Victor Boniface has set the Bundesliga alight this campaign with new club Bayer Leverkusen. He has 13 goals and seven assists in just 18 starts across all competitions. At just 22 years old, he still has room to further improve too, and has begun attracting interest from Europe’s elite.
What’s so good about Boniface?
Boniface is a truly modern striker. He is tall at over 6ft2in, powerful enough to hold off defenders in physical battles, and possesses blistering pace to leave them in the dust after he has shrugged them off. His physical capabilities do not come at the expense of technical guile, however. The Nigerian is capable of tight interchanges with teammates, graceful carries and quick turns.
Boniface can still improve his composure in front of goal, having underperformed his xG by 3.3 this season, despite his impressive strike rate. Boniface is attractive to top clubs as he is already a very productive player, but can still get even better.
Victor Boniface next club odds projection – our picks
Newcastle United – 7/1
On the surface, this move would be a head-scratcher. After all, Callum Wilson netted 18 goals in 31 appearances last season, and Isak scored 10 in 22. However, there are potential question marks hovering above both players.
Though still as reliable as ever, Wilson is 31 and only has 18 months to run on his contract. With his age, injury history and the long-term project Newcastle are looking to build, those calling the shots on Tyneside may think it is the right time to move on from the prolific veteran.
Isak’s situation is even more interesting. The 24-year-old Swede is averaging 0.95 goals per 90 in the Premier League this season, and is reportedly catching the eye of Europe’s elite. Real Madrid reportedly sent scouts to watch Isak play against PSG, and could easily afford to produce the money necessary to haul him away.
Boniface’s impressive physical profile would suit Eddie Howe’s intense style of play at St James’ Park, and would make an excellent replacement or stylistic foil for either Wilson or Isak.
Tottenham Hotspur – 9/1
Spurs have shown signs of becoming a serious force under the tutelage of Ange Postecoglou this season. The issue Spurs have struggled with is a lack of quality depth. Since the shallowness of their squad was exposed against Chelsea, they have failed to win their subsequent three.
The North London side will also have to reckon with replacing Son Heung-Min at some point. The 31-year-old has nine goals this season and has started all 14 games, spending most of that time as a makeshift striker, with Richarlison continuing to splutter.
Boniface could play alongside Son, as well as allow Postecoglou to rest his talisman. With £82m of Harry Kane money in their pocket, and European football likely returning to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next season, this is one to watch.
Manchester United – 10/1
Rasmus Hojlund has endured a Jekyll and Hyde start to life in England. In Europe, the powerful Dane is the Champions League’s top scorer. But he is yet to hit the back of a Premier League net.
Hojlund has also had injury issues. As such, Manchester United are reportedly looking into signing another striker to take the burden off Hojlund.
Erik ten Hag will find few strikers in better form than Boniface. He and a healthy Hojlund could form a strike partnership for a decade if circumstances allow.
Arsenal – 10/1
The Gunners have been linked to myriad strikers in recent months. Both Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus have only scored in fits and starts this season, and to stay ahead of Manchester City, Mikel Arteta could seek to bolster his frontline.
Though Arsenal have been linked to more ready-made strikers in their prime such as Osimhen and Toney, reports suggest that Boniface is being lined up as an alternative – specifically, a younger player who Arteta could mould in his image.
How could AFCON help a big move?
Nigeria boast a top-heavy squad going into AFCON, with Osimhen, Iheanacho, Awoniyi and Moffi competing for just two spots with Boniface. However, the Leverkusen man has played at least 45 minutes in their last five games and seems to be high in head coach Jose Pereiro’s estimations.
A strong performance at AFCON, as expected of the whole team in our recent Nigeria AFCON 2023 preview, would solidify Boniface’s reputation as a top striker in the eyes of Europe’s elite. International tournaments are famous for moments where players announce themselves as a force to the world, and Boniface will hope to do the same.