5 high-profile forwards with fewer league goals than Luuk de Jong at Barcelona this season
The Dutch striker arrived at the Nou Camp in the summer on a season-long loan deal as the club had to let go of Lionel Messi before also deciding to sell Antoine Griezmann. De Jong was expected to fill these holes with a few goals, but the striker could only manage one strike in his first nine La Liga games.
Luuk de Jong has been the main man for Barcelona recently
However, things have been different since the arrival of Xavi. The January signings, coupled with their new style of football, have led Barcelona close to ensuring a top-four spot this season. In doing so, De Jong has also turned a new leaf, as evidenced by his five La Liga goals since the start of the year.
To put his progress into perspective, there are some notable names in Europe’s top five leagues this season who have not managed the same goal tally.
On that note, let’s take a look at five high-profile forwards in Europe’s top five leagues who De Jong has outscored this season.
#5 Alexander Isak
Real Sociedad v Granada CF – La Liga Santander
Alexander Isak has received a lot of praise for his performances in recent seasons but the Swedish ace has not necessarily enjoyed his best campaign this term.
The centre-forward had a decent first half of the season as he scored four goals but has only scored once in the league since the turn of the year. This has led to Real Sociedad dropping crucial points along the way, which could now cost them a top-four spot this season.
While the club should not put all their eggs in the 22-year-old striker’s basket, he is expected to provide a greater goal return than five goals in 26 league games.
Although Barcelona ace De Jong is nearly a decade older than Isak, the Dutchman has managed to turn his season around recently. The Sociedad ace will be hoping to do the same when his side meet Barcelona next week.
#4 Gabriel Jesus
Manchester City v Liverpool – Premier League
The goal at the weekend was his first Premier League strike of 2022, taking his tally to three goals for the season in 22 games. However, it is worth noting that he has bagged eight assists in the same period. But the 25-year-old star is expected to lead the line and get on the other end of crosses rather than acting as the provider for the same.
He had nine strikes in the league last season. With that kind of season behind him, coupled with Sergio Aguero’s departure in the summer, Jesus was expected to go into double figures this season.
However, that has not been the case and his tally currently remains lesser than De Jong’s for Barcelona. Regardless, Pep Guardiola will be hoping that the Brazilian ace will turn things around in the coming weeks.
#3 Roberto Firmino
Liverpool FC v SL Benfica Quarter Final Leg Two – UEFA Champions League
Roberto Firmino has five goals in six Champions League games this season, but he has the same tally in the Premier League as well in 18 games. Hence, Jurgen Klopp will certainly have mixed feelings about the Samba boy.
Although the Brazilian’s responsibilities have decreased with the emergence of Diogo Jota, he remains an integral part of the side.
During the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane due to the AFCON tournament, Firmino was expected to step up. But it was Jota who took up goal-scoring duties while the South American ace has only bagged a single goal this year.
De Jong is certainly getting his act straight at Barcelona and Firmino will be hoping to get amongst the goals again as well.
#2 Romelu Lukaku
Luton Town v Chelsea: The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Romelu Lukaku has had a disastrous return to Chelsea following his £97.5 million move last summer. The Belgian was expected to propel the Blues to the Premier League title but his five goals in 20 league games has prevented them from doing the same.
Lukaku was sensational at Inter Milan last season as the Nerrazzuri went on to lift the Serie A title for the first time in a decade. Hence, a lot was riding on the striker performing on his return to Stamford Bridge but he has so far failed to do the job.
His interview with Sky Italia in December did not do him any favors and is now facing the uphill task of getting Chelsea fans on his good side.
While De Jong has kept his head down and brought about a change in his performances for Barcelona, Lukaku is yet to pull off anything similar for Chelsea.
#1 Lionel Messi
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two – UEFA Champions League
Lionel Messi is certain to go down as one of the greatest players in the game, if not the greatest. But the Barcelona legend has not had the best time since leaving the Nou Camp and joining Paris Saint-Germain last summer.
The Parisians would have hoped for great things with the Argentinian on their side, but things have not gotten to plan for the former Barcelona ace.
The right winger has played 20 Ligue 1 games this season but has only produced a return of three goals, his lowest league tally in over a decade. While he does have the second-highest assists (13) in the league, he needs to prove his case on the goal-scoring front.
De Jong may not have replicated Messi’s goal output at Barcelona but he has certainly performed better than the Argentine star this season.