Forward | FC Dynamo Kiev | Ukraine
Ukraine’s top two goal scorers in the nation’s history are named Andriy, Shevchenko and Yarmolenko respectively, but Viktor Tsygankov might just gatecrash the Andriy party if the early openings of his career are anything to go by.
Typical of the modern winger, Tsygankov is more of an inside forward than a traditional wide man, cutting inside from the right-wing in a bid to slice open the opposition with his preferred left-foot. So far, that endeavour has come naturally to him in Ukraine and his scintillating performances are beginning to draw interest from Europe’s heavyweights.
On paper, the 21-year-old has just about everything in his locker: a sharp turn of pace, tight ball control, instinctive interplay, competency with both feet and, most notably, a clinical instinct in front of goal.
We’re totally convinced Tsygankov is the real deal, but until he has showcased his quality in a more competitive division it’s impossible to award him an A grade.
2018 has been…
A year to believe the hype. Tsygankov’s reputation was growing in 2017, with every sporadic moment of magic giving Dynamo Kiev fans reason to eulogise about Ukraine’s next superstar, but his reputation has simply exploded this year.
It’s one thing to explain the quality of a player through written language, but sometimes the statistics tell their own story. Tysgankov closes in on the end of 2018 with an eye watering return to boast, compromising of 21 goals and 15 assists from 46 appearances in all-competitions. That return ranks him as the second most prolific wonderkid on IBWM’s esteemed list, with Kylian Mbappe the only player to go beyond his return.
Something would be ominously awry if that record did not arrive simultaneously with reported interest from across Europe from a multitude of mega clubs. Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur, and both Manchester giants have been cited as reported parties, so it will be interesting to see if there is any concrete activity to report in the looming January window.
Regardless of whether Tsygankov’s big move arrives in January or at a later date, there is a certain air of inevitability regarding his future: a step up in class is the next logical and progressive move for him to make.
Sceptics will point to the standard of football he has been playing in Ukraine to explain his clinical record in front of goal, but his return cannot be snubbed on that basis alone.
Clearly, a level of talent is there to be nurtured, so it’s vitally important that, when he eventually decides to move on from the Ukrainian capital, he makes his decision with the best interests of his career in mind, rather than falling into the trap of submitting to financial temptations.
In the meantime, both a domestic title and a Europa League challenge await.