Where are the hottest forwards on the market heading this summer?
Europe’s elite clubs will be scouring the market for attacking reinforcements this summer, with the signing of a marquee centre forward a priority for several.
Not a week goes by without England captain Harry Kane being linked with a move away despite Tottenham’s insistence their talisman will not be sold. Talk of a possible departure only increased after FA Cup and Champions League exits this month.
Serie A’s runaway top scorer Victor Oshimen has spoken openly about his desire to play in the Premier League, with the Napoli star’s declaration only adding to speculation around his future.
Jonathan David has also teased the prospect of a move to the Premier League or LaLiga in recent weeks with the Canadian leading the Ligue 1 goalscoring charts ahead of several prominent names.
Sportsmail looks at the hottest striking targets around ahead of the summer transfer window.
Harry Kane’s future will be among the key storylines of the summer transfer window
Jonathan David has spoken openly about a potential move to the Premier League or LaLiga
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Potential destinations: Manchester United, Bayern Munich
The England captain’s future is a regular talking point every summer as Tottenham continue to come up short in their pursuit of silverware.
Kane had wanted to leave for Manchester City two years ago but ultimately stayed at Spurs with the club refusing to consider a sale – and could now be in a last-chance saloon situation.
The power has increasingly shifted in Kane’s favour as his contract nears a conclusion, with Spurs potentially faced with losing him for nothing in 2024.
Kane’s contract situation could force chairman Daniel Levy to consider a sale, with reports a fee of around £150m may be enough for Spurs to reluctantly part with the star.
Manchester United are considered the frontrunners to secure Kane’s signature, with the 29-year-old among Erik ten Hag’s top targets for the summer. Bayern Munich have also been touted among Kane’s potential suitors.
A move to Old Trafford would enable Kane to chase Alan Shearer’s Premier League goalscoring record, with his brace against Nottingham Forest moving his top flight total to 203.
He is now just 57 behind Shearer after notching 20 Premier League goals for the sixth consecutive campaign, with only Erling Haaland bettering his tally this season.
His link play and creativity would add another weapon to the improving Manchester United side.
Man United have been heavily linked with a big money move for Tottenham’s Harry Kane
Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
Potential destinations: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, PSG
A younger option than Kane could be Napoli star Victor Osimhen, who is Serie A’s top scorer with 19 goals this season. The 24-year-old is five clear of his nearest challenger Lautaro Martinez.
Should he win the ‘Capocannoniere’ Golden Boot and Serie A this season – both of which look inevitable – Osimhen may push for a dream move to the Premier League.
When comparing Osimhen to Kane this season courtesy of Delphlyx – a smart data platform – the Napoli forward has the edge on XG (expected goals) per 90 minutes. Osimhen has recorded 0.80 across his 22 appearances to Kane’s 0.53 in 27 games.
Both strikers are outperforming their XG with Osimhen scoring 0.97 per 90 minutes, while Kane finds the net 0.66 per match.
Osimhen also takes almost one shot more than Kane each match, while he has a higher goal conversion percentage and touches in the box.
The comparison highlights differences in the two striker’s all-round game, with Kane contributing on average 19.16 passes to Osimhen’s 11.34, along with 5.51 link-up plays to the Napoli striker’s 3.29.
Napoli’s Victor Osimhen has admitted a move to the Premier League would be a dream
Osimhen, blue, poses a greater penalty box threat than Kane but is less involved in build-up
The expectation is Napoli would demand over £100m for Osimhen, which could eclipse the British transfer record fee of £107m that Chelsea paid Benfica for Enzo Fernandez in January.
Arsenal and Chelsea have also been linked to Osimhen, with the Gunners seeking to add to Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah. Chelsea’s need for a regular goalscorer has been clear this season, despite the Blues significant outlay in the past two transfer windows.
Despite Osimhen’s interest in a Premier League switch, French champions PSG are claimed to be hopeful he could opt for a move to Ligue 1.
Goncalo Ramos (Benfica)
Potential destinations: Manchester United, Newcastle, PSG
Goncalo Ramos exploded onto the international stage at the World Cup in Qatar, with the 21-year-old unfazed by having replaced Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal’s starting line-up.
His hat-trick against Switzerland enhanced his growing reputation, leading the suggestions the Benfica striker could be on the move in the summer.
Ramos has scored 23 goals in 35 matches in all competitions this season. His 15 goals in the Primeira Liga put him joint top of the scoring charts with team-mate Joao Mario.
Benfica would reportedly demand over £100m for the forward, who could potentially solve a striker problem for one of the top clubs for the next decade. Manchester United, Newcastle and PSG are among those rumoured to be keeping tabs on the striker.
While accounting for the differences in leagues, the forward’s attacking output compares closely to Osimhen statistically this season.
Goncalo Ramos has starred for Benfica this season and impressed during the World Cup
Goncalo Ramos (pink) compares closely to Osimhen statistically in the 2022-23 season
Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
Potential destination: Chelsea
One of the worst kept secrets in football is the future of RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku.
Nkunku is expected to join Chelsea in the summer when his £53m release clause opens up at the end of the season.
The French international scored 35 goals across all competitions last season, which led to him becoming one of the most sought after attacking talents.
Nkunku has scored 17 goals in 27 matches this season, including 12 in the Bundesliga. Nkunku’s tallies suggest he could be the man to end Chelsea’s goalscoring woes.
A knee ligament injury sustained during France’s preparations for the World Cup led to him being ruled out of the tournament in Qatar, as well as missing the first five matches when the league season resumed.
Nkunku will join Chelsea’s raft of attacking options, but the 25-year-old’s ability to play across the front line should make him a valuable addition.
Christopher Nkunku is expected to move to Chelsea in the summer from RB Leipzig
Jonathan David (Lille)
Potential destinations: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Newcastle, Tottenham
Canadian international Jonathan David proudly sits atop Ligue 1’s scoring charts this season with 19 goals, matching PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe.
David’s hat-trick against Lyon at the weekend saw the 23-year-old surpass Eden Hazard to be Lille’s top goalscorer this century, having scored 52 goals for the club.
The striker has not been shy in suggesting his future may lie away from the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, despite having a contract until 2025.
‘The furthest I can see for the moment is the next game and helping Lille get back into top four,’ David told Fabrizo Romano, before adding ‘Saturday mornings growing up in Canada were about the Premier League and La Liga, the Premier League and La Liga are every kid’s dream.’
A host of Premier League clubs are reported to have an interest in David, with Arsenal having been long-term suitors.
Aston Villa, Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham are also suggested as possible destinations for David to secure his dream move.
Jonathan David is joint top of the Ligue 1 goalscoring charts with PSG’s Kylian Mbappe
Folarin Balogun (Reims, on loan from Arsenal)
Potential destination: AC Milan
Arsenal’s reported interest in David comes despite Folarin Balogun thriving on loan in Ligue 1 with Reims.
Balogun has enjoyed a breakout season by scoring 16 goals, with the New York-born English forward just three behind David and Mbappe.
The question for Arsenal is whether the 21-year-old would represent a better option than David as they look to bolster their forward options.
Balogun has the edge on the Canadian when it comes to both goals and XG this season. Although it is worth noting both forwards are slightly underperforming their expected goals despite their impressive tallies this season.
Balogun also averages more shots and has a higher goal conversion percentage than David.
The Canadian has the edge on Balogun when it comes to build-up play, with David passing and linking play more in matches.
Balogun has been linked with a move to AC Milan, with the Gunners potentially cashing in should they decide the forward will be behind Jesus and Nketiah in the pecking order on his return.
Folarin Balogun has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Reims on loan from Arsenal
Balogun’s output compares well to David but the Canadian has greater involvement in play
Randal Kolo Muani (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Potential destinations: Manchester United, Bayern Munich
Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani enjoyed a breakthrough at the World Cup in Qatar, after being called up to France’s squad as a late replacement for the injured Nkunku.
Kolo Muani enjoyed a dream introduction after scoring 44 seconds after coming off the bench to seal a 2-0 win for France over Morocco in the semi-finals.
His rise was further displayed when the forward was brought on in the first half of the final when France trailed 2-0 against Argentina. Kolo Muani nearly wrote his name in football folklore but was denied a last-gasp winner in extra time by Emi Martinez.
Kolo Muani beat Martinez in the penalty shootout, but Argentina still emerged victorious to lift the World Cup.
Kolo Muani has scored 16 goals in 34 appearances for Frankfurt this season, including netting twice in the Champions League.
The 24-year-old is the fourth top scorer in the Bundesliga, as well as contributing 10 assists. His performances have led to suggestions Bayern Munich or Manchester United could move for the star.
Bayern are still looking for a long-term successor to Robert Lewandowski following his move to Barcelona. The German champions have previous for moving for the best talents from fellow Bundesliga sides.
Randal Kolo Muani has delivered goals and assists for Frankfurt throughout the season
Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Potential destinations: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United Newcastle, Tottenham
While several forwards will be commanding massive fees this summer, Marcus Thuram could represent a steal in the market, with his contract expiring in the summer.
Borussia Monchengladbach have appeared to have admitted defeat in their attempts to convince the 25-year-old – who is the son of France 1998 World Cup winner Lilian – to stay at the club.
‘With Marcus Thuram, we stretched. We’ve decided to allow Thuram to leave,’ Gladbach sporting director Roland Virkus said last month.
‘The fact he will leave on a free is not a positive situation. I can’t sugarcoat it. We have to accept that there are bigger clubs he might move to.’
Arsenal and Chelsea are considered the leading contenders for Thuram, who can play up front or from the left.
Premier League rivals Tottenham, Manchester United and Newcastle also reportedly held an interest in Thuram in January.
The France international, the son of Lilian, has scored 42 goals in 127 matches for Gladbach.
Thuram is enjoying his best season for the club with 14 goals in 25 games.
Marcus Thuram could represent a steal with the France international’s contract expiring