Erling Haaland’s remarkable debut season at Manchester City has rewritten the Premier League’s history books. The 22-year-old Norwegian has become the highest scorer across all competitions in a single campaign since the league’s inception, surpassing the 44 goals scored by Ruud van Nistelrooy at Manchester United and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. His physical power, lightning pace and insatiable appetite for goals have made him a formidable force, and with the team still perfecting the marriage of manager Pep Guardiola’s passing game with Haaland’s sheer power and menace, it is likely that this won’t be the last record he breaks.
In order to appreciate the magnitude of Haaland’s achievement, it is important to look back at some of the most prolific strikers in the Premier League era. Alan Shearer, who still leads the Premier League’s all-time standings with 206 goals in 404 games for Newcastle United, was a powerful centre forward with a voracious appetite for goals. Didier Drogba was another classic centre forward, renowned for his big-game performances, such as his heroics in Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League final win against Bayern Munich. Thierry Henry, who scored 228 goals in 377 games for Arsenal, was a mix of brutal ruthlessness and brilliance when it came to scoring. Sergio Aguero’s famous goal in the dying moments of the 2011/12 season to win Manchester City their first title for 44 years will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Premier League goals of all time. Robbie Fowler, who scored 183 goals in 369 appearances for Liverpool, was a naturally gifted finisher. Harry Kane has rightly taken his place among this elite group of strikers as record scorer for Spurs and England, while Mohamed Salah has surpassed Fowler’s record of 128 goals for Liverpool. Wayne Rooney scored 253 goals in 559 games for Manchester United, winning five Premier Leagues, the Champions League, the FA Cup and three League Cups. Ruud van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals in 2019 games for United, while Andrew Cole scored 121 goals in 275 games for United and rounded off his silverware collection by scoring the winning goal for Blackburn Rovers in the 2002 League Cup final against Tottenham. Cristiano Ronaldo will always be remembered as a legend at Old Trafford for his remarkable achievements during his time at Manchester United.
It is a testament to Haaland’s first season in the Premier League and his potential for further development that if he stays long enough he could put the records of all these great players in the shade – and quickly. Haaland has already made his mark on the Premier League, and it is likely that he will continue to do so in seasons to come.