Fortunes spent on strikers
The transfer window has only been open for a few days but the off-season has already been defined as a summer in which strikers will once again dominate the market. Every top club in Europe has either signed one or is desperately trying to find one and that could mean more money spent than ever before.
Undoubtedly, Real Madrid kicked off this trend with their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain talisman Kylian Mbappé. After a failed attempt to sign him in January, Los Blancos were adamant that they would get the France international on a free transfer this summer. Instead, PSG moved mountains (of cash) to make sure their Parisian star stayed put and in the process set a bar for just how valuable the most exciting young striker in the world really is. Juventus, fully aware of Madrid’s attempts to sign a star striker this summer, also pushed the boat out before the end of the season with their signing of Fiorentina target man Dušan Vlahović for €81.6 million a good six months before the summer madness began. And they’ll be thankful that they did, when we now consider what now looks certain to play out before the new season.
What’s the most important position in football?
If 2022 is anything to go by, it’s the striker pic.twitter.com/SBI9YH9MCj
— Transfermarkt.co.uk (@TMuk_news) June 11, 2022
Indeed, following on from the fortunes spent on Mbappé and Vlahović, it now seems to be Erling Haaland’s turn to move for a record fee, with Manchester City expected to complete the signing of the Borussia Dortmund striker in the coming days. Although the Norwegian international may not cost as much as Jack Grealish or even Kevin de Bruyne, an up-front transfer fee of €75m will likely be dwarfed by the striker’s wage demands, which ruled all but a select few clubs out of signing him this summer. In what will undoubtedly be a bid to keep up with their domestic rivals, Liverpool are also expected to break their own transfer fee record this summer for a striker, with the Anfield side reportedly putting the finishing touches to a deal for Benfica striker Darwin Núñez that will apparently be worth more than €100m. Yet again, another top club are breaking the bank to sign a striker this summer.
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This specific deal could also lead to something of a chain reaction in the transfer window. Once Liverpool sign Núñez, the Premier League side may be more willing to part ways with Sadio Mané, who has been heavily linked with a €50m move to Bayern Munich. And once Bayern sign the forward, they too may be more willing to allow their own wantaway striker, Robert Lewandowski, to complete his preferred move to Barcelona. And in each instance, one of Europe’s biggest clubs is prioritising the signing of a new striker above all else. Of course, these are just the deals that look likely to happen. Add Gabriel Jesus’ situation at Man City to the mix and he’ll almost certainly be departing the English champions for Chelsea or Arsenal, while a cool €50m heads the other way. Similarly, Inter Milan may look to go big in an attempt to re-sign Romelu Lukaku from the aforementioned Stamford Bridge side.
Whichever way football fans look this summer, their club or their club’s biggest rivals are most likely breaking the bank to sign a striker. At the end of the day, the player that puts the ball in the back of the net is always the most important player in any team, but 2022 seems to be a specifically good year for forwards as transfer records are broke and money gets thrown around in a desperate attempt to sign the next, big striker.