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Five forwards primed for a move to Europe’s top leagues this summer

Goalscorers are often the most sought-after commodity in the transfer market, with strikers commanding the premium price tags.

European clubs could do worse than scout leagues outside the continent’s traditional top-five divisions, given the goal-getters currently making waves in so-called lesser leagues.

These goalscorers appear ready to take the next step on the ladder this summer, here are five forwards primed for a move to Europe’s top five leagues.

Santiago Gimenez – Feyenoord

Santiago Gimenez is on the radar of the clubs among the very elite in Europe, after catching the eye with a remarkable record in Rotterdam. After overcoming a slow start following his move from Cruz Azul in Mexico, Gimenez scored 23 goals in all competitions last season and has continued in that vein this time around.

The 23-year-old has 26 goals in all competitions for Arne Slot’s side, while he broke the record for Eredivisie goals in a calendar year (31) in 2023, previously held by a certain Luis Suarez.

After an introduction to the Champions League this season, Gimenez appears ready to take the next step in his career and Arsenal, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Juventus have been heavily linked. Though his explosive start to the current campaign has slowed, his excellent off-the-ball movement, including a trademark late arrival at the near post, could see him flourish in a more competitive league.

Mohamed Amoura – Union Saint-Gilloise

Union Saint-Gilloise have seen some top talent pass through their ranks of late, with the previously on-loan Karou Mitoma and Nigerian forward Victor Boniface among the alumni who have gone on to achieve success in Europe’s top five leagues.

Boniface’s brilliance at Bayer Leverkusen this season has propelled their title success and the man who has filled his role at Union SG could be next to earn the Belgian side a big fee. Mohamed Amoura signed for the club from Lugano as Boniface’s replacement and has ensured the latter has not been missed.

The Algerian has 18 goals in just 20 league starts this season, for a Union SG side that topped the regular season table and won the Belgian Cup for the first time in 110 years this season.

Liverpool have been linked of late, while West Ham and Brighton are also monitoring the situation of a player who would cost around €20m (£17.2m).

Viktor Gyokeres – Sporting Lisbon

Clubs across Europe are kicking themselves for missing out on Viktor Gyokeres a year ago. The Swedish striker’s impressive performances in the Championship for Coventry were not enough to persuade Premier League clubs to pull the trigger, with Sporting Lisbon acting to secure a deal worth around €20m (£17.2m).

That has proven to be an inspired investment. Gyokeres has scored 41 goals and provided 15 assists in 47 appearances for the Portuguese side, who were last week crowned Primeira Liga champions.

Gyokeres has been the leading light in Ruben Amorim’s front-footed side, with his ball-carrying, power and penalty-box prowess leading the club’s title charge. A release clause priced at a huge €100m (£85m) might not be enough to keep him at the Estádio José Alvalade.

Vangelis Pavlidis – AZ Alkmaar

Eredivisie exports might be rather hit-and-miss when it comes to transfers to Europe’s top leagues, but there’s some eye-catching talent in the Netherlands right now.

Pavlidis is the league’s leading scorer with 28 in 32 appearances for AZ Alkmaar, firing the club’s challenge for Champions League qualification. It’s no fluke, either, with the Greece international having provided a consistent stream of goals since his arrival from divisional rivals Willem II.

The 25-year-old has scored 79 goals in 135 appearances for AZ to date, breaching 30 in a single campaign in all competitions for the first time in 2023/24. A reported price tag in the region of €25m looks reasonable.

Kévin Denkey – Cercle Brugge

Kévin Denkey could attract sizeable interest having outscored the rest of Belgian football during the current campaign. The 23-year-old has 22 league goals for Cercle Brugge, a league-leading total.

Miron Muslic’s side will have watched closely as rivals Club Brugge banked £30m from the sale of 22-year-old Brazilian forward Igor Thiago ahead of the summer, who will join Brentford as a likely replacement for Ivan Toney.

The club’s current transfer record is €8m, made from Ayase Ueda’s departure to Feyenoord, and Denkey could set a new high sum. The Togo international ranks in the 97th percentile or higher of forwards outside Europe’s top five leagues (Next 14 competitions) for non-penalty goals, non-penalty xG, attacking penalty area touches and progressive passes received, and in the 89th for successful take-ons per game.

Read – Six of the most improved Premier League players of 2023/24

See more – Five Premier League players who have regressed in 2023/24

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