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Which English Premier League striker could be on his way to the Crew?

Julian Finney / Getty Images

We are closing in on the start of the secondary transfer window in Major League Soccer and that only means one thing: transfer rumors. The Columbus Crew has been eagerly awaiting this window to add a new Designated Player striker and the transfer speculation got a bit hotter on Sunday afternoon as ESPN commentator Taylor Twellman fanned the flames by suggesting that Black & Gold not only were in the market to sign a striker but one from the English Premier League.

“They will go out and spend big money on a No. 9,” Twellman said during halftime of Sunday’s MLS contest between New England Revolution and Sporting Kansas City.

This potential move is the second rumored acquisition of a striker after reports emerged that Columbus in the running for former Houston Dynamo and current Tijuana striker Mauro Manotas. Sources told Massive Report’s Pat Murphy that Manotas is just one of the targets and other options are being considered. This means Twellman’s report could carry a bit of weight as head coach Caleb Porter has said he wants a player who can score 15-20 goals.

Let’s look at who is available and speculate on what player could be on his way to Central Ohio later this summer, assuming Twellman is correct.

Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)

The 30-year-old Ghanian makes sense to make the move to the Crew. He has an established rapport with Crew captain Jonathan Mensah as the duo have competed for the Black Stars while on international duty. Ayew also possesses goal-scoring prowess with 61 finishes while spending time in the Premier League and France’s Ligue 1.

The drawback to Ayew is that he is older than the Black & Gold would ideally like, on the back end of his prime, and hasn’t managed double-digit goals since the 2014-15 campaign in which he scored 12 goals with FC Lorient in the top-flight of French football. MLS is obviously a bit lower level, so a move to Columbus could provide a reinvigoration for Ayew.

Teemu Pukki (Norwich City)

Have you ever heard the phrase “No Pukki, No Party?” It’s a familiar one for fans of Norwich City as the Finnish forward has been a key producer for the Canaries since arriving in 2018. Pukki has delivered 77 goals for the English side and most recently tallied 11 goals this past season in the EPL.

He is valued at around $5.5 million, according to Transfermarkt, and could be a value for the Crew’s pocketbook. Pukki is 32 years of age and with old European players making the jump stateside, it would be intriguing to see if the Finnish forward would be a good fit in Central Ohio.

Jack Harrison (Leeds United)

The former No.1 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft paid his dues with New York City FC before shipping off to England and Leeds United and has flourished since making the move back to his native country. Harrison enjoyed another productive season in 2021-22, scoring eight goals and tallying one assist as he was a catalyst for Leeds to fight off relegation to stay in the top-flight of English football for another year.

We’ve seen other players like DeAndre Yedlin return to MLS following a stint abroad. Might the same be true for one of the first young stars of NYCFC?

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