Erling Braut Haaland has lit up the Premier League by scoring 15 goals in his first 9 games, shattering the record previously set by the great Micky Quinn.
Signed for only £51 million, the Norwegian looks to be the bargain of the decade so far as he’s slotted into Pep Guardiola’s complicated system perfectly and has seemingly claimed the Golden Boot already. A formidable partnership with Kevin De Bruyne has scared defences all over the country as teams scramble for ways to nufly the devastating duo.
As great as Haaland already is and surely will be for years to come, I think it’s important that the public temper its appraisal of the young striker. Is he world-class? Most certainly. Is he the best striker in the Premier League? No, he isn’t.
Looking at Haaland objectively, I can only conclude that he can’t be the best striker in the English top-flight as long as Harry Kane is playing there. The England captain is a far more complete player and, unlike Haaland, is an essential component of his team.
It’s easy to forget that Manchester City managed to win the previous two Premier Leagues without him in the team. The Sky Blues only just pipped Liverpool in 2021/22, but they cruised to victory the season before, despite not playing with a recognised striker.
The arrival of Haaland, then, is nothing more than a feather in an already-decorated cap and he seems to be a purchase of ultimate luxury.
Kane, on the other hand, collected both the Premier League Golden Boot and the Playmaker of the Season award in 2020/21, despite Tottenham’s poor league form that season under Jose Mourinho. Kane then captained England to the Euro 2020 final, before bagging 17 goals in the league the following season.
One could argue that Kane is considerably older than Haaland and has subsequently had time to improve his game. Whilst that’s true, it doesn’t change the fact that the Tottenham man is the best striker in the league and among the most complete footballers on planet Earth.
Haaland will surely do great things this season, but he’ll have to sit and watch as Kane lifts the World Cup trophy in December. Unable to attend the tournament himself, perhaps Haaland can dedicate his month-long break to studying Kane’s game, taking plenty of notes along the way.
I scoff at anyone who even begins to suggest that the league’s best striker plays in Manchester, as anyone who knows anything about football knows that isn’t the case. When Haaland produces greatness for the best part of a decade, perhaps then the comparisons to England’s talisman will hold water.
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