Can Haaland become the club’s greatest ever goalscorer?

By Guest writer, Tue 20 September 2022 14:34

Can Haaland become the club’s greatest ever goalscorer? 

The English top flight is the best league in the world and is often touted as the ultimate testing ground for the world’s elite, yet Norwegian superstar Erling Haaland has taken to life in England like a duck to water. The City striker is already breaking records having moved his goal tally to 10 for the season from just six matches including two back-to-back hat-tricks against Palace and Forest. But that’s not all, he has made the fastest start of any striker in Premier League history. The 22-year-old now holds the record for goals scored in the month of August and is now the fastest player to reach two hat-tricks; until Haaland, nobody had scored two in fewer than 21 games, he did it in just five. He has even surpassed the lightning-quick start of the legendary Argentine Sergio Aguero. After joining in 2011, Aguero hauled an impressive eight goals from his opening five Premier League matches, a record he held alongside Micky Quinn of Newcastle until the ex-Dortmund forward stepped into the fold. Aguero’s storybook City career started as a 23-year-old and he would go on to become the club’s all-time top goalscorer and notch a club record 187 Premier League goals for the Blues, the fourth-most in history; Haaland has a one-year headstart and has already superseded Aguero’s fabled arrival at the Etihad, a truly frightening prospect. Many expected the £51million man to reach unprecedented heights after establishing himself as one of world football’s most fearsome strikers at Dortmund but on the basis of his performances in August alone, there is truly no limit to what he can achieve in a City shirt.

City are once again on a title charge in the Premier League and are odds on favourites to lift the trophy once again according to the latest betting offers. Haaland has looked immense from the off. If he’s not scoring, he’s making the right movements and fashioning chances galore in Pep Guardiola’s well-drilled side. They have scored 20 goals already, 19 of them coming in the first five games, the highest tally in the club’s Premier League history. The last side to exceed 19 goals after their first five matches were rivals United over a decade ago in 2011/12 with 21. City’s prolific new striker is clearly a large part of the positive start as he continues to score at a remarkable rate of a goal every 54 minutes since arriving at the Etihad. He is also the first player to score back-to-back hat-tricks in the Premier League since Harry Kane back in December 2017 and joins an incredibly exclusive club becoming just the sixth player in Premier League history to achieve the remarkable feat. There’s no doubt that Haaland is loving life in the English top flight and is relishing his new role with the Blues.

Speaking to BT Sport after the dominant win over Forest, Haaland said: "It's amazing. Nothing more to say. I try to listen as much as I can to Pep and to play with the boys because they're amazing footballers and without them, I would not be able to score goals. So it's about finding chemistry, playing together, and listening to Pep. It's fantastic, that's why I came here. You can see we play so good, we find each other and we will become even better, so it's going to be nice. It's going to be a lot of games so it's important to keep going and to enjoy as much as we can."

It’s hard to think of a player that has settled better into life in the top flight, especially at a club fighting for titles. Aguero’s best-ever season in the Premier League saw him notch 26 goals in 2014/15, a haul that Haaland is almost halfway towards achieving already; he is even on track to break Alan Shearer’s and Andy Cole’s record of 34 goals in a single Premier League season. His astonishing form hasn’t gone unnoticed by his manager as Guardiola lauded Haaland’s performances to date claiming he can write himself into Manchester City folklore. There is still a long way to go to reach the standard set by the Argentine hero, but the potential is clearly there and Guardiola believes he is capable of becoming a club great.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the game Guardiola said: “Sergio is the legend. Nobody can break the position in the hearts of City fans, scoring the most important goal in modern history. Erling has the quality to be there. What Sergio has done is amazing. But Erling has the talent. What he has done in Norway, Austria and Germany he tries to do here. He's talented, we knew it. Hopefully, he can enjoy and score more goals but he wants to win titles. I don’t know if he’ll be happy breaking records if we didn’t win titles. If the records and goals help us win the title then it will be perfect and the better we play, the more chances he’ll have to score goals.”

Aguero’s list of honours at the club rank among the best in history with 260 goals in all competitions, claiming five Premier League titles, six EFL/League Cups, and an FA Cup in 2019 as part of an unprecedented domestic treble; quite the collection for the Norwegian to catch up to. The only silverware to have alluded the striker was the Champions League but with the 22-year-old’s impressive European record the club are within touching distance of claiming their greatest prize to date. He is the fastest and youngest player to reach 20 goals in Europe's elite competition with an overall tally of 25 goals in under four seasons. Even the greatest forward in City’s history has to admit that with Haaland leading from the front they have got their best shot yet.

Injury is looking like the only thing that could derail the Norwegian’s momentum. If he can maintain this standard throughout the season then the Blues are looking good to collect another impressive haul of silverware this campaign.