After Haaland signed for Man Metropolis, who’re one of the best younger No. 9 strikers the large golf equipment ought to signal?


Tuesday’s announcement that Borussia Dortmund‘s Erling Haaland has agreed a €60 million move to Manchester City this summer time set pulses racing the world over. However it’s no coincidence that the switch of a No. 9 striker attracted such wild hypothesis throughout each mainstream and social media. A membership’s centre-forward usually makes the distinction in a recreation, definitely relating to ending an attacking part, but additionally in giving the defence a breather by successful and defending free kicks (amongst different issues).

The No. 9 place has lengthy since moved on from being only a shirt quantity and is now a common idea into which a broad vary of gamers are thrown. The essential definition is that of a “central attacker with a bodily presence,” who carries some experience relating to scoring, defending and shedding the ball, whereas additionally having some form of aerial power. Whereas a contemporary pattern has seen high-profile managers like Pep Guardiola favour a “false No. 9” — a movement-based, artistic participant like Lionel Messi, who can open house for the broad attackers in central areas and act as a focus to knit collectively attacking strikes — slightly than a “goal man” for teammates to goal for, it does appear that almost all high coaches would slightly have a “true No. 9” than play with out one.

The issue is that the array of expertise wanted for this place aren’t often totally developed till nicely right into a participant’s 20s. At 21, Haaland is shaping as much as be the exception — although some may argue he nonetheless must work on his hold-up recreation — however when he is scoring virtually a purpose per recreation on common (85 objectives in 88 video games at Dortmund), it is a trade-off you possibly can settle for.

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Real Madrid‘s Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich‘s Robert Lewandowski have proved again and again that an skilled, high quality centre-forward presents a assure of objectives, and that edge could be exhausting to domesticate from gamers of a distinct profile.

There is a motive Metropolis reportedly spent most of final summer time engaged on bringing in Tottenham’s Harry Kane — whose means to choose the correct areas to flow into the ball from deep positions has virtually seen him invent his personal “9-and-a-quarter” class. (As an example the distinction in type, Kane touches the ball 25 occasions per recreation on common, whereas Haaland often reaches 15-16.) It is also why Juventus made the transfer to signal Fiorentina‘s Dusan Vlahovic for €70m forward of their rivals in January.

So, with Haaland off to the Premier League, who’re the following No. 9s prone to be focused by the rivals making an attempt to maintain up with free-spending — and shortly, they hope, free-scoring — Manchester Metropolis?


Although right-footed and preferring to function from a large beginning place on the left, the Uruguay worldwide does show a couple of No. 9 similarities with Haaland. Each thrive on penetrative operating behind the opposing defence, simply as each are extraordinarily exhausting to take care of in bodily challenges or when at high pace.

Nunez, who arrived at Benfica in a surprisingly understated €24m switch from Almeria in the summertime of 2020, has gone by an unimaginable interval of growth, particularly because the flip of the 12 months. With 26 objectives in 28 video games within the Portuguese league this season, he presents a plethora of choices: He can chase an extended ball excessive to showcase his pace towards defenders (he scored such a purpose within the derby towards Sporting CP), could make intelligent runs to get on the top of crosses, hit exact long-range photographs, and take up good positions on each defensive and attacking set items.

Nunez is undoubtedly on the peak of his recreation, and the highly effective 22-year-old definitely seems to be like he might deal with a step as much as one of many high European leagues, with hyperlinks to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.


Lautaro was initially a “second striker” or “assist striker,” who has progressively made the transfer to a extra central place. His ending expertise, coupled with a capability to guard the ball and create possibilities within the last third, have contributed to his coaches wanting him to play nearer to the purpose.

Considerably related in type to Argentina compatriots Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, the 24-year-old options an instinctive, “road footballer” enjoying type, with a fast, useful method and a low centre of gravity. At 5-foot-9, he is not within the conventional construct of a No. 9 striker, but he wins a decent 38% of his aerial challenges.

Although sometimes wasteful in entrance of purpose and with an inclination to attain in streaks, Lautaro is getting more and more prolific (19 Serie A objectives this season) and he might be out there in the summertime switch window as Inter Milan look to rectify their monetary state of affairs.


Probably the candidate who corresponds finest with the basic No. 9 tag, the ex-Chelsea striker has a balanced general recreation, plus a transparent edge in bodily expertise and aerial means. Abraham has settled nicely into Serie A and appears a extra assured footballer now — he makes higher selections and seems extra centered — than he did a 12 months in the past.

When watching the England worldwide, it is fairly clear he is a participant who has been working exhausting to enhance his weaknesses. His tally of 15 league objectives is 4 greater than Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner (the 2 forwards who stopped him getting sufficient minutes to remain at Stamford Bridge), and although Roma would certainly need to preserve him, his performances have sparked curiosity amongst a number of Champions League golf equipment.


Regardless of spending a whole lot of time within the therapy room throughout his first two years in Italy, Osimhen has 27 objectives and 9 assists from his 60 video games on the membership so far. His mixture of tempo, directness and ending expertise make him a continuing risk and provides him an incisiveness that is valued in a real No. 9. The following problem for the 23-year-old is to sharpen up his hold-up recreation and to seem much less indifferent from his teammates throughout phases of build-up play.

The Nigeria worldwide is at his finest when the ball is performed in behind to permit him to run by on purpose, however when there’s little house behind the defence (until he arrives on the finish of a cross) he tends to battle to impose himself on a recreation. Nevertheless, with Napoli paying €70m to signal him from Lille in July 2020, and his contract having three years left, he could not come low cost for any suitors.


A tremendously gifted centre-forward who, after years of making an attempt at golf equipment corresponding to Sampdoria, Roma and RB Leipzig, is lastly displaying his full potential. Second behind Lewandowski within the Bundesliga goal-scoring desk, Schick — who scored the gorgeous long-range effort for Czech Republic vs. Scotland that was voted Aim of the Event of final summer time’s Euro 2020 — has 24 objectives in 26 video games (his non-penalty expected goals of 0.70 speaks volumes about effectivity; whereas Haaland’s is 0.67.)

Whereas accidents have haunted the left-footed striker over the previous few years, there has at all times been consent on the scouting scene that if Schick begins scoring constantly, he could be one of many high centre-forwards on the earth. It is evident that the timing of his runs and his ending (usually one-touch, typically spectacular half-volleys and volleys) have reached new ranges this season. Whereas good on the conventional No. 9 expertise — hold-up play, layoffs and flicks — for a person of 6-foot-3 top, he is additionally surprisingly efficient at making runs behind the defensive position, regardless of not having mobility as his prime power.



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