals, and goals win games, so players in this position attract the most attention and have the biggest price tags.
But with a little over a month to go before the end of the summer transfer window, lots of clubs have already sorted out their business. So which elite forwards across Europe are still available and could still be snapped up by Premier League sides?
With the caveat that the above sides have vastly different transfer budgets and ambitions, Sportsmail takes a look at the big-name stars who might be making their way to the English top-flight ahead of the new season.
Several Premier League sides, including Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United given the Cristiano Ronaldo saga, are on the lookout for a forward in the last month or so of the transfer window
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel (above) has been urged by fans to sign a striker like Ronaldo
Manchester United and Newcastle are keen on Red Bull Salzburg striker Benjamin Sesko, 19
Benjamin Sesko – Red Bull Salzburg
The 6ft 4ins teenage target man is widely seen as one of the most promising talents across the continent and is being chased by a host of teams including United and Newcastle, as well as German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Two years ago he scored 21 goals in 29 games on loan at second-tier Austrian side FC Liefering, before scoring 11 in 37 games last season for Red Bull Salzburg, the club where Erling Haaland made his name.
Sesko graphic courtesy of: sofascore.com
Although RB Salzburg joked on social media they want £300million plus Bruno Fernandes to accede to United’s interest, they rate the Slovenian wonderkid at around £55m.
Salzburg want to keep Sesko for at least this season, which he has already started well with two goals in two games, unless they receive an offer close to their valuation.
Sesko’s agent teased supporters with an Instagram post of himself dining out near the Tyne Bridge last week but Newcastle dampened the excitement, saying that while Sesko was a player they admired, nothing had progressed regarding a move.
With uncertainty over Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford, United are aware of Sesko as they prepare to draw up a list of targets. Austria striker Sasa Kalajdzic, at Stuttgart, has also been discussed. Others are under consideration too.
The Austrian club do not wish to sell the 19-year-old ace for less than £55million this summer
United are also targeting Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic (left) and Ajax winger Antony (right)
Antony – Ajax
Meanwhile, the Red Devils are still keen on Ajax’s skilful winger Antony.
The 22-year-old has scored 23 goals in 79 games in his two years at Ajax, and is well known to Ten Hag, who has already signed defender Lisandro Martinez from his former club.
He is more of a right-sided winger than a striker and would therefore offer competition to wide forwards like Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga than Ronaldo or Anthony Martial.
The £68m fee Ajax are holding out for, though, had appeared to put United off. That number has now risen, too, with the Duch side wanting £84m. Despite new Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder insisting Antony isn’t going anywhere, the Brazilian’s representativeshave been in Manchester for talks.
Victor Osimhen – Napoli
Nigerian star Osimhen is one of the most highly coveted players in Europe after scoring 18 goals in 32 games in all competitions last season.
United, Arsenal, Newcastle and Bayern have all been credited with interest – but would need to stump up £85m to persuade Napoli to sell.
The former Lille star has adapted to Serie A well, living up to his status as Napoli’s record signing. The Italian club’s interest in Ronaldo could also help as a tool in any potential negotiations for the player.
Osimhen offers pace and pressing ability to buying clubs, and his defence-splitting runs would present a frightening prospect to opposing defences.
The 23-year-old has, however, played down talk of a move away this summer, claiming stories about interest in him are just ‘rumours’.
Memphis Depay – Barcelona
The Dutchman enjoyed a decent debut season at the Nou Camp after signing on a free transfer from Lyon, scoring 13 in 38 games, but has been told by manager Xavi he can leave after the high-profile arrivals of Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski.
Barcelona are willing to sell Memphis Depay after signing Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski
Depay, 28, has experience of English football – albeit a largely unsuccessful year at United – with Premier League club Tottenham reportedly willing to pay £17m to sign the £80-cap international.
Barcelona are said to be holding out for £20m for his signature – which could prove a bargain for a proven and versatile performer at the top level.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Everton
After the departure of Brazilian star Richarlison to Tottenham this summer in a deal which could reach £60m, Everton boss Frank Lampard is left bereft of attacking options up front.
The only two out-and-out strikers are Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who only scored five goals last season, and Venezuelan veteran Salomon Rondon, who has one league goal in 20 games for the Toffees.
Lampard will very likely be looking to reinvest the Richarlison money in an attacker or two – especially if Calvert-Lewin leaves too.
The 25-year-old England striker scored 36 goals in the two seasons before last and has been a target for the likes of Arsenal previously – although the Gunners would be unlikely to move for him after signing Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City.
Everton, for their part, are keen on Chelsea’s young Albanian striker Armando Broja, who impressed on loan at Southampton last season, and Burnley forward Maxwel Cornet.
Arnaut Danjuma – Villarreal
The former Bournemouth forward exploded onto the European scene last season, scoring 16 goals in 34 games for Unai Emery’s Villarreal, who reached the Champions League semi-finals, in part inspired by the flying Dutchman.
The Spanish side are thought to be willing to sell for around £35-40m, with West Ham leading the race for Danjuma, who has previously attracted interest from the likes of United, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Villarreal’s Arnaut Danjuma has interest from lots of Premier League sides after a fine season
Now the Hammers have missed out on free agent Jesse Lingard, who moved to Nottingham Forest, David Moyes might return to his pursuit of Danjuma, 25 – if he can be persuaded to move just months before this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.
Alexander Isak – Real Sociedad
Many had expected the talented Swede to have already moved on from Real Sociedad, especially given his impressive showings at Euro 2020. But he could be an option for United, above Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who doesn’t seem to interest them.
Isak has long been compared to former Man Utd star Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the natural heir in Sweden’s frontline, meaning that the prospect of replacing another legend in United’s attack wouldn’t phase the 22-year-old.
The Swede, who scored 10 goals for the Spanish club last season, does come with a reported hefty £76m release clause. However, he would give Ten Hag a spearhead in attack, even if he may not hit the goal-scoring heights of the current No 7 Ronaldo.
Isak is wanted by Newcastle too but despite the club reportedly making the 22-year-old their top target, the Magpies are said to be fearful that a deal could wipe out their entire transfer budget.
Manchester United could be the next move for Real Sociedad’s Sweden star Alexander Isak
Eddie Howe’s men have been linked with Chelsea’s Timo Werner too, but he would also likely be rated at more than £50m.
Chelsea themselves could have a striker issue, with last summer’s near-£100m signing Romelu Lukaku farmed out on loan to Inter Milan and Michy Batshuayi surplus to requirements.
Werner has not hit the heights expected of him since his £48m move two years ago, neither Raheem Sterling nor Kai Havertz is an out-an-out striker and Broja is unproven at the top level.
Some supporters have even called for Thomas Tuchel to pursue wantaway United forward Ronaldo, although that seems unlikely at this stage.
Three stars on free transfers
Former Torino striker Andrea Belotti is one of the most eye-catching guns for hire this summer.
Despite the 28-year-old’s decent goalscoring record for Italy (12 in 44) and excellent record for Torino (113 in 251), he is yet to find a new employer.
Newcastle, Everton and West Ham have all reportedly been offered the chance to sign the out-of-contract Italian Euro 2020 winner.
Former United winger Adnan Januzaj, who left Real Sociedad this summer, might be a low-cost option for mid-ranking Premier League clubs too.
Another former United man is also weighing up his future this summer. Edinson Cavani endured a frustrating second season at Old Trafford before leaving the club this summer.
He certainly presents an enticing option to some Premier League clubs, though whether he’d entertain a return to the UK is another matter entirely.
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