Another enthralling race for the Premier League Golden Boot award is lying ahead, with the 2022/23 season of England’s top-flight just around the corner.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min shared the award last season after netting 23 goals each at an average of 0.66 per game.
Son’s significance to Antonio Conte’s tactics at Spurs has never been questioned, but he had Harry Kane’s atypically slow first half of the season to thank for winning the flattering prize for the first time.
With the two co-existing in a perfect symbiosis, it will be up to Salah to fend off the competition from his arch-rival Kane to retain possession of the Golden Boot next season.
But while the two are known Premier League Golden Boot winners, several exciting prospects will be keen to have a say as we take a look at our list of six potential candidates to claim the award in 2022/23.
Top Three Candidates
#1 Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur
Kane endured an underwhelming 2021/22 season by his standards, finishing the previous Premier League campaign with 17 goals from 37 outings.
It was his joint-worst season for Tottenham since his breakthrough top-flight season in north London back in 2014/15 and there’s no doubt he will be aiming to remind the Premier League of his household stature next term.
The 29-year-old striker has already proved no task is too tall if it only involves scoring goals, as evidenced by the three Golden Boot awards in his cabinet.
Kane is only four goals short of matching Andy Cole’s tally of 187 Premier League goals and breaking into the top three on the all-time list of the best goalscorers in England’s top division.
Winning next season’s Golden Boot would draw the England captain level with Arsenal cult hero Thierry Henry, the only player in the Premier League history to lift the award on four occasions.
#2 Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Like his Tottenham counterpart, Liverpool standout forward Salah will be chasing several records in the upcoming Premier League season.
The 30-year-old forward forms a distinguished group of three players to have won the Premier League Golden Boot three times, alongside Alan Shearer and Kane.
But unlike the two English heroes, it took the Egyptian superstar only five seasons to hit that milestone, highlighting his unique ability to slay defences with exceptional finishing.
Along with his departed partner Sadio Mane, Salah has transformed Liverpool into one of Europe’s most frightening attacking units.
With the Senegalese star no longer in the picture, the ex-Chelsea flop will be eager to show he can do it by himself next term, which could spell trouble for virtually every Premier League backline.
#3 Erling Haaland – Manchester City
A new boy is in town. After 12 months of wild speculations surrounding his future, Erling Haaland left Borussia Dortmund to join Manchester City this summer for £51.2m.
Widely regarded as one of the most lethal finishers on the planet, the 22-year-old used to terrorise Bundesliga defences at will during his stunning two-and-a-half-year stint at Dortmund.
Everything he needs is a ball in his stride and a target in front of him, and he will never cease to amaze, as he already showed only 12 minutes into his Man City debut.
And for those questioning the 22-year-old’s ability to impress on the big stage, remember he only needed 19 Champions League matches to bag 23 goals.
You don’t have to look beyond Sergio Aguero’s numbers during his formidable partnership with Kevin De Bruyne to understand what kind of creative support should Haaland have at Man City.
#1 Darwin Nunez – Liverpool
There is a substantial gulf in quality between the Premier League and the Portuguese Primeira Liga, meaning adaptation could take its toll in the case of Darwin Nunez.
However, Liverpool, who have spent £85m to secure his services from Benfica, cannot afford the luxury of waiting for the 23-year-old to find his feet for too long, especially with Mane gone for Bayern Munich.
A poker of second-half goals in a scintillating 5-0 romping of RB Leipzig in a pre-season fixture gave Jurgen Klopp an insight into the Uruguayan’s scoring prowess.
Partnered up with some of the best in the business, including Salah and Luis Diaz, Nunez could be an ideal out-and-out striker the Reds lacked since Luis Suarez’s departure for Barcelona in 2014.
He was awarded the Bola de Prata as top scorer of the Primeira Liga after tallying 26 goals in 28 league appearances for Benfica, another indicator of how talismanic he is in front of goal.
#2 Gabriel Jesus – Arsenal
Based on his outstanding pre-season with Arsenal, Gabriel Jesus could be an exciting left-field shout for the Golden Boot if he carries his scoring spree into the new Premier League season.
After years of playing second fiddle to the likes of Aguero & Co, the versatile Brazilian forward left Man City to join Mikel Arteta’s side in a £45m deal this summer.
Despite being handed no more than 60 minutes of play in any of his four pre-season appearances for the Gunners, the 25-year-old has notched up four goals.
For years, Jesus’ prolificacy in front of goal had been a subject of discussion at the Etihad Stadium, but he now has a perfect opportunity to silence his critics.
With Arteta planning to use him as his preferred centre-forward, he has the potential to finally demonstrate his ‘killer instincts’ in the Premier League.
#3 Raheem Sterling – Chelsea
Another fringe Man City star that had to leave Pep Guardiola’s side in search of regular first-time football this summer, Raheem Sterling, will be looking to get his stuttering career back on track at Chelsea.
Despite going from strength to strength whenever called into action for the England national team, Sterling has struggled on a club level over the past couple of years.
The 27-year-old went from one of the deadliest wingers in the Premier League to a bit-part player in Guardiola’s set-up, and a move to Stamford Bridge could serve to unlock his potential.
Let’s not forget that in 2019/20, he nearly grabbed the Golden Boot, only to fall three goals short of the eventual winner Jamie Vardy, who claimed the award with 23 goals.
With Romelu Lukaku back to Inter Milan on a season-long loan and Timo Werner’s finishing not getting any better, Sterling could soak up the limelight as Chelsea’s main goal-getter next term.