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Will Erling Haaland win the Premier League’s Golden Boot?

| 13.06.2022

Will Erling Haaland win the Golden Boot?

Manchester City have completed the signing of sought-after striker Erling Haaland from Borrusia Dortmund on a five-year contract.

The Norwegian bagged 22 goals in the Bundesliga last season at a rate of more than one every 90 minutes, while City managed to win the Premier League title without a recognised scorer. Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne led the way for Pep Guardiola’s men with 15 goals.

Haaland will turn 22 on the eve of the 2022-23 season and surely has his best years ahead of him, although there is no guarantee that he will hit the ground running.

To predict how the striker might fare in his debut campaign, we’ve used data from Transfermarkt to assess the 100 most expensive forward imports in Premier League history.

Which forwards performed best in their first season?

Haaland will be hoping to join an elite group of forwards who plied their trade overseas before tearing it up on British shores.

Statistically, Mohamed Salah provided the best immediate return. The Egyptian netted a staggering 32 goals and supplied 11 assists for Liverpool in 2017-18, following his summer move from Roma.

Salah’s numbers were all the more impressive given his struggles at Chelsea only a few years before.

Top Premier League clubs have successfully raided Spanish giants Atlético Madrid for their star striker over the years.

First it was Fernando Torres, who moved to Liverpool in 2007-08 and scored 24 goals in his debut season. Only Cristiano Ronaldo finished with a higher tally that year (31).

In 2011-12, Manchester City snapped up Sergio Agüero, who went on to find the net on 23 occasions. The Argentinian’s haul included the goal that secured the title on the final day, scored in the dying seconds against QPR.

Finally it was Diego Costa, scorer of 20 goals for Chelsea in 2014-15 following a summer switch from Spain. The Blues managed to regain the title that season under José Mourinho.

Who struggled the most?

For every success story there is at least one transfer that didn’t work out as intended.

In the case of Liverpool, instead of Salah and Torres read Mario Balotelli and Lazar Markovic.

Balotelli arrived aged 24 from AC Milan in 2014-15, having shown signs of fulfilling his potential in Italy with 14 goals and 7 assists in the previous season and a winning goal against England at the 2014 World Cup. However, the Italian had a disastrous campaign with Liverpool, netting just once in the league.

Markovic arrived at Anfield in the same summer and yielded similar results, with just two goals and one assist.

Both players were loaned out in the following season.

Some players struggle initially in the Premier League before going on to greater heights in subsequent years.

Tottenham’s Heung-min Son is a good example of this. The South Korean only scored four times in his debut campaign but has since become a deadly marksman, winning the Golden Boot in 2021-22 alongside Salah.

Jadon Sancho, who endured a disappointing season at Old Trafford, will be hoping to follow in Son’s footsteps.

How easy is it to adapt to the Premier League?

New forward signings rarely match previous returns in their first season in England, but the drop-off is greater from some leagues than others.

While imported strikers from La Liga contribute a similar number of goals in the Premier League, those arriving from the Eredivisie experience a sharp reduction.

Memphis Depay, Vincent Janssen and Afonso Alves all scored heavily in the Dutch top flight before struggling at Manchester United, Tottenham and Middlesbrough respectively.

Man City’s Haaland arrives from the German Bundesliga, where strikers’ returns have dropped off by 26% on average in their first season in the Premier League.

Do young players adapt better?

City fans can draw optimism from the fact that attackers of Haaland’s age tend to make the fastest starts when moving to England. Players aged 22 to 23 on arrival to the Premier League fare best, both in terms of overall output and performance relative to their previous club.

Haaland turns 22 in July. Some of the best performing forwards to arrive from abroad – such as Agüero (23), Torres (23), and Eden Hazard (21) – were of similar age when they moved to England.

Those in their mid- to late-20s find it harder to adapt, so if the 28-year-old Paolo Dybala ends up moving to Arsenal or Chelsea as rumoured then he may not set the league alight straight away.

Which club has the best recruitment record?

Another point in Haaland’s favour is that Manchester City have the best record in the Premier League at making impactful signings. Of all the clubs to have made at least five of the 100 most expensive deals for an attacker, they’re alone in seeing their new players create goals at a higher rate on average than in the previous season.

Tottenham will have to be careful when it’s finally time to replace Harry Kane or Son, as their new attackers have struggled to make an immediate impact.

View the latest Premier League odds

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Author

Warren Barner