Erling Haaland may have smashed one goalscoring record, and we’ve got him at 6/1 to break another, as he closes in on Dixie Dean’s all-competitions record of 63.
bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “There were plenty of people who fancied Haaland to hit the ground running in England. We took hundreds of bets on him to break the Premier League record of 34 (biggest price 20/1) before a ball was kicked and he did it in 33 games compared to the 42 it took previous holders Andy Cole and Alan Shearer. We also took more than 10,000 bets in pre-season on him finishing as the Premier League top goalscorer.
“He now turns his attention to the mammoth tally of Everton's Dixie Dean, a number that I thought would never be surpassed, yet with the possibility of six further matches, it’s one where we rate him as a 6/1 shot to get at least 12 or more.
“And we’re nervous about that price.”
Looking back, the arguments around how Haaland would get on at Manchester City seem incredibly foolish.
How would he adapt to a possession-based team?
Could he fit into a typically-strikerless Pep Guardiola side?
Could he handle the rigours of the Premier League?
Could he stay injury-free?
The Community Shield was one for the doubters. On the periphery of the game, loose touches when he was involved, and a shocking miss to sign off a debut to forget; meanwhile fellow big-money striker Darwin Nunez came off the bench for Liverpool and looked every bit the part, showing his opposite number how it’s done.
The Premier League debut against West Ham was one for the backers. A penalty and a run in behind was enough for a 2-0 win.
The Golden Boot was almost wrapped up by October after his third Premier League hat-trick of the season, coming against Manchester United and taking his tally to a mere 14 goals in eight games. He’d go on to score his fourth hat-trick against Wolves in January to go alongside his five braces.
There are no more doubts about Haaland. He’s the footballing equivalent of the Six Million Dollar Man and the T-1000 rolled into one destructive, devastating goalscoring machine.
It’s not quite right to say he can’t be stopped; 10 teams have succeeded in the Premier League across 32 attempts, but there is a growing sense of inevitability as we reach the climax of the season. He’s scored in 10 of his last 12 games; only Sheffield United of all clubs kept him at bay, and even then he was withdrawn after 67 minutes, before Leeds did the same at the weekend.
He’s been just as prolific in Europe as we’ve become accustomed to. Despite being a couple of months shy of his 23rd birthday, his Champions League record by season reads 10, 10, 3, 12*, and the three came in a season in which he only started two games.
In the history of the Champions League and European Cup, only 21 players have scored more goals than Haaland. The players he’s already surpassed are a who’s who of star attackers to have graced the game; Samuel Eto’o Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez, Ronaldo, Marco van Basten, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho.
With a potential three games still to play – albeit two against Real Madrid – it’s not impossible he scores five more this season to reach Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 17 in a season.
Haaland may have dismissed any talk of breaking Dean’s record, but it’s becoming harder and harder for the rest of us to ignore.