Forwards We Forgot About: The Second Best Strikers Money Can Buy
It's the summer of big name and big money transfers.
Superstars have been mentioned relentlessly all summer: Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Tevez, Adebayor, Owen, Eto'o, Ibrahimovic, Hleb, Fabregas, Ribery, Carvalho, Deco, John Terry....
I could go on.
In this currently climate almost anything is possible, so it's not surprising that some names have been forgotten. Or at least their presence in the rumour mill isn't as pronounced as it once was.
There still are talented footballers which aren't currently playing at the traditional European super-clubs and can be bought by anyone willing to splash the cash.
That means you, Sven at Notts County...
Whatever the case, here is a little dossier of the best of the rest. The second best strikers money can buy.
Name: Goran Pandev
Club: S.S. Lazio
Position(s): Centre-Forward/Support Striker/Attacking Midfielder
The Macedonian support striker is apparently unsettled at Lazio and has been the target for Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Bayern Munich in the past.
The Biancocelesti star also has only one year left on his contract with the Roman club. All this makes the situation ripe for a sale, or at very least a summer of intrigue.
Strangely, however, there has been none whatsoever. Don't let this fool you, though.
Pandev is a player of the highest class, a title he has carried for a long time but proved consistently in Serie A—such as in 2004 after beating Fabio Cannavaro, Lillan Thuram and then Gigi Buffon from a tight angle in a game away against Juventus.
He then went on to announce himself to the world after scoring twice in the Champions League against Real Madrid to tie the game.
The Macedonian can be likened to a typical second striker, with dribbling that is virtually second-to-none. He also has with an eye for that killer pass as well as the goal, already recording 48 goals in 158 games at Lazio.
However, the biggest asset on Pandev's side is his relative youth. At 25, it is unclear whether we have seen him at his best—and for a lot of Europe's aging or youthful sides, the Macedonian would make a welcome addition.
- Relatively Young
- Unsettled with only a year left on his contract
- Experienced with Champions League football
- Good goals to game ratio for a support striker
- Great Technique
- Can be used as a playmaker
- Not an out-and-out goalscorer
- Is best played with a strong Centre-Forward
- Has snubbed big clubs in the past
Name: Mirko Vučinić
Club: A.S. Roma
Apparently, the Roma player was wanted by Sir Alex Ferguson as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Montenegrian certainly has all the attributes needed to fill that position. He is adept at playing as a forward as well as on the wings, and is famous for his speed, dribbling, and scoring.
However, the striker is also reported to be happy at Roma and has recently extended his contract at the Roman club.
Apparently, his club isn't as averse to a sale as he is. There are reports that they would be willing to let him go for the right price, and so the issue becomes one of tempting the player to move.
This is something that Chelsea have tried doing; with Ancelloti familiar from the Serie A star, the blues are definitely interested. And if an offer is accepted, this might put all of Europe's big clubs on alert.
- Relatively Young
- Tactically versatile
- Abilities include his speed and dribbling
- Can be used as an out-and-out goalscorer
- Experienced with Champions League Football
- Settled in Rome
- Would need large wages to tempt himself away
- Somewhat integral with the Roma team, would need an offer above 20 million
Name: Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima (aka Brazilian Ronaldo aka pure class)
Aging, constantly injured, an old legend, and not playing champions league football. Brazilian Ronaldo is basically like Michael Owen was a month ago but much, much better.
He has already proven himself by coming back from two career-threatening injuries before and always by showing what a great player he is.
Remember when he was written-off at the 2006 World Cup for being too fat? Remember how he ended up as Brazil's top scorer and beating Gerd Muller's record?
Even at Corinthians, Ronaldo hasn't lost his old magic; his goal-scoring ability has by no means left him. He's a pure natural, at that. And he propelled the club to title favourites during his tenure.
Just as Fergie managed to get Owen to sign a pay-as-you-play deal, the same kind of contract with Brazilian Ronaldo may offset the risk posed by further injury.
- Not Cristiano
- Goal Machine
- Adept with his head as well as his feet
- Has come back from knee injuries before
- Playing well at Corinthians
- He is quite old
- He is quite injured
- Depends on whether he would want to come back to Europe
Name: Alberto Gilardino
Club: Fiorentina F.C.
Gilardino is a striker of the utmost quality. He has won both the World Cup and the Champions league, and has played well with any creative force behind him, whether it was Kaka or Mutu.
The striker has basically played on all the stages a footballer can and is a regular in the Italian national side, which is basically one of the best things any player can have on his CV.
Added to this the fact that the striker has rediscovered his form and his confidence at Fiorentina, a concern during his last days at Milan, by finding the net 25 times in 44 appearances.
- Proven Goalscorer
- Needs a good supply
- Confidence player
Name: Giuseppe Rossi
Club: Villareal C.F.
Position(s): Support Striker
The former Manchester United youth was always seen as a hot prospect when he was in England, and then went on to prove it at Villareal.
During his tenure at United, he was loaned out twice. First was a quite spell at Newcastle, where he was underplayed much to Ferguson's annoyance.
So the Scotsman sent him to Parma to ply his trade. In Italy, the American helped to the relegation-threatened side to with nine goals in nineteen games.
But it's at Villareal where Rossi has most been making his mark. The youngster has already established himself on the team, scoring 23 goals in 57 games. Although playing mostly in a second-striker role, he has the ability to create as well as finish.
It is not surprising then that Marcelo Lippi spotted him and selected him for the Confederations Cup squad earlier this summer, where Rossi scored two world-classs goals to save the world champions from an upset by the USA.
- Very young
- Good dribbling, passing and technique
- Italian international
- 2:1 goal to game ratio at Villareal
- Likely to be very expensive
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