We round up our series looking into hot prospects across Europe who will look to develop further next season with a handful of strikers to catch the eye last time around. In turn, some of our chosen few have already earned big money moves this summer and attracted attention from afar. Each of the five forwards chosen here will begin the 2012/13 campaign under the age of 23.
Luis Muriel (Udinese - loan to Lecce) - 6.78
The first of three South Americans here, the form of Lecce loanee Luis Muriel last season could well see him get the chance to prove himself in support of Di Natale at Udinese this time around. The 21-year old started 23 times in a central forward role last term, netting 7 goals in the process.
Having mustered 53 shots in total his conversion rate of 13.2% could be improved but remains encouraging, while his real strength lies in his dribbling ability. He completed an excellent 2.2 dribbles per game last season, with an impressive 51.3% success rate overall, and he has quick feet, allied with great pace and upper body strength.
Muriel also has a creative spark to his game, picking up 5 assists having averaged 1 key pass per game, though his real standout statistic comes having completed 11 out of 22 through ball attempts last term. This 50% success rate is better than the likes of Ibrahimovic, Vucinic and Lavezzi in comparison. With decent passing stats to boot, including a 73.9% accuracy, he could prove the perfect partner for the ageing Udinese captain.
Rondon (Malaga) - 6.77
Malaga striker Salomon Rondon's performances last season came off the back of an impressive campaign in 2010/11 and have seen the Venezuelan draw attention from a number of top Premier League clubs. The 22-year old's tally of 11 goals is actually down on the 14 he netted the season before, but he cemented his place as first choice striker and in the 28 games that he started he averaged an impressive 6.99 rating from WhoScored.
With 2.6 shots per game he led the way of regular starters for Malaga, ahead of star man Cazorla, though a chance conversion rate of 11.3% will need work if he is to earn a big money move as touted. Perhaps his most impressive statistic lies in his aerial duels average of 2.4 per game, with a very respectable 48.1% success rate overall. With this in mind, reports that he has been lined up as a replacement for Drogba at Chelsea are understandable.
Although he picked up 4 assists as a lone front man last term, an average of 0.7 key passes per game hints towards a more selfish nature than the previous campaign (0.9 per game) and his work rate could be called into question at times. He won just 0.4 tackles per game last season and may need to put in more effort to help the team as a whole if he is to shine at a higher level.
Fabio Borini (Liverpool - signed from Roma) - 6.75
A tally of 9 goals from 20 starts in forward positions was enough to persuade new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to re-ignite a working partnership with Fabio Borini having signed the young Italian on loan when he was at Swansea. The 21-year old scored some important goals for Roma last season and the Merseyside club will be hoping he can do the same at Anfield.
Having averaged 2 shots per game last season his chance conversion rate of 18.8% is already at a top level and he proved to be a real poacher in Serie A last season. His strong finishing is aided by an ability to get into good positions and quick reactions in the box, while his pass success rate of 75.7% is also decent for a centre-forward.
Borini could, however, also play wide in a 4-3-3, doing so on 14 occasions last term, and his versatility will help Liverpool's attack. An average of 1.8 tackles per game is quite remarkable and was in fact the most of any striker in Serie A last season, with his only real obvious statistical weakness coming having been dispossessed 2.8 times per game.
Mattia Destro (Roma - signed from Genoa / played for Siena) - 6.70
Former Inter youth player Mattia Destro has had to earn his reputation after failing to break through at the Milan club. A season in which he netted 12 goals from 26 starts for a struggling Siena side certainly assured he did just that, getting a call-up to Cesare Prandelli's initial Euro 2012 party and since securing a big money move to AS Roma to replace the aforementioned Borini.
Standing just under six foot tall, an excellent leap ensured that he netted 4 times with his head last season and his overall chance conversion rate (16.7%) is strong for a man of his age, with Roma hoping he can improve on an impressive strike rate. If he can do so, despite the price tag, Destro could prove to be a great signing for the club as he is sure to get more chances in the capital.
His work rate is there, averaging a highly commendable 1.4 tackles per game last season, which was the third most of any striker in the league. A further 0.8 key passes per game, 1.1 dribbles per game and 73.1% pass accuracy indicates towards a very reputable all round game, although he will need to work on his hold up play having been dispossessed (2.8) and given away possession via a poor touch (2.7) too often last season.
Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari) - 6.55
Although a goal tally of just 3 last season from Cagliari's 22-year old Colombian is meagre, Victor Ibrabo was primarily used as an impact sub. In the 13 games that he did start as centre-forward, Ibrabo's modest rating jumped to 6.85 and is a truer indication of the potential he has.
Like his countryman Muriel, Ibarbo is a real threat with the ball at his feet and completely rapid when he gets ahead of steam. Having completed a huge 1.8 dribbles per game given his limited game time, his success rate of 46.6% remains encouraging and is a key reason why the Italian outfit used his fresh legs from the bench so often last season (24 times).
Despite standing comfortably over six feet tall, Ibarbo's strengths are still on the ground having averaged a superb 1.2 key passes per game last season. This teamwork, along with a fantastic 80.1% pass accuracy, goes to show that although he isn't an established marksman he offers a great deal to those playing alongside him, and an average of 0.7 tackles per game also indicates that he has a decent work ethic, which he will need to go far in the game.