THE DUEL: The strikers that will define the next Premier League season
There was a time that big centre forwards roamed the Premier League and bossed around defenses at will. The likes of Alan Shearer, Robbie Fowler or Teddy Sheringham, while extremely talented footballers, also carried a physical dimension to the game. With the advent of the 2010s tiki taka, it seemed like there was no room for such a striker anymore... but you know how fashions are, everything comes back. Such seems to be case in the English top tier, with it's two most competitive sides closing the signing of two top pure strikers: Erling Haaland to Manchester City and Darwin Nuñez to Liverpool FC.
In the case of Haaland, everything had been announced weeks ago. Despite the alarms going off at some point, there was never many doubts that the big Norwegian would become a part of Pep Guardiola's side. With only few details to be decided on, and City comfortable with triggering the Borussia Dortmund player's release clause, it was always a matter of when and not if.
Signed for 60 million euros and with wages in the region of£385,000 a week for a five year deal, Haaland will be an important addition to Manchester City. The Citizens could've done with a pure striker at times during last season, for example against both Madrid sides in the Champions League.
Liverpool, on the other hand, did have such an option in Divock Origi, but it was more of a backup plan and less of a statement. Well, now they've gone and made a statement. The signing of Uruguayan Darwin Nuñez from Benfica on a 100 million euros fee signifies a shift in the way they mean to attack. With Sadio Mane set to leave for Bayern Munich and Bobby Firmino dropping down the pecking order, it seems gone are the days of the fluid front three, and in comes a big man to terrorize the opposition's box.
Despite the massive transfer fee, it seems Nuñez won't be on stellar wages like his City counterpart. No figures are yet set in stone, but Portuguese journalist, Pedro Sepulveda, reports the former Peñarol man will be on £98,000-per-week, almost three times less than Haaland. It seems only logical for a player that is much less of a household name, although his six year deal could very well be renewed to a much higher sum if the Uruguayan shows he can perform on the same level as the Norwegian in the Premier League.
For now, it's set to be the battle that defines the coming Premier League season: Liverpool vs Manchester City, Erling Haaland vs Darwin Nuñez. The Norwegian has scored 85 goals and given 23 assists in 88 games in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund, while the Uruguayan has played 84 matches for Benfica, scoring 47 goals and providing 16 assists.
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