CESENA, ITALY – JUNE : Tammy Abraham of England and Alexandru Pascanu of Romania in action during the UEFA U- Group C match between England and Romania at Dino Manuzzi Stadium on June , in Cesena, Italy. Photo by Giuseppe
The English transfer window has now closed, and while all the focus has been on how much has been spent, the lack of spending on strikers by some of the larger clubs could give the next generation of English strikers a chance to break into the first team.
Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford have two of England’s striker slots on lock-down, but with Jamie Vardy retiring from international soccer and Danny Welbeck being Danny Welbeck, the other one or two central striker slots have been up for grabs for a while. Callum Wilson may make it his own, should he continue his good form at Bournemouth, but there are also a few young England players who have a chance of breaking into sides in the top six of the Premier League this season.
In Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Liverpool have two of the best forwards out there. But beneath the surface, their forward line is a bit on the thin side. They relied on Daniel Sturridge in the league on occasions last season, and he’s been released. Danny Ings has also been sold although the deal was wrapped up last year, as was Dominic Solanke last winter, and Jurgen Klopp has opted to have a quiet transfer window this season. While Liverpool’s Divock Origi will be the main beneficiary of that lack of spending, the absence of other options could give Rhian Brewster the chance to finally show what he can do in front of a packed Anfield crowd.
Brewster had a strong preseason and Klopp rates him highly, saying “I love the boy, he is fantastic. Why should I play it down.” Brewster’s golden boot performance helped England win the Under- World Cup back in , but while his then-teammates Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi are fast becoming household names, Brewster missed over a year with injuries after that World Cup triumph. Perhaps this season, he can break into the Liverpool side and reach the level of some of his U- teammates, especially as Liverpool have sold many of their other back-up strikers.
But it is telling that while Brewster played a lot in Liverpool’s early pre-season games he has appeared less and less as the new season has got nearer, and he didn’t even make the bench for the Community Shield. He may not quite be there yet, but this season could be his best chance of a breakthrough as one or two injuries would give him a clear path to the Liverpool first team.
Down the M in Manchester, Liverpool’s arch rivals also weakened their forward line this summer. Manchester United’s sale of Romelu Lukaku gives youngster Mason Greenwood a huge opportunity to break into United’s first team. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that Greenwood even had a chance of starting against Chelsea on the opening day of the season, and that “he can play anywhere along the frontline” so he can fit in wherever United need him.
Manchester United may get a lot of stick for their transfer policies, but they are one of the best sides in the country for bringing through young talent. According to traininggroundgurum, they gave more minutes to players who had graduated from their academy than any other Premier League side last season although admittedly one of those players, Paul Pogba, had a $ million detour via Turin. Manchester United already have one young English forward in the year-old Marcus Rashford, but the way Manchester United’s backroom staff are raving about Greenwood, this may be his breakthrough year.
Chelsea’s transfer spending was decided for them by their transfer ban, but they did bring in a lot of new recruits by recalling all the young players they had out on loan. Frank Lampard has been keen to play his youngsters in pre-season, and Tammy Abraham has started four of Chelsea’s six preseason matches.
Abraham is a bit older than Brewster and Greenwood, in fact he is a few days older than Marcus Rashford, and he has also played for his country already. But he has yet to establish himself as a top Premier League striker. Abraham scored five Premier League goals for Swansea two years ago before coming close to being the Championship’s top scorer last season with Aston Villa. But there’s a big jump up from scoring for fun in the Championship and if Tammy Abraham can’t make that jump he won’t stay at Stamford Bridge for long.
Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea are unlikely to go another summer without buying a striker so if the chance comes along, Brewster, Greenwood and Abraham must take it, because like a striker in a goal drought, chances at the top are not easy to come by.
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