With the summer transfer window fast approaching, the footballing world holds its collective breath as a host of talented players swap clubs.
The transfer sagas of stars like Victor Osimhen, Harry Kane, Dusan Vlahovic and Goncalo Ramos will certainly be documented in depth – but there is plenty of unfamiliar quality on the move as well.
We used the Twenty3 Toolbox’s Discover tool to pick out five under-the-radar strikers who could be on the move ahead of the 2023-24 season.
The first name the Toolbox threw up was Manfred Ugalde, who spent the 2022-23 campaign on loan at FC Twente from Belgian side Lommel SK.
He is a high-volume shooter who can produce powerful strikes with little backlift, enjoys peeling off his defender’s shoulder and is a predatory presence in the box.
The 21-year-old has scored nine goals and registered two assists in 1,144 league minutes – no player in the Eredivisie has scored goals at a quicker rate than his 0.71 per 90.
The diminutive striker frequently shows for the ball before using his first touch and close control in tight spaces to cause chaos in the final third.
It sees the Costa Rican average 3.85 shots and 5.74 touches in the opposition box per 90.
Ugalde can also play off his teammates. He has so far completed all eight of his key passes and 29 of his 43 attempted link-up passes.
He chases after the ball with intent, ranking second in the Eredivisie for pressing duels attempted (14.55) and eighth for loose ball duels attempted (6.14) per 90.
His impressive numbers could entice a team to take a chance on this flourishing forward in the summer.
From one Eredivisie prospect to another, the Toolbox’s next suggestion was Anastasios Douvikas – who finished as the top scorer in the Netherlands’ top flight this season, netting 20 times for seventh-placed FC Utrecht.
Celtic are the reported frontrunners for his signature, and it is clear why they would be interested in his services.
The 23-year-old chipped in with four assists alongside his impressive goal tally – only three of which came from the penalty spot.
He also exceeded his expected goals tally of 17.48xG at a level that suggests quality finishing rather than unsustainable overperformance.
Douvikas averaged 2.81 shots and found the target 1.35 times per 90 – his strong ball-striking ability has clearly convinced the Bhoys to try and bring him to Celtic Park.
Courtesy of the significant shadow of Benjamin Sesko at RB Salzburg, the emergence of fellow forward Junior Adamu has gone slightly under the radar.
The 21-year-old has played up front as well as spending time on the right flank, bagging 10 goals and three assists and showcasing a range of finishes this season.
RB Salzburg’s No9 has shown great composure and accuracy with his ball-striking, hitting the target 21 times from 32 efforts at goal.
He shines in one-on-one situations, with tricky close control and quick bursts of acceleration, which he uses to dart past defenders and create chances for himself or his teammates.
Adamu completed 22 of his 48 attempted dribbles this season, taking 69 touches in the box.
Freiburg and West Ham United are among the teams who have taken a reported interest in the Austrian – with all eyes on Sesko, Adamu could be a steal this summer.
Plenty of promising Japanese players have made the trip to Belgium before earning a step up elsewhere – Brighton and Hove Albion’s Kaoru Mitoma is a prime example.
Ayase Ueda could be next in line to make the jump up to one of Europe’s top five leagues after joining Cercle Brugge last summer.
He has demonstrated incisive movement, as well as great composure, physicality and one-touch finishing in his time in Belgium.
The 24-year-old has scored 22 goals this season, finishing second in the Belgian Pro League goalscoring charts behind Hugo Cuypers.
No player in the division took more non-penalty shots than Ueda (93), with 39 finding the target, and he ranked second for touches in the opposition box (169).
Cercle Brugge’s No36 is a relentless competitor with and without the ball, averaging 13.82 duels per 90 and is a physical presence at the point of attack, winning 129 of his 326 attempted aerial duels.
His impressive debut season in Europe may persuade a more prominent club to snap him up this summer, with Sporting CP among those reportedly monitoring the marksman.
Zeki Amdouni is a versatile forward capable of playing off the left flank, through the middle or in a No10 role.
He has enjoyed an impressive season with a young FC Basel side that were narrowly beaten in the Europa Conference League semi-finals by Fiorentina.
As a result, he has attracted interest from several clubs, including this season’s Portuguese Primeira League champions Benfica.
It is easy to see why, as the 22-year-old has bagged 12 goals and three assists in the Swiss top flight this term.
He times his runs into the box well and is a strong ball-carrier. The Geneva native has made 60 progressive runs and completed 69 of his 127 attempted dribbles.
Amdouni is also heavily involved in his team’s build-up, recording 61 link-up plays – the third-most in the league.
On the edge of the box, he looks to make deft passes to his teammates, registering 23 shot assists.
His profile is an exciting one and Benfica are likely to face competition for his signature this summer.
All visualisations and Smart Reports in this article were produced with the Twenty3 Toolbox. For more information, please get in touch below.