Exclusive - Manchester City scouts are keeping a close eye on Red Bull Salzburg striker Patson Daka, the man who has effectively replaced goal machine Erling Haaland at the Austrian club following the Norwegian’s transfer to Borussia Dortmund.
Daka could join the likes of Haaland and Kylian Mbappe on City's list of options to replace Sergio Aguero, who might yet leave the club at the end of the season. However, they will face competition from over 20 other teams across Europe.
Discovered by scouts playing in his native Zambia, Daka was actually signed by Salzburg in 2017, but it was only last season that he made his real breakthrough and scored 27 goals in all competitions.
Although he found the net throughout the season, Daka started more regularly when Haaland left and was particularly crucial during the ‘championship round’ of the campaign as Salzburg won a seventh consecutive Austrian title.
90min has learned from sources that Manchester City are looking to sign at least one top striker in 2021. Aguero is out of contract in June and it is not yet clear if he intends to stay on, or bid farewell like former colleagues Vincent Kompany and David Silva.
But even if Aguero stays or goes next summer, the 32-year-old is still beginning to approach the end of his career and there are doubts over whether Gabriel Jesus can replace him. The Brazilian, while a talented squad player, has often been a substitute at City and has missed most of this season so far with injury – costing him an opportunity to capitalise while Aguero is also out.
Around six weeks into 2020/21, Daka has already picked up where he left off. The 22-year-old has scored 12 times in 11 games in all competitions, including six in five league appearances and four in a single Austrian cup tie, further highlighting Salzburg’s ability to find and develop talent.
90min understands that City have asked their top scouts to regularly check on Daka and provide detailed reports. The club already has a shortlist of options that includes the aforementioned Haaland and Mbappe, but scouts have been so impressed by Daka that they are pushing for him to similarly be considered now, believing he is ready for the Premier League.
Daka is valued by Salzburg in excess of £20m, but City aren’t the only club showing an interest.
Arsenal have also been making regular checks on the player, while sources have revealed there are more than 20 teams from across Europe that have had scouts watch him play.
Salzburg’s top stars will occasionally move on to partner club RB Leipzig first, such has been the case with Naby Keita, Dayot Upamecano and Hwang Hee-chan, but the likes of Haaland, Sadio Mane and Takumi Minamino have been sold directly to teams elsewhere.