Erling Haaland: The Premier League's next great hope
The Premier League has long been touted as the most competitive and best league in European football, for a long time this was true. Around the mid-late 2000's the final stages of the Champions League consistently featured two or three of the four English qualifiers. However, over the past decade the European dominance has waivered, there have been English winners and finalists, we even had an all English final in 2019 but the years of domination were gone. Now when we look at the English Champions League qualifiers each season we look at the previous seasons champions as potential Champions League winners, barely recognizing the others unless you're part of the British media. But the brightest stars from around the world continue to be linked with moves to the Premier League and one man, who continues to make European football his bitch, may be the first step towards Premier League teams returning to European domination. Erling Haaland.
At just 20 years old, Haaland is setting European football alight alongside his domination of the Bundesliga. Since joining Borussia Dortmund in 2019, he has scored 47 goals in 47 games, this season alone he has 19 goals in 19 league games aswell as 10 goals in 6 Champions League games, to lead all players in the competition. In fact since his debut in 2019, nobody has scored more Champions League goals than Haaland.
Haaland has been linked to all the top clubs in world football including those in England, where Manchester City currently reign supreme but 2019 Champions League winners, Liverpool, look set to return to form with a full bill of health in 2021/22. Manchester United & Chelsea are well placed to return to competing for the top prizes soon with their young squads and all four are in need of an elite striker. With all likely to have their hats in the ring should Haaland become available, his choice could prove crucial to the future's of the four biggest clubs in England and the future of English success in Europe.
The biggest question mark surrounding European players when they come into the Premier League is whether they can cope with the physicality of the league, many have dominated in Spain, Germany and Italy in the past but crapped-out once they set foot in the Premier League. Standing 6 foot 4 inches, Haaland is more than powerful enough to match the physical nature of English football and with his speed and strength he may just take it to another level. His movement off the ball is matched only by his positioning to give himself the best opportunity to score, exhibiting this when showing his adept ability to score all types of goals, from cute, 1 vs 1's to 30 yard screamers.
Manchester City have played much of this season without a recognized no.9, with an ageing Aguero struggling with injury and Gabriel Jesus failing to take his opportunities. Liverpool have succeeded over the past few seasons with Roberto Firmino as first choice through the middle but this season has shown it may be time for change. As for United, they have Rashford, Martial and Greenwood all vying for the center forward position with each having shown their best selves from wide positions. Chelsea spent big to acquire Timo Werner from the Bundesliga last summer but he has shown he may be better suited to playing off of a natural no.9.
Haaland's Dortmund contract expires in 2024 but there is a reported release clause of 75 million euro which will become active in 2022. This has yet to be confirmed but if the Premier League wants to put themselves back on top they need to convince the world's best players that England is where they should be playing their football. Haaland fits the mold and while he may cost a pretty penny, he has the ability to instantly elevate any team to top level contention.