In Focus: The contenders for the Premier League Golden Boot
A new Premier League season is nearly here and with it comes another fiercely competitive race for the Golden Boot.
With some big-name signings added to an already mouth-watering set of marksmen in England’s top flight, fans look set to be treated to plenty of goals during the 2022-23 campaign.
We put a handful of the top contenders to take the award under the microscope.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
As one of last season’s joint-winners, Mohamed Salah looks primed for another prolific campaign for Liverpool having netted 23 times in the Premier League last term.
That tally possibly could have been higher too given the Egyptian's form tailed off towards the end of the campaign following intense speculation over his future, which he has now put to bed after signing a new contract.
Team-mate Virgil van Dijk recently said: "Towards the end of the season, maybe April onwards, there were a lot of talks with the contract and stuff.
"We are all human beings and I think that affected him a little bit unfortunately. But he still showed a high level of quality.
"Now everything is sorted, he’s playing with a free mind, he’s happy to be here and I think everyone else is happy too."
With focus firmly on another strong season at Anfield, the 30-year-old picking up a fourth Golden Boot would be no surprise to anyone.
Heung-Min Son (Tottenham)
Tottenham forward Heung-Min Son is set to star once again after sharing the accolade with Salah last term.
The South Korean, 30, ended the 2021-22 campaign in red-hot form after scoring six goals in Spurs’ final five league games to help them seal Champions League qualification.
Antonio Conte’s men look primed to step forward again this term after a number of impressive moves in the transfer window.
And while there has been plenty of change elsewhere in the team, Son’s lethal finishing on the left of their attack is an area they will hope to keep exactly the same.
Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
The new kid on the block in this race, goalscoring sensation Erling Haaland has been tipped by most to take the Premier League by storm following his £51million switch to Manchester City.
The Norwegian striker, 22, earned a reputation as one of Europe’s deadliest marksmen after scoring 85 goals in 88 games for previous club Borussia Dortmund.
With his pace, power and ruthlessness seemingly a perfect fit for England’s top flight and a City team creating chances in abundance, all the components are there for a campaign full of goals.
Injuries may be the only thing that stands in his way after various issues limited him to only 24 Bundesliga appearances last term.
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Another gunning for his fourth Golden Boot gong is Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who alongside Son will carry much of the goalscoring burden for Spurs once again.
A slow start to last term following speculation over his future counted him out of last season’s race — but he still went on to manage 17 goals thanks to a late flurry.
Now settled and happy working under Conte in North London, he is sure to be high up the charts once again.
And with a World Cup arriving mid-way through the season, the England captain has plenty of motivation to keep himself in razor-sharp form.
Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)
Gabriel Jesus’ £45m move to Arsenal from Manchester City caused plenty of excitement among fans and an eye-catching pre-season has done little to calm things.
The Brazilian scored a hat-trick against Sevilla at the Emirates last Saturday to make it seven goals during the off-season.
With Champions League qualification firmly the aim in 2022-23, the Gunners will know their new No9 will need to carry that form into the new campaign to have any chance.
Beating the other names in this list remains a difficult task but if Mikel Arteta’s men find their feet quickly, Jesus is not one to count out.
Liverpool's new £64m man Darwin Nunez is sure to fancy his chances at claiming the prize after netting 34 goals for Benfica last term and scoring on his debut as a substitute in the Community Shield last Saturday.
Though it remains to be seen how much the Uruguayan will have to share his game time up top with fellow contender Diogo Jota, who managed 15 Premier League goals himself last season.
Cristiano Ronaldo is another with a chance after 18 goals for Manchester United in his first season back, while Raheem Sterling will be keen to hit the ground running for new club Chelsea.
Elsewhere, the likes of Jamie Vardy, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ivan Toney could prove to be dark horses from one of the lesser-fancied teams to challenge.