Dusan Vlahovic is a name that has floated around the transfer rumour mill for practically the entirety of 2021, courtesy of what was a sensational campaign for the 21-year-old with Fiorentina last time out.
A haul of 21 Serie A goals for a Viola side who disappointingly finished 13th with a measly 47 goals saw the Serbia international outperform his xG by almost three – so, as you can imagine, some big sides sat up and took notice.
And, with much reported interest over the past few months, the question has been begged: where could Vlahovic find himself after this summer transfer window?
Let’s take a look.
Regardless of whether Harry Kane stays or goes this summer, Nuno Espirito Santo will look to add more depth up front.
With Carlos Vinicius’ return to parent club Benfica, Spurs boast only their main man as an option at the top of the pitch so new additions will be key to their summer plans – especially if Kane eventually gets his way.
Crotone’s Simy is another name linked with the club, although Vlahovic is seen as their main target given his vast room for development from an already very prolific campaign last time out.
Standing at 6’2 with the ability to drop deep and link play as well as act as the target man, it’s easy to see where he’d fit into Espirito Santo’s side and Spurs are thought to be in pole position to land the striker’s signature at the moment.
Along with Spurs, Atletico Madrid are thought to be leading the race to sign Vlahovic.
Luis Suarez will likely be the club’s main striker once more this term, having scored 21 times for Atletico on the way to securing the La Liga crown. However, at 34, the acquisition of another quality striker is a necessary one both for the smoothness of the club’s 2021/22 season as well as the long-term.
When considering Vlahovic notched the same number of league goals as Suarez last term – although the Uruguayan did have an xG of just 15.6 – there shouldn’t be much of a drop in quality and, with the dynamism and creativity around him, the 21-year-old would surely thrive and aid Diego Simeone’s men’s ambition of retaining the league title.
Another side that are now firmly in the market for a striker are Inter.
Following the news that I Nerazzurri and Chelsea have reached an agreement for the €115m transfer of Romelu Lukaku to Stamford Bridge, a replacement for the Belgian goal machine is a priority.
While a loan offer for Anthony Martial has recently been rumoured to be in the pipeline, a more permanent and less risky purchase of the bang in-form Vlahovic could be preferable to Simone Inzaghi.
Although, taking on board sub-par Manchester United strikers and turning their careers around might just be what they do…
Real Madrid‘s reasoning for looking at bringing in a new striker this summer can be explained by the horrific fact that, apart from Karim Benzema who notched 23 goals, their highest marksman in La Liga was defensive midfielder Casemiro with six strikes.
There is a shockingly clear need for a new, good enough, and suitably long-term option at the top of the pitch to gradually relieve Benzema of the goalscoring burden over the next couple of years.
While Los Blancos are in a tough spot financially, player sales this summer could feasibly fund a move for such an addition, with Vlahovic previously being reported as a target for the club as opposed to the £150m-rated Erling Haaland.
And although Real may wait to join the scramble for Haaland’s signature next summer when his £75m release clause comes into play, Vlahovic’s qualities and potential ability to be Benzema’s successor at the club should not be totally sniffed at.
Mikel Arteta is said to prefer a move for Tammy Abraham, although Atalanta’s willingness to meet Chelsea’s £40m valuation could force the Gunners to turn their sights elsewhere.
Vlahovic is unlike any option Arteta already possesses in his squad, which would aid competition for places and help prevent falling flat as they did so often throughout the 2020/21 campaign.
A problematic factor in a pursuit, however, could be Fiorentina’s determination to hold out for a big fee – previously reported at potentially £50m.
Another side keen on adding depth to their striking options is Manchester City.
Having lost Sergio Aguero on a free transfer to Barcelona this summer, Pep Guardiola has only Gabriel Jesus to call upon – yeah, another striker is needed.
So, should the club get nowhere in their drawn-out pursuit of Harry Kane, Vlahovic should be considered a feasible option to go for. Although not a name in shining lights just yet, he’s prolific, versatile in his style of play and young enough to really develop and create something special wherever he lands – and he’d no doubt thrive under Guardiola’s tutelage.
Jumping across the city, Manchester United were also in the market for the 21-year-old in the latter months of last season.
It’s become clear that Edinson Cavani will be the likely first-choice striker throughout the upcoming season, given the astronomical difference in quality between he and Martial for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
And, with the possibility of the Frenchman departing sometime soon, the Red Devils should be looking to find a long-term option for that number nine spot.
Vlahovic has all the makings of a strong United centre-forward, but to bring him in this summer would require further outgoings due to the approximate £117m they spent on adding Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane to the ranks.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were previously reported to be in the race for 21-year-old Vlahovic, although the intense competition they would face for his signature may deter them.
There’s no doubt that an added striker would help strengthen the Reds and add firepower to compete with their rivals – something that Klopp has stated that another dip into the transfer market could help with.
However, factoring in the club’s probable priority of purchasing a central midfielder and a winger, you could conclude that it might just not be the right time for Vlahovic and Liverpool.