Football spending looks to have recovered from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic if the summer transfer window for especially the Premier League clubs is anything to go by. For others, budgets are still a problem and it becomes very important for any club to find bargains in the market through extensive and thorough scouting.
For English football, the EFL Championship has become a very exciting place for youngsters and talents with big potential to play and hence a lot of Premier League clubs will want to dip into this pool. One such player is Viktor Gyökeres who actually left Brighton and Hove Albion for just a paltry fee of £1million in 2021 for Coventry City.
Who is Viktor Gyokeres?
Viktor Gyokeres is a player who has done very well in the Premier League 2 and 2. Bundesliga. Gyokeres was picked by the Seagulls from the Superettan (Sweden’s second division) where he had just scored 13 goals. After joining Brighton’s PL 2 team, the Swedish forward recorded 16 goal involvements in marginally over 2,000 PL2 minutes, including a brace in the playoff semi-final and helping his side get promoted to the top tier.
Subsequently, he was loaned out to Swansea City in 2020-21 where he scored just once and had a tough time there. But that did deter Coventry City who saw an opportunity to sign him at a small fee and the forward has been very impressive since moving there, with 17 league goals and five assists in 45 games last season. He has continued his good form this campaign which sees him lead the Championship goalscoring charts along with Middlesbrough’s Chuba Akpom with the Boro attacker scoring 13 to Viktor’s 12.
What is his style of play?
Viktor Gyökeres is a hybrid winger-forward and due to the club he plays at and the system by Mark Robins, it turns out to be quite a brilliant combination. He is not an exceptional player when he plays at a classic winger position or purely as a forward but can perform those duties with great effectiveness.
It was observed by Keith Andrews that the Swedish forward plays well as a part of a front two. He did well with Aaron Connolly at Brighton, and has done so in a forward unit with the more conventional number nines. One of the primary reasons for not thriving at Swansea was that he was asked to play more as a lone forward in a side that dominates the ball and does not depend on counter-attacks as their primary mode of attack.
The fluent attacking transitions deployed by Coventry help him to get the best of his dribbling ability, particularly when creating chances for himself from wide areas. When Viktor is carrying the ball from these wide positions, he likes to isolate his opposition number in one-on-one situations which makes the numbers draw in and this allows his teammates to move into the spaces which are now left by these opposition players.
Although his right foot is the dominant one, he does score a mix of goals with his left foot and headers. The best explanation to the question of his style of play is that he is a chaotic player who thrives in the opposition half and makes runs to receive the pass behind the lines of defences. He does set a template for the type of goals he scores but the patterns in his attacking nature are recurring. These goals are not the cleanest of finishes and finish a lot of chances from impossible positions and scenarios kind of like how Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez finishes his chances.
We spoke about the recurring nature of attacking and shooting positions and from there we can see that he can score goals from long ranges.
“Mark Robins and Adi Viveash have really helped, and so too has all the game time,” he told Coventry’s club website before the World Cup break. “I am getting regular game time on the pitch, playing game after game, and that is how you develop the most. The most important thing is playing games. I’m happy to be here and playing this many games. I’m really enjoying it here and the fans are great. I had to wait to meet them due to COVID but it was really good from that point on. They drive me on when I need it and when they’re playing well they keep us going.”
But also a big part of his duties as a forward is his chance creation ability. When he carries the ball, the final pass is neat, threaded pass into one of the more advanced forwards, who likely have filled the vacant space when he has moved deeper or wide. We could also say this season that he is willing to try and play around defenders and makes a lot of ambitious passes which points to the high confidence he has in his abilities.
He is also allowed the privilege of being the only player on the pitch to not participate in any defensive actions and is often the most advanced player in the Sky Blues team. This allows Gyökeres to conserve his energy and inflict maximum damage to the opposition while attacking.
What’s next for Viktor Gyökeres?
With the number he has been scoring for a struggling side like Coventry, it is surely a sign for the Premier League sides to test the resolve of Sky Blues with tempting offers. According to transfer insider Dean Jones, they currently value Viktor at £18m and Southampton, Everton, Crystal Palace and West Ham are reportedly considering a move for the striker this month with the striker’s current deal running out in 18 months time.
It is a very good price for any of these mentioned sides who have consistently struggled for goals this season and as for the 11-capped Swedish international, it would be a good time to test his skills in the English top flight.