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Transfer window: Players from outside Europe’s big-five leagues Premier League clubs should sign

Europe is full of talent, and Ninad Barbadikar identifies players outside the big leagues who Premier League clubs should sign.

Several exciting talents are making a name for themselves outside of the Top Five Leagues, but who is next in line and which players will make the big jump to Premier League football? Let’s explore.

Who could sign Goncalo Ramos?

Club: SL Benfica
Position: Striker
Age: 21
Portugal striker Goncalo Ramos announced his arrival on the World stage, netting a hat-trick having replaced a dropped Cristiano Ronaldo in the World Cup against Switzerland.

He is the future of Portuguese football and has all the tools necessary to be an excellent modern-day striker.

At club level, he has been exceptional for Benfica in the league, filling the void left by Darwin Nunez. He is currently level with Porto’s Mehdi Taremi on nine goals at the top of the scoring charts, but his underlying numbers are hugely impressive.

He leads the Primeira Liga for xG per 95 minutes according to Infogol, averaging 1.06, which is all the more impressive when you factor in that he hasn’t had any penalties to bump up the average.

Primeira Liga np xG/95 leaders
His work off the ball is just as noteworthy as well. Ramos occupies opposition centre backs with his physical ability and pressing engine to win the ball back.

Ramos will command a premium fee so there is an exclusive group of clubs that will be in for him. Manchester United will certainly have him in their thoughts when they look for a more permanent long-term solution to their striker problem since Ronaldo’s exit.

If a deal for Christopher Nkunku does not happen, Chelsea may be tempted to bring Ramos to Stamford Bridge which would be a highly sensible move for them.

Who could sign Mike Tresor?

Club: Genk
Position: Attacking midfielder
Age: 23
Belgian midfielder Mike Tresor has been a standout performer in the Belgian Pro League this season.

Genk are currently top of the league standings and one of the primary reasons has been the exciting performances of Tresor, with the attacking midfielder having scored five goals and assisted a further 13 – meaning he has the most goal contributions in the league (18).

He isn’t the tallest of players, standing at 5”6’, but uses his low centre of gravity to his advantage in 1v1 situations.

Tresor is one part of a fearsome attacking trio including Paul Onuachu and Joseph Pantsil, who are both in double figures for goal contributions themselves.

It would be absolutely accurate to describe Tresor as an entertainer, someone who enjoys getting into 1v1 duels and dribbling past his markers, as he does here, with a cruel nutmeg.

Tresor enjoys having a free role on the ball and is an effective presence between the lines to find his team-mates in dangerous positions further up the pitch, while his dribbling ability helps progress the ball keep it in the opposition half.

Not only is he quick with his feet, Tresor is also the type of player to try risky passes to create chances and averages 3.3 key passes per 95 which is the highest in the Pro League currently.

After signing for Genk in the summer of 2021, it is clear that Tresor is ready to make the step up to a side in the top five leagues, perhaps one challenging for the Europa League or the Europa Conference League.

West Ham or Brentford could be an interesting next step for him given the attacking profiles present at both clubs. He could even be a useful depth option at Newcastle who look likely to qualify for Europe by the end of the season.

Who could sign Xavi Simons?

Club: PSV
Position: Forward
Age: 19
For someone who is still in his teens, Xavi Simons has had an eventful career already.

The 19-year-old began his career at Barcelona’s La Masia academy before moving on to PSG where he had his senior breakthrough last season.

The summer of 2022 saw him make the switch to PSV in search of first-team action and he found exactly that, not only getting minutes but truly excelling.

So much so that his form led to him being picked for the Netherlands World Cup squad in Qatar, where he made his debut for the national team.

In almost 1300 first-team minutes played at PSV in the Eredivisie, Simons has scored eight goals and assisted a further three, averaging 0.38 xG/95 and 0.17 xA/95 this term.

While he isn’t pacey, Simons’ constant movement between the lines disorients defences and allows him to move into dangerous positions to either score or find his team-mates in space.

His close control and exceptional technique allows him to be an effective carrier of the ball as well, which is useful for PSV during counter-attacks or to find gaps against stubborn opposition.

Given his prodigious talents, it isn’t even a stretch to say that he’s the next big star for the Netherlands and therefore his development must be carefully handled in the coming years.

Simons’ abilities as a forward are unique and so, his next club must be able to facilitate not only his style of play but also help him take his talents to the next level. Either Arsenal or Manchester City would be the perfect next club for Simons to grow into an elite attacker.

Both sides offer coaches who would focus on his development and allow him the time to grow without the pressure to deliver straight away.

Who could sign Mohammed Kudus?

Club: Ajax
Position: Forward
Age: 19
Another player who left his mark at the Qatar World Cup was Ghanian forward Mohammed Kudus.

The 22-year-old’s performances, including a brace against South Korea in the group stages, were the highlight of a short-lived tournament for the Black Stars.

At club level, Kudus continues to shine at Ajax where he has lit up the Champions League with his goals.

In Europe’s premier competition, Kudus has four goals and three assists in six appearances, delivering the goods against tough opposition in the form of Liverpool, Napoli and Rangers, averaging 0.37 xGI/95.

In the league, his return is less encouraging as Brian Brobbey is the preferred starter ahead of him, however, Kudus has five goals in just 582 minutes of Eredivisie action.

Kudus’ goals have come from an xG of 5.45, meaning his per 95 minute average sits at a whopping 0.89! In total across league and Champions League, Kudus has averaged 0.64 xG/95.

A versatile forward able to play across the front-line, it’s clear he needs to play more.

Manchester United and Erik ten Hag are known admirers of Kudus but it is difficult to see him being a starter just yet, and his profile isn’t what the club need in their attack right now, but he would be a welcome addition nonetheless if a spot becomes available for him. He was close to joining Everton in the summer but a move did not materialise.

It is clear his talents are good enough for clubs in European competitions so it will be interesting to follow where he ends up going after Ajax.

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