Dušan Vlahović is a hot commodity. The 21-year-old Fiorentina forward has been linked to Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, Manchester United, and Liverpool. With Erling Haaland likely to stay put in Dortmund and Patson Daka headed to RB Leipzig, the Serbian forward will receive plenty of offers from clubs looking to add another forward in the offseason.
For Fiorentina, Vlahović has almost become like a life insurance. La Viola have struggled this season and are just four points above the relegation line and could still offer good value on potentially going down on these football betting sites. Relegation would indeed make things easier for clubs hoping to sign Vlahović as Fiorentina have put a €60 million price tag on the striker, whose contract expires in 2023.
But what makes Vlahović an interesting prospect? First of all, there are goals and plenty of them. The 21-year-old has netted every 135 minutes in Serie A play this season for a total of 19 goals in 33 games—he was involved in 46% of Fiorentina’s goals this season. As a result, Vlahović has seen his Transfermarkt market value grow from €16 million to now €25 million.
With Vlahović often named as an alternative to Haaland and Daka, we have taken a closer look at all three strikers. The first thing that stands out is the market value. Here Haaland’s astronomical €110 million is unreached by either Vlahović and Daka. Furthermore, Dortmund have made it clear that they will not sell the striker. Daka, in the meantime, has a market value of €20 million and is expected to join RB Leipzig for a fee in that region.
The second thing that stands out is goals per 90 minutes. Vlahović has scored 0.6 goals per 90 minutes this season. With that rate he ranks behind Haaland (0.93) and Daka (1.06). Daka, however, plays in the Austrian Bundesliga, which is not considered a top 5 European league.
As for Haaland and Vlahović. The two strikers both play in a top 5 league, which is also comparable in terms of overall strength. But the Bundesliga is, in general, Europe’s highest scoring league. Hence, with an emphasis based on attacking, rather than defending, Haaland is operating in a striker’s paradise.
With that in mind, other parametres like shots on target and goal conversion become important. In both those stats Vlahović ranks behind Haaland and Daka. Haaland has managed to get 58.33% of shots on target and has a goal conversion rate of 29.861%, Daka, in the meantime, has 51.18% shots on target and a conversion rate of 27.559%. Vlahović’s shots on target percentage is quite low, in comparison (41.67%) and the Serbian also has the lowest conversion rate (21.875%).
Vlahović also has the fewest amount of touches inside the box per 90 minutes this season. The 21-year-old averages 4.09 touches in the box. In comparison, Daka (6.39) and Haaland (5.4) are much more active in their opponent’s penalty boxes. There is one last stat that makes fascinating reading. Vlahović is also less involved in the buildup play than either Haaland and Daka. Haaland (0.56) and Daka (0.67) have played more key passes per 90 minutes this season than Vlahović (0.2).
Haaland and Daka have been the preferred targets for most clubs in the summer market for a reason. The two lead in key stats over the Fiorentina striker. But both also play at more productive clubs in leagues that might make it easier to score goals. Furthermore, with Haaland and Daka likely off the market, the key stats also highlight that Vlahović would be an excellent alternative for clubs that are in the market for a striker.
Manuel Veth is the editor-in-chief of the Futbolgrad Network and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth