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TEAMtalk's Famous Five: Strike sensations
Published : 19 Jun 2011 13:58:00
TEAMtalk's Matty Briggs reveals five of the top European-based strikers he would love to see plying their trade in the Premier League. They say it's the hardest thing in football to put the ball in the net, but TEAMtalk's football fanatic Briggs picks out five of the players from Europe that he is sure can do the job in the English top flight. It goes without saying that Lionel Messi is a player who I'm sure everyone would love to see striding out with England's finest, but Matty focuses on five lesser known stars, with some quickly asserting themselves on the European stage. 5. Moussa Sow, Lille A striker who has taken his time to come to the forefront in France, but after smashing 25 goals for champions Lille last term Sow has arrived on the European stage. The 25-year-old had a slow start to his professional career and only showed glimpses of his true ability before Lille signed him on a free transfer from Rennes in June 2010. And since then Sow has never looked back, topping the Ligue 1 goal charts and helping Lille to a league and cup double. The Senegal international has admitted that a lot of his success has been down to his much-coveted team-mates Eden Hazard and Gervinho, but 25 goals from 35 games is still special and only one of those was from the spot. He undoubtedly is a striker who needs creative players around him and no wonder Arsenal have been taking a look at him, but he is strong, good in the air and always a threat in behind opposition defences. The former Sedan loanee is also capable of the spectacular, with a bicycle kick against Auxerre and an overhead kick against Lyon just a couple of efforts which have made Turkish giants Fenerbahce sit up and register an interest. Lille are obviously keen to keep Sow, who has two years left on his current deal, but he has several big-name suitors who could well be prepared to take a gamble on the player as he bids to prove he is not a one-season wonder. 4. Andre Schurrle, Bayer Leverkusen A somewhat unknown, the young German international striker has endured a rapid rise to prominence in the Bundesliga. The 20-year-old secured a £7million move to Bayer Leverkusen at the start of the 2010-11 season, but it was announced he would only join Bayer at the end of the campaign. Still, with a lucrative move in the bag Schurrle showed his determination to leave Mainz on a high and fired 15 goals in 33 games as the German minnows finished in fifth spot in the Bundesliga. He also progressed into a full international, having featured at Under-19 and Under-21 level and scored his first international goal in Germany's 2-1 success over Uruguay in May this year. Schurrle can play all across the forward line and it is his electric pace and high work-rate which has helped him catch the eye. His movement has also been lauded by Germany coach Joachim Low and his long-range shooting is something to behold. Schurrle, though, is far from the finished article and Europe's big guns are sure to see how he goes with Bayer next season, and if his progress is as rapid next term then he could be a £20million man next summer. 3. Edinson Cavani, Napoli Already on the shopping list of several of Europe's big guns, including Manchester City and Chelsea, the Uruguayan hot-shot has been tearing up trees in Serie A. The former Palermo man arrived in Naples at the start of last season, but such has been his progress this term the 24-year has just penned a lucrative new contract until 2016. In Serie A, where goals are often hard to come by, Cavani netted 26 times in 35 games to help Napoli to an impressive third-placed finish. The slightly-built frontrunner provided six assists in Serie A last term, but it was his shooting power and killer instinct which caught the eye. He managed a mammoth 125 shots at goal en route to 26 goals and displayed a real ability to manufacture shooting positions from nothing. He's a top-class performer who has emerged from South America and he will cost top dollar if he is to be lured away from Campania. 2. Rondon, Malaga At 21 years of age the Malaga talisman is a forward with tremendous potential with scouts across Europe already tracking the exciting youngster, who I believe 'has it all'. The powerfully-built striker has the wonderful knack of being in the right place at the right time and gobbles up chances in the six-yard box. The Venezuelan frontman also possesses brilliant close control and has the ability to go past defenders one-on-one like they are not there. He also plays on the shoulder of the last man and his strength often sees him outmuscle his opponents and he can only be described as a predatory finisher. His heading ability is also that of a natural goalscorer and his bravery is never in question. After netting 10 goals in the Spanish second division with Las Palmas in 2009-10 he was snapped up by Malaga for 3.5million euros and his progress in La Liga has been immense. He scored 14 goals for Los Boquerones and has become one of the most exiting youngsters in Europe. He is already a full international for Venezuela after making his debut at 18 and he is sure to become the focal point of the national side for years to come. Despite his age, though, he won't be picked up on the cheap. With all the key attributes in his locker he is surely one to watch in the future and a price tag of between £13million to £18million has already been slapped on his young shoulders. 1. Falcao, Porto Although he was outscored in the Portuguese league by his team-mate Hulk, it's Falcao who has taken the eye over the last couple of seasons and makes it in at number one simply because he already looks like the finished article. The 25-year-old notched 16 goals from 22 games as Porto claimed another league title, but it was in European competition where Falcao excelled. The Colombian smashed 18 goals as Porto marched to the Europa League title - including the winner in the 1-0 final success over Braga. The powerful forward also scored two hat-tricks and managed a four-goal haul in a 5-1 thumping of fancied Villarreal. He has developed a deadly partnership with Hulk and if Porto can keep the pair together next season and cling on to their young boss Andre Villas-Boas they could be in with a real shout of success in the Champions League. Back to Falcao, though, and he's a striker who should be suited to the English game with power and strength in abundance. His finishing prowess in and around the penalty area is also first class, but it is his heading ability which sets him apart from the rest. I've heard him described as the best header of a ball since Alan Shearer, and that I believe isn't too far away from the truth. Falcao, or to give him his Sunday name Radamel Falcao Garcia Zarate, is not the biggest striker in the world - he only stands at five foot nine and a half - but his heading ability is sensational. He will undoubtedly command a huge transfer fee, but if Harry Redknapp wants a striker to propel Spurs back into the Champions League or Arsene Wenger wants a man to fire Arsenal to the title then look no further than Falcao - a class act!