Chelsea transfer target Erling Haaland is very much a man in demand, but could there be better options out there ahead of the summer window?
The 20-year-old has emerged as one of the hottest properties in European football, having compiled a staggering goalscoring record for Borussia Dortmund.
The Norway striker has scored 49 goals in 52 games since moving to the Bundesliga from Austrian club RB Salzburg in January 2020.
Speculation over Haaland’s future has continued to spiral on the back of his representatives being spotted in Spain amid proposed transfer talks with La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, while similar discussions are thought to have taken place in the UK with four Premier League clubs, including Chelsea.
There is absolutely no doubt the Dortmund frontman is a hugely-prolific and prodigious talent.
However, with his sought-after services expected to command a nine-figure sum, football.london has picked out some cheaper alternative options.
In order to offer insight on our selection criteria, we have focused solely on shot conversion, calculated by dividing the number of shots taken by the number of goals scored. The higher the rate, the more accurate a player has been in terms of finishing.
As things stand, Haaland has scored 21 goals in the Bundesliga this season from 69 attempts (30.44 per cent), while his current value, according to Transfermarkt, is £99million.
Staggeringly enough, four players with an even better strike-rate than the Norwegian are currently being priced up at distinctly more affordable amount.
Max Kruse (Union Berlin)
He may be entering the twilight of his career, at 33, but it’s impossible to ignore just how clinical Kruse has been in front of goal this campaign.
His 10 goals for surprise European hopefuls Union Berlin have come in 16 games – offering up a comparable rate to every Bundesliga striker aside from Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Andre Silva (Frankfurt) and Haaland.
Where the veteran does outshine them, though, is in the goals per attempt column, where he boasts an impressive 45.46 per cent conversion rate.
Transfer value: £5.4m
Sitting in second place behind Kruse on this list is towering Nigerian striker Simy, who stands at 6ft 6in.
Equally as colossal is his conversion rate in Serie A – made even more eye-catching by the fact Crotone are rooted to the foot of the standings, having only won four games all season.
Simy, 28, trails only Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) and Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan) in the quest for the golden boot, but his 16 goals have come from just 43 shots – giving him an impressive strike-rate of 37.21 per cent.
Transfer value: £4m
Mattia Destro (Genoa)
A little further down the overall goalscoring charts in Italy is Genoa striker Destro, who joined the Serie A club from Bologna ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
It’s been a profitable first year for him, too, with 10 goals to show from his 23 appearances so far.
Similarly to Simy, the 30-year-old Italian has been much more accurate than some of the more high-profile frontmen in that division, needing only 28 attempts to reach double figures (35.71 per cent).
Transfer value: £2.25m
Franck Kessie (AC Milan)
Strictly speaking, Kessie is a midfield player. But as any Chelsea supporter will know, regular goals from the engine room are just as important as in attacking quarters.
Club legend Frank Lampard remains, of course, the record goalscorer at Stamford Bridge and Kessie has shown a similar knack of arriving in the right place at the right time with Milan.
Even more impressively, his ten goals so far in Serie A this season have come from just 29 attempts. That’s enough to place him fourth on this list (34.48 per cent).
Transfer value: £45m