The announcement on Tuesday that Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland has agreed a €60m move to Manchester City this summer is buzzing with racing around the world. But it is no coincidence that the number 9 attacker’s move has attracted such wild speculation across social and public media. A club’s central striker often makes the difference in the game, certainly when it comes to ending the attacking phase, but also in giving the defense a break by winning and defending free kicks (among other things).
The ninth place has long since gone from being just a shirt number and is now a general concept that a wide range of players are thrown into. The basic definition is a ‘physical central striker’, who has some experience when it comes to scoring, protecting and laying off the ball, while also possessing some sort of aerial power. Whereas the recent trend has seen high profile coaches like Pep Guardiola prefer the ‘false number 9’ – a creative movement-based player like Lionel Messi, who can open up space for strikers wide in central areas and act as a pivot pointing to link offensive movements together – rather than The ‘target guy’ that his teammates seek, it seems that most top coaches would rather have a ‘real number 9’ than play without a player.
The problem is that the skill set needed for this position is usually not fully developed until the player reaches their twenties. At 21, Haaland is shaping up to be the exception – although some would argue he still needs to work in the game of disruption – but when he averages a goal per game on average (85 goals in 88 games in Dortmund), it’s A trade-off that you can accept.
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Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski have proven time and time again that an experienced and quality defensive player offers a guarantee of goals, and it can be difficult to gain this advantage from different players.
There’s a reason City are said to have spent most of last summer working on Tottenham’s Harry Kane – whose ability to pick the right spaces to spin the ball from deep positions nearly led him to invent his own 9 and a quarter class. . (To illustrate the difference in style, Kane touches the ball 25 times per game on average, while Haaland usually hits 15-16.) This is also the reason why Juventus signed Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic for €70m ahead of his rival in January.
So, with Haaland out to the Premier League, the next 19th-ranked competitors trying to keep up with free spending – and soon, hopefully, free-goals – will likely target Manchester City?
Although he plays with his right foot and prefers to work from a wide starting position on the left, the Uruguay international shows some number 9 similarities to Haaland. Both thrive on penetrative running behind the opponent’s defense, just as both are extremely difficult to tackle in physical challenges or at top speed.
Nunez, who arrived at Benfica on a surprisingly undervalued €24m transfer from Almeria in the summer of 2020, has gone through an incredible period of development, especially since the start of the year. With 26 goals in 28 league matches this season, he offers a plethora of options: he can chase a long ball over the top to show his speed against defenders (he scored such a goal in the derby against Sporting Lisbon), he can make smart runs to get the end of crosses , hitting long-range shots with precision, and taking good positions in both set-pieces and offensive kicks.
Nunez is undoubtedly at the peak of his game, and the powerful 22-year-old appears to be able to skip one of Europe’s top leagues, with links to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Lautaro was originally a “second striker” or “supporting striker”, which gradually moved to a more central position. His finishing skills, along with the ability to protect the ball and create chances in the final third, contributed to his coaches’ desire to play close to goal.
Somewhat similar to that of fellow Argentines Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, the 24-year-old has an instinctive “street footballer” style of play, fast, practical style and a low center of gravity. At 5-foot-9, he’s not in the traditional build of a No. 9 striker, yet he wins 38% of aerobic challenges.
Although he occasionally squanders in front of goal and tends to score in streaks, Lautaro is increasingly prolific (19 goals in Serie A this season) and could be available in the summer transfer window as Inter look to patch their finances.
Possibly the most suitable candidate for the classic ninth mark, the former Chelsea striker has an overall well-balanced game, as well as a clear advantage in physical skills and aerial ability. Abraham has settled well in Serie A and appears to be a more confident footballer now – making better decisions and appearing more focused – than he did a year ago.
Watching the England international, it is quite clear that he is a player who works hard to improve his weaknesses. His 15 league goals tally is four more than Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner (two strikers who prevented him from getting enough minutes to stay at Stamford Bridge), and while Roma certainly want to keep him, his performances sparked interest among many champions. league clubs.
Despite spending a lot of time in the treatment room during his first two years in Italy, Osimhen has scored 27 goals and nine assists from 60 appearances for the club so far. The combination of his speed, directness and finishing skills makes him a constant threat and gives him a consistency that is appreciated in the real No. 9. The 23-year-old’s next challenge is to further sharpen his game and appear less detached from his teammates during the playing stages.
The Nigeria international is at his best when the ball is played at the back to allow him to pass through the goal, but when there is little space behind the defense (unless he arrives at the cross end) he tends to struggle to impose himself on him. Game. However, with Napoli paying €70m to sign him from Lille in July 2020, and three years into his contract, he may not come cheap for any of the suitors.
A very talented striker, after years of trying at clubs such as Sampdoria, Roma and RB Leipzig, he has finally shown his full potential. Second behind Lewandowski in the Bundesliga goal-scoring table, Schick – who scored the Czech Republic’s stunning long-range goal against Scotland and was voted one of the goals for Euro 2020 last summer – scored 24 goals in 26 matches (his Unexpected goals from a penalty kick From 0.70 he speaks volumes about efficiency; while Haaland is 0.67.)
While injuries have haunted the left-footed striker over the past few years, there has always been agreement in the scouting scene that if Schick starts scoring consistently, he could be one of the best strikers in the world. It’s clear that his running and finishing timing (often with one touch, sometimes half-ball and great volleyball) have reached new heights this season. While he’s good at traditional No. 9 skills – nursing play, laying off and flicks – for a 6-foot-3 guy, he’s surprisingly effective at running behind the line of defense, despite not having the mobility as he does. primary force.