Who Are the Best Strikers in Premier League History?

In their 7-0 win over Man United, Liverpool’s “Egyptian King”, Mo Salah, bagged a brace. No big deal – so did two other Reds. However, Salah’s second-half double moved him above Robbie Fowler as the leading all-time Premier League goalscorer for the club.

On the hard stats alone then, Salah is number one for the Merseyside club, but where does the former Chelsea and Roma man rank among all Premier League sharpshooters? Here we take a look at the best forwards in the history of the Premier League.

Alan Shearer, 260 goals in 441 appearances

Alan Shearer is the record goalscorer in the history of the Premier League, netting an amazing 260 goals for Blackburn and Newcastle. His 23 top-flight strikes for Southampton came before the Premier League began and so are excluded here. To conclude the housekeeping aspect of this feature, we are not going to solely focus on players with the most goals, this is not an ordered list, and last of all, our definition of strikers will be loose, covering all forwards.

Back to Shearer though, and his goals tally is even more incredible when one notes that he suffered three knee injuries, two of which were serious enough for him to miss 30 games or more each time. He won the PL Golden Boot three times and was a superb all-round striker and a deadly finisher. He only won one major team honour (the 1994/95 title with Blackburn) but that was largely down to his desire to play for his home-town club and the subsequent loyalty he showed to the Magpies.

Wayne Rooney, 208 goals in 491 appearances

Rooney burst onto the scene as a child really, smashing records for Everton and England and scoring goals of such brilliance that everyone certainly did “remember the name”. Despite being Man United’s record scorer and, until Harry Kane eclipsed him, the Three Lions’ too, there remains a lingering doubt that he did not quite fulfil his potential.

Whilst Cristiano Ronaldo kept getting better and better (until he became a sour man on the decline in his late 30s!), Rooney plateaued. What’s more, that levelling off came very early in his career, despite the continued excellence. Spectacular goals for Everton and a stellar Euro 2004 earned him his United move, and a Champions League hat-trick on his debut had fans dreaming of the next Pele! No matter how we assess Rooney though, with over 200 goals and more than 100 assists, he is undoubtedly an all-time great of the PL.

Theirry Henry, 175 goals in 258 appearances

Henry cannot match a number of players in terms of total Premier League goals but his goals-per-game record is better than most, including Shearer and Rooney. But Henry merits inclusion in this feature because of the grace, magic, elegance and beauty he brought. He glided across the turf with such apparent effortlessness, but he was so much more than je ne sais quoi.

When Henry was strutting his stuff for Arsenal between 1999 and 2011 “goal involvements” were not yet a metric, but over his career his 175 goals and 74 assists equate to almost one per game. To tie that end product to such mesmeric beauty means that even Spurs fans can (we hope) appreciate the French forward.

Harry Kane, 201 goals in 308 appearances

Kane’s tally is correct as of 10th March 2023 and when we add in his 45 assists, he is not too far shy of Henry in terms of the regularity with which he scores or creates a goal in the Premier League. He is a superb all-rounder, like Shearer, the man whose record as leading PL scorer he hopes to surpass before he retires.

Good in the air and with both feet, he has modified his game over the years to play deeper whilst still finding the net, be that from 30 yards or inside the six-yard box. He has scored 17 or more league goals in every season since 2014/15 but is yet to win silverware with Spurs. Both Manchester clubs have been linked with his signature and with 18 goals from 26 matches in 2022/23 it is easy to see why.

Sergio Aguero, 184 goals in 275 appearances

Aguero suffered a number of injuries throughout his career but his goals-to-game ratio is up there with the very best. He had six absences of 25 days or more whilst at Man City but is still their all-time leading scorer. He won countless trophies with the club but may be best remembered for his role in one in particular.

His 95th-minute winner against QPR on the final day of the 2011/12 season meant they won their first Premier League title on goal difference… ahead of Man United. The “Aguerooo” commentary is as iconic as the goal and celebration itself and its scorer was one of the deadliest finishers in the history of the Sky-era English top flight.

Erling Haaland, 27 goals in 25 appearances

We fully admit that this is a hugely premature shout and that compared to many other Premier League legends, Haaland has done almost nothing. But it is already clear that the man is a machine, a monster, and only injuries or an unexpectedly early transfer away from the PL can stop the Norwegian hulk from cementing his place on our list.

His pace, power, movement, intelligence and finishing mean that he just cannot stop scoring. His 27 goals after just 25 games would be more than enough to win the Premier League Golden Boot most seasons, yet how many more will he add? The notion that City can improve their supply to him as they adapt their approach is scary. And when we factor in that at just 22 he is still improving, who knows what unbreakable PL records the Leeds-born man can create?

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