Man Utd and Chelsea can sign 'next Samuel Eto'o' for £110m less than Erling Haaland

Nineteen league games, 23 goals. No, not the goalscoring return of Erling Haaland, but that of his Red Bull Salzburg successor Patson Daka.

Since Norwegian superstar Haaland departed for Borussia Dortmund in January 2020, Daka has now scored 40 goals and supplied 14 assists in 51 matches for Austrian champions Salzburg.

He continued his phenomenal form with an 11-minute hat-trick against Sturm Graz at the Red Bull Arena on Sunday as Salzburg chase an eighth straight title.

Since returning from a hamstring injury in November, Daka has now plundered 17 goals in just 13 Austrian Bundesliga matches, scoring in all but two. They’re the only league games he’s not scored in all season.

The striker, compared to Samuel Eto’o and Sadio Mane by Zambia head coach Milutin Sredejovic, also netted four times for his country against Zimbabwe and Algeria over the international break.

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The 22-year-old is making his case to clubs across Europe’s bigger leagues that he is ready for tougher tests.

And the way so many other Salzburg players have taken the step-up – usually to sister club RB Leipzig – in their stride suggest he could be a very shrewd buy this summer.

Liverpool duo Mane and Naby Keita are among the previous African talents to have been schooled at Leipzig.

Zambian Daka has been linked with a whole host of Premier League clubs already including Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.

United, City and Chelsea are all also in hot pursuit of Dortmund’s Haaland, who has been priced at £127.5million (€150m) ahead of the summer transfer window.

Given the system of the Red Bull clubs feeds from their ability to sell players on for profit, Daka is an easier asset to prise away than Haaland is at Dortmund.
Is he a generational talent at the level of Haaland? No. But very few are and as alternatives go, Daka is indicating he could be a very, very good one – particularly at his price tag.  

Reports in Austria have indicated that he could be available for around £17m (€20m) – or in other words around £110m less than clubs can sign Haaland for. If he could maintain his conversion rate in Austria were he to move to England, that would be money very well spent.

Daka has previously admitted that he grew up a Liverpool fan, but with his father a Chelsea fan and his sister an Arsenal supporter, those ties are unlikely to stop him from landing elsewhere in the Premier League given the career step-up it would represent.

An energetic player who has excellent work-rate and willingly harries defenders, Daka has great pace and sharp movement, and obviously, high-level finishing ability. He can score capably off of either foot.

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Playing for Salzburg, Daka has proven himself an excellent centre-forward in a possession-heavy side but is also a fierce threat on the counter-attack.

Daka has sought to play down comparisons to former team-mate Haaland and said last summer: “I’m not the next anything. There’ll only be one Haaland and there’ll only be one Patson. I just want to become the best vision of myself.”

There are qualities though that Daka offers that Haaland does not so much, particularly off the ball in how much he presses and tackles his opponents.

But as low-cost Plan Bs go, Daka could be ideal, either for Chelsea or for United.

With at least one of the two set to be disappointed in the pursuit of Haaland, and possibly even both, perhaps they should be looking at Salzburg where the ‘next Haaland’ is waiting to be signed.

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