As any former professional player turned TV expert will tell you, the hardest thing in soccer is scoring goals. That’s why clubs pay a premium for strikers who are guaranteed to hit the back of the net. In fact (as of June 13, 2022), 4 of the 5 most expensive players of all time – Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Joao Felix and Antoine Griezmann – are high-scoring forwards. But what if you are a club with a modest transfer budget? There’s no chance of spending more than 100 million euros on fees. So where will your goals come from?
In this article, we take a look at the brightest attacking talents in the lower leagues in Europe. These 4 second tier forwards will likely cost far less than the familiar names we highlighted above, but they could still prove prolific. Enter these players into a FIFA auction and equip your team with a deadly finisher.
FIFA AUCTION TIP #1: Ben Brereton Diaz (Blackburn & Chile)
How Stoke-born Ben Brereton Diaz came to play for Chile is one of the great stories of recent soccer folklore. After noticing he was half Chilean on the computer game Football Manager, fans launched a campaign on social media to get him selected for the national team.
It was picked up by the press in the South American country and Chilean boss Martín Lasarte began to keep a close eye on Brereton’s performance for the Blackburn club. In May 2021, the striker received the first international call-up of Ben Brereton Diaz and quickly added his mother’s maiden name (Diaz) to his surname, in accordance with Spanish tradition.
And what a player Chile has now! “Big Ben” was prolific for Rovers in the league in 2021-22, scoring 22 goals as the Lancashire club surprised everyone with their unlikely promotion push. In fact, the reason Rovers fell towards the end of the season was due to an ankle ligament injury that sidelined Brereton Diaz for 6 weeks between February and March – a crucial point in the season.
Ben Brereton Diaz’s FIFA 22 attributes reflect his true qualities. He’s fast, with acceleration rated at 85 and sprint speed at 83. He’s also good on the ball, scoring 80 for strength, 75 for dribbling and 73 for ball control. And, as you’d expect for a real goal machine, his finishing is on point at 75. It’s not certain that Brereton Diaz will start the 2022-23 season in England’s second tier, with Premier League Leeds reportedly an interest. . And frankly, he deserves a chance in top-level soccer.
FIFA AUCTION TIP #2: Joel Piroe (Swansea)
After narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League in 2020-21, last season was a disappointment for Swansea. In September, the Welsh team lost their manager, Steve Cooper, to Nottingham Forest and inconsistent form saw them finish 15th in the table.
One bright spot was the form of 22-year-old Dutch striker Joel Piroe. Having left PSV Eindhoven in July 2021 for £1 million (€1.1 million), the hard-shooting striker made an instant impact, with a debut goal against Reading. And he went on to prove a bargain, scoring 23 goals in 46 league and cup games.
Joel Piroe clearly has a pedigree; he was selected by the Netherlands Under-20s. And at 6 feet 1 inch (185 cm), he carries a physical presence – this is reflected on FIFA 22 with his Strength rated at 83. The other attribute he ranks highly in is long-range shooting. He scores 77 in the game for Shot Power and 73 for Long Shots. With Premier League club Leicester City rumored to be interested, it remains to be seen how much longer Joel Piroe will be a player in the league.
FIFA AUCTION TIP #3: Rhys Healey (Toulouse)
Englishman Rhys Healey’s journey in French soccer has been interesting. He started out at Welsh club Connah’s Quay Nomads, where he caught the eye of scouts from Cardiff City. The Bluebirds signed Healey in 2013, at the age of 18, and he was loaned out to a series of clubs, including Milton Keynes Dons – for whom he scored 8 goals in 18 appearances. He moved permanently to Stadium MK in 2019 and, despite a lengthy injury absence, was the club’s top scorer in 2019-2020 with 11 goals in 19 games.
A move to Toulouse in Ligue 2 followed and his record of scoring in France was impressive; his return of 15 goals in 33 appearances in 2020-21 was followed by 20 stellar goals in 32 appearances last season, helping Les Violets to promotion to Ligue 1 for 2022-23.
The Manchester-born striker is a useful man to have in your FIFA 22 team. Rhys Healey scores 80 for agility and acceleration, while his sprint speed is 76. So he’s fast. And with a finishing score of 75, he’s a force in front of goal.
FIFA AUCTION TIP #4: Borja Baston (Real Oviedo)
An experienced midfielder who has made appearances for 12 different clubs (including Atletico Madrid, Aston Villa and Swansea), Borja Baston had an impressive 2021-22 season for Real Oviedo, scoring 22 goals in 40 appearances.
At 6 feet 3 inches (191 cm) tall, the Spaniard’s main attribute is his head. Whoscored.com rates his strengths as “Heading attempts” and “Defensive contribution”, suggesting that he is particularly useful to have in the box on the corners – at both ends of the field.
On FIFA 22, Borja Baston’s overall score is 75, but if there’s one reason you want him on your team, it’s his strength. With a score of 90, there aren’t many defenders who will be able to take the ball away from him. And if he’s within 30 yards of the goal, it’s worth having a pop; with a Shot Power score of 84, he can just shoot the ball into the top corner.
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