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Goncalo Ramos – A January option for Premier League sides?

Firepower is on the agenda for a number of Premier League clubs this winter, but finding a reliable source of goals in January often resembles the proverbial needle and haystack.

Clubs are reluctant to part with their leading goal threats mid-season and will demand vastly inflated fees to do so, with the likes of Ivan Toney, Viktor Gyökeres and Dominic Solanke among those touted with big-money moves this month.

One name who could emerge as an option for Premier League clubs is Goncalo Ramos. The Portugal international was linked with several English clubs before his summer move to Paris Saint-Germain, a transfer that has not panned out as hoped.

 

The presence of Kylian Mbappe and fellow summer signing Randal Kolo Muani has restricted Ramos’ minutes this season, with the 22-year-old having started just eight Ligue 1 games. Ramos has received just a minute of playing time across PSG’s last five league games and L’Equipe are reporting that the forward’s future at the Parc des Princes is uncertain.

Last season, Ramos exploded in a breakout season at Benfica to announce his arrival as one of Europe’s most promising number nines. The departure of Darwin Nunez to Liverpool handed the academy product a first-choice role and he responded with 19 league goals in the club’s title-winning campaign.

Ramos finished as runner-up to FC Porto’s Mehdi Taremi for the Bola de Prata as the Primeira Liga’s leading scorer and led the division for shots (98), non-penalty xG and non-penalty xG per 90 minutes.

However, it was his performances on the international stage that catapulted Ramos into the wider consciousness of the football world. Included, uncapped, in the Portugal squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Ramos marked his international debut with a goal and assist in a pre-tournament friendly win over Nigeria.

At the World Cup, Ramos was a surprise starter ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo for the last-16 clash with Switzerland. He responded with a hat-trick in a 6-1 win for the Portuguese, becoming the first player to score a treble on their first World Cup start since Miroslav Klose in 2002, and the first to score a hat-trick in the knockout rounds since Tomáš Skuhravý in 1990.

Paris Saint-Germain agreed a deal to sign Ramos on loan from Benfica in the summer, before the mandatory option to make the move permanent, for an initial fee of €65m (£55.7m), was confirmed in November.

His rumoured availability will alert Premier League clubs, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Newcastle and West Ham all in the market for centre-forward additions. Ramos appears an ideal option to add a focal point for England’s top clubs, boasting a mix of mobility, presence and finishing instinct.

Last season, at Benfica, he operated primarily as the club’s penalty-box poacher, though his time at Paris Saint-Germain has underlined the defensive and build-up contribution he can also provide.

Though a smaller sample size given his lack of minutes, Ramos ranks in the top five per cent of forwards in Ligue 1 this season for short passes completed, touches and tackles won per 90 minutes.

Furthermore, he’s among Ligue 1’s leading forwards (88th percentile) for defensive actions that lead to a shot attempt and for percentage of aerial duels won, and in the 91st percentile of his positional peers, for carries in possession per game.

Willing to work hard out of possession and work back when required (6.41 defensive third touches per game), Ramos has the hallmarks of the mobile modern number nine while offering instincts around the area reminiscent of a more traditional mould.

PSG’s stance on his future appears unclear and there may be a hesitancy to sanction the sale of Ramos given events elsewhere at the club. Kylian Mbappe is rapidly approaching the end of his contract at the Parc des Princes and remains uncommitted on his future beyond this season.

PSG are understood to have submitted a record-breaking contract offer to the France captain, though it remains to be seen whether Mbappe can resist the lure of Real Madrid for a third time. Given his past rejection of the Spanish giants, it appears a now-or-never moment for the 25-year-old to fulfil his Bernabeu dream.

A loan move appears feasible, however. Given the need to meet the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules, a temporary deal could also suit several of Ramos’ would-be suitors.

A six-month loan deal provides Ramos with a chance of more regular minutes, would help solve centre-forward issues at several of England’s top clubs, and allows PSG time to evaluate their Mbappe situation without the permanent, perhaps premature, departure of a €65m investment.

Given the current climate of the January window, it appears a potential win-win for all parties.

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See more – Premier League Transfer Rumour Mill: Guirassy clause expires

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