Who is Patson Daka? The Salzburg goal machine wanted by England's elite
As we enter the business end of the Premier League season, teams are beginning to look to the summer and areas that need strengthening. However, the purse strings have been tightened for a number of sides and that means they will need to cast a wider net in a bid to improve.
Nevertheless, there is quality to be found across the continent, and one player in particular is believed to be heading the wanted list of the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City. Patson Daka isn't some random unknown in England, with a host of top teams previously linked with a move for the Zambian.
Indeed, Tottenham were credited with an interest in Daka last summer, while West Ham pondered a move for the Salzburg sensation on the back of Sebastien Haller's Ajax move. Daka is supposedly valued at a modest £17m, which makes him an intriguing option for a number of England's heavyweight sides. That figure can be expected to rise over the coming months given his exceptional goal return in the Austrian Bundesliga, but even so; that shouldn't deter suitors.
Daka has scored at least six more goals (20) than any other player in the division this season as Salzburg stroll towards the title. He may not be as prolific as Salzburg alumni Erling Haaland, yet is a huge threat in the opposition box regardless. Crucially, is that Daka is a capabale finisher with either his right or left foot, meaning opposition defenders are unable to show the 22-year-old onto his 'weaker' foot.
⚽️ Patson Daka has scored at least 6 more goals (20) than any other player in the Austrian Bundesliga this season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 24, 2021
👀 The Salzburg striker is reported to have a lengthy list of admirers in England... pic.twitter.com/6h0tHpj870
In terms of his style of play, Daka is extremely intelligent and his late surging runs into the box means he is able to get the run on opponents and tuck away chances with relative ease. The Zambia international also boasts a great sense of anticipation and is prepared to gamble on rebounds or mistakes to boost his goalscoring tally.
A number of his Salzburg goals this season have come from making the right run at the right time to work space and be picked out by a teammate, or sensing an opportunity via a defensive error, with this awareness belying his tender years. Off the ball, his runs can either be exploited by teammates to pick Daka out, or used to drag defenders out of position, thus opening up space for his fellow attackers to get forward.
There's also Daka's speed that can be utilised on the counter or against sides that play a high defensive line. Daka is incredibly quick off the mark, which can work to the advantage of teams that seek to play the ball forward quickly and directly and hit opponents on the counter or, at the very least, ease pressure on his team's goal if they are under the cosh as an outlet to latch onto punts up field.
Daka also works hard out of possession in his efforts to win the ball back for his side. It may be a small sample size, but Daka made 2.2 tackles per 90 in the Champions League group stages this season, a significant return for any player, let alone a centre forward. This attribute can be utilised to good effect by a side that adopts a high pressing approach, with it evident that there is more to Daka's game than just goals.
It's clear that he needs a new challenge outside of Austria and he may get just that come the summer as a number of top English sides chase his signature. Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all need a new striker at the end of the season and while Haaland is the priority for a number of teams, Daka is the cost-effective option that would still deliver goals aplenty.