Francisco Scaramanga, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Auric Goldfinger, Alec Trevelyan and even Viktor Gyökeres. A name that, for the more casual side of the audience (or perhaps not so much) is familiar, because we are talking about one of the players with the most goal contributions in all of Europe, could get lost in a list like the previous one: that of James Bond‘s villains.

But the Swedish player does not only share the exotic name with the previous lineup. He is probably the biggest killer of them all.

In Viktor Gyökeres, we are not talking about the prototypical young striker who makes a name for himself in Europe after a breakout season. The 25-year-old Swedish attacker is taking Sporting CP by storm and was already a sensation in England last season.

At the age of 19, Brighton, who are internationally recognized for their intuition when signing young players, paid a million to Swedish side Brommapojkarna for the striker and, after only nine appearances for their youth team, they proceeded to look into sending the youngster out on loan.

In 2019, he would play for Sant Pauli, scoring seven goals and dishing out four assists at just 21 years old in the German second division.

The following season (2020/2021) was an eventful one. He scored his only goal for Brighton’s first team (in a 4-0 win over Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup), but after a loan spell at Swansea that ended in January, The Seagulls sent him to the team that would change his life until the end of the season: Coventry City.

That half-season in the Championship would be a good one, but nothing particularly remarkable, as he would score three goals in 19 matches (only six of them as a starter).

The team decided to take a chance on him and, at the end of the season, paid Brighton a total of 1.200.000€, which, with only two years to spare, would become the best investment in the team’s history.

In his first season officialy a part of the team, he would score 18 goals and his squad would not suffer to avoid relegation. In the second campaign, he would break out and become the killer of the Championship, recording 22 goals and two assists that took Coventry City to the final of the playoffs, although they fell just short of achieving a promotion to the Premier League.

Sporting CP would not waste their chance to sign him in the summer transfer market and, after paying 25 million to the English side, his potential return to England the upcoming summer could triple that investment.

In Gyökeres, we are not just talking about the classic finishing striker (a facet in which the Swedish player shines) but, in spite of his 6’1 height, he is a very quick striker who is able to punish any opposing defense that is positioned too high up the pitch. Luis Neto, his teammate, defines the Swedish forward to perfection.

Despite his corpulence and dominant physique, Viktor Gyökeres is good at supporting, taking advantage of his size to regularly feed a second line as powerful as that of the Portuguese side, featuring players such as Pedro Gonçalves, Marcus Edwards, Trincão or Paulinho (not for nothing have they only lost one league match, as they are one of the most offensive teams in Europe with an average of 2,85 goals per game and are also qualified for the round of 16 of the Europa League).

The Swedishman is among the best strikers in the world this season and his statistics only corroborate what is apparent to the eye test: he can score at will.

He is currently the player with the second most goal contributions (29 goals and 11 assists in 32 matches) ahead of attackers like Mbappé (39 goals generated in 31 matches) or Haaland (28 in 29 appearances) and only behind Luuk de Jong, who has recorded 31 goals and 12 assists and is killing it in the Eredivisie (22 goals and nine assists in 23 league matches).

On another note, although it is true that the Portuguese league is not as challenging as other major leagues, his numbers in the Europa League are just as remarkable (five goals and one assist in seven appearances).

If he continues to progress at this rate, we could be looking at one of the biggest goalscoring explosions of the last few years. Several teams in the ‘Big Six’ of the Premier League, mainly Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, are already thinking of the Swedish attacker as the striker to complement their team and help them make that final leap. They are not afraid of his 100 million euros release clause.

The future of Viktor Gyökeres is in England, but this James Bond villain will continue to rack uo victims in Portugal and every European country he visits this season.

Translated by Nuño Alonso.

Main image: @SportingCP.


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