Every young striker emerging in Ukraine faces the almost impossible task of emerging from the shadow of one Andriy Shevchenko.
The early signs, however, are that Artem Dovbyk is the real deal. The 20-year-old Dnipro striker has a long way to go before he can even think about matching the exploits of the AC Milan legend but there is no doubting the striker’s talent.
The 6ft 1ins frontman emerged on the scene last season as Dnipro, Europa League finalists in 2016, were relegated from the Ukrainian top flight for the first time after a debt-incurred points deduction.
It is in the nation’s second division, however, where the hype around Dovbyk has exploded. The youngster has 12 goals in 12 games for one of Ukraine’s biggest sides, guiding Dnipro to the top of the table.
Though it appears that Dnipro will not be able to call on the 2016/17 Ukrainian Young Player of the Year for much longer. Dovbyk is out of contract in December and has made clear that he will not sign a new deal.
The New Shevchenko?
The report claims that Celtic and Bundesliga side Augsburg have offered Dovbyk a contract. The Scottish champions have made a habit of signing under-the-radar young talent from some of Europe’s ‘lesser leagues’, Virgil Van Dijk, Victor Wanyama and Jozo Simunovic to name but a few, and Dovbyk could follow in their footsteps.
The most exciting Ukrainian striker since Shevchenko, averaging a goal-a-game and available on a free; this could be one of Celtic’s most inspired signings in years.