Haaland, Nunez, Jesus: Golden Boot contenders for 2022-23 after Son and Salah share Premier League award

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·6-min read
Haaland, Nunez, Jesus: Golden Boot contenders for 2022-23 after Son and Salah share Premier League award
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The new Premier League campaign is set to commence, which means the start of a fresh Golden Boot race as the country’s best forwards compete for top scorer honours.

Last season saw the prestigious prize shared for the fifth time, with Mohamed Salah and Heung-min Son finishing level on 23 strikes apiece.

Both holders should be in the mix once again this term, though competition is fiercer than ever, especially after two major new striker signings to boost title contenders in the form of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez.

Here, Malik Ouzia assesses the leading Golden Boot contenders in the Premier League for 2022/23...

Erling Haaland

Club: Manchester City

Age: 22

League goals 2021-22: 22 (Bundesliga)

 (Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)
(Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)

There is only one place to start and that is with the most exciting new arrival in the Premier League since, perhaps, Sergio Aguero.

That is a bold shout, but it is difficult to remember the last time an English club won the race for the most sought-after talent on the planet at this stage of their career. That is exactly what Haaland was prior to his £51million move from Borussia Dortmund to the Etihad, the Norwegian having scored 85 goals in just 88 appearances for the Germans.

Unsurprisingly the early favourite for the Golden Boot, Haaland is expected to add “needed” firepower to a team that scored 99 League goals and racked up 93 points last term. Yikes.

Harry Kane

Club: Tottenham

Age: 29

Premier League goals 2021-22: 17

 (Tottenham Hotspur via Getty Imag)
(Tottenham Hotspur via Getty Imag)

This time last year, Kane was dealing with the heartbreak of England’s Euro 2020 Final defeat and speculation remained rife over his future as he tried and failed to force a move to Manchester City.

The result was a turgid start to the season, with just one League goal by mid-December, but the Three Lions skipper found his groove in the second half of the campaign while redefining the centre-forward’s role with his passing from deep.

This summer, there has been no such disruption, while Richarlison’s arrival should ease the usual concerns over workload. With the World Cup (where he is the Golden Boot holder) only months away, back Kane to fire early.

Raheem Sterling

Club: Chelsea

Age: 27

Premier League goals 2021-22: 13

Something of a wildcard in this list, it is easy to forget that despite playing a less prominent role than he would have liked for Manchester City last term, Sterling still managed to score 17 times in all competitions.

After his £47.5m move, Sterling will likely have to surpass the best league tally of his career to trouble the top of the scoring charts, which came when he scored 20 times in only 33 games for City in 2019/20.

However, the England international could well find a new lease of life as one of the main men under Thomas Tuchel and much will depend on his deployment within a side that is without a standout centre-forward following Romelu Lukaku’s return to Inter Milan.

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Mohamed Salah

Club: Liverpool

Age: 30

Premier League goals 2021-22: 23

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Salah began last season on fire, with 15 goals in his first 17 League games as well as seven in six in the Champions League group stage and looked set to smash all sorts of records.

His form dipped after the Africa Cup of Nations in the New Year, but the Egyptian still finished with a share of the Golden Boot and his best scoring return since netting a ridiculous 32 times in the League in his first season at Anfield.

With Sadio Mane having departed, there is additional responsibility on Salah’s shoulders, though he should come in refreshed after a much-needed summer break and, unlike many of his rivals, will not have a World Cup to contend with.

Darwin Nunez

Club: Liverpool

Age: 23

League goals 2021-22: 26 (Liga Portugal)

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

After missing out on the title by a point, Liverpool’s answer to City’s Haaland pursuit involved the arrival of their own bustling, bully-boy centre-forward. The Uruguayan has swapped Benfica for Anfield in a club-record £85m deal as Jurgen Klopp looks to kick on again after winning both domestic cups and falling agonisingly short in the League and Champions League last term.

Darwin scored 26 times in 28 League appearances last season and also impressed in the Portuguese side’s run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, scoring six times, including in both legs of the last-eight tie against Klopp’s men.

With Diogo Jota injured and Mane gone, the Reds need the new man to hit the ground running. His goal against City in the Community Shield certainly helps.

Gabriel Jesus

Club: Arsenal

Age: 25

Premier League goals 2021-22: 8

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Another who swapped an in-and-out role at the Etihad for the chance to become a talismanic figure elsewhere is Jesus, who is Arsenal’s new No9 after a £45m switch.

The Brazilian finished last season with more assists than goals, having been largely deployed out wide by Pep Guardiola, but is expected to thrive as a centre-forward under Mikel Arteta.

Jesus has looked sharp in pre-season and will hope to prove the difference in an Arsenal side whose lack of a prolific striker was ultimately the difference between securing Champions League and Europa League football last term.

Heung-min Son

Club: Tottenham

Age: 30

Premier League goals 2021-22: 23

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Son enjoyed the best goal return of his career last term, outscoring strike partner Kane to share the Golden Boot with Salah.

The arrivals of Richarlison and Ivan Perisic have bolstered attacking options but the Korean and Kane remain Antonio Conte’s leading men and their form and fitness will likely define Spurs’ campaign, just as it did last season as they pipped north London rivals Arsenal to fourth spot.

Having reached double figures in all but his first season in England, Son starts the new campaign on 93 Premier League goals and will surely be the next inductee into the Hundred Club — and soon rather than later.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Club: Manchester United

Age: 37

Premier League goals 2021-22: 18

 (Manchester United via Getty Images)
(Manchester United via Getty Images)

Ronaldo’s goalscoring return to Old Trafford against Newcastle last September would prove the high point of a dismal season for United, but for all the questions over his role, there is little doubt that without the Portugal forward’s goals, things would have been much worse.

As well as 18 in the League, Ronaldo scored six times in five games to single-handedly drag United out of the Champions League group stages.

Where he fits in under Erik ten Hag this season, however, remains to be seen, since the 37-year-old has spent much of the summer attempting to engineer a move. Should he end up gracing the field, goals are guaranteed.

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