As we told you yesterday, Man Utd boss Alex Ferguson is on the look-out for three players to strengthen his squad this summer. Striker is one position he needs some more quality, but where are the world-class strikers? It’s a question that Fergie has been asking himself: ‘You look through the world and say to yourself: “where are all the strikers?” There are not a lot of them going around, believe me.’
This got me thinking – why are there no great strikers around right now? Is it a cyclical thing or is it, as I suspect, indicative of the way in which football at the highest level has changed, making it harder for forwards to succeed (players are so well schooled and organised now – see Mourinho & Benitez, who have been accused by Jorge Valdano of ‘ruining football’) and perhaps easier for attacking midfielders to strike from deep: Man Utd’s top scorer in the league this season is Cristiano Ronaldo. As far as I’m aware, that’s the first time in the history of the Premiership that the leading scorer for the champions has not been a striker. Okay, Wayne Rooney may yet overtake Ronaldo, but I doubt it.
If Fergie is looking for a world-class striker, where will he turn? Didier Drogba is probably the best in the world right now, but who else is there? Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Inter is mercurial but inconsistent, whilst city rivals Milan have reached the Champions League final this season without a world-class striker (Liverpool did the same). And Italy won the 2006 World Cup without a world-class striker in their ranks.
Who else is there? Dimitar Berbatov looks classy but is still unproven at the highest level. When fit, Thierry Henry is the best striker on the planet, but he’s not getting any younger and may never reach that peak again. Samuel Eto’o dazzles on occasion, but is hardly any more consistent than Zlatan.
The Spanish pair of Fernando Torres and David Villa are very talented and in demand but talk of transfer figures in excess of Â£40m is a joke. Neither player is worth more than Â£20m in my book.
Indeed, if asked to name the best three players in the world, you’d hear ‘Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka’ from many experts – not one is a striker.
So where have all the world-class strikers gone? Any ideasâ€¦