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10 best Premier League strikers of all time

Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero are amongst the greatest strikers in Premier League history
Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero are amongst the greatest strikers in Premier League history
Vishal Subramanian

Since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, some of the best attackers in world football have dazzled fans with their goalscoring exploits and etched their names into the league's history.

In many ways, the birth of the Premier League changed the landscape of things in football. The broadcast revolution kickstarted a golden era for English football, as the 90s set the platform for what the Premier League is currently.

Big names from across the world viewed the English top-flight as the pinnacle of club football and made moves to England to take part in the cash-rich Premier League.

Having initially struggled to compete with the domestic leagues in Italy and Spain, the English top-flight's appeal grew significantly after the inception of the Premier League.

Over the years, some of the best attackers in world football have graced the Premier League and left lasting impressions. Every title-winning side has had a talismanic figure leading the line, proving once again that goals win you football matches.

On that note, here are the ten best strikers in Premier League history.


#10 Michael Owen | 150 goals

Michael Owen won the Ballon d'Or at Liverpool
Michael Owen won the Ballon d'Or at Liverpool

Hailed as a prodigious talent from his early teens, Michael Owen burst onto the scene at Liverpool as a 17-year-old and quickly established himself as a first-team regular. The Englishman became Liverpool's first-choice striker in 1997 and became the Reds' talismanic figure up top, as he dazzled the fans with his pace and finishing ability.

Owen won the Premier League Golden Boot in his debut season at the club and till date holds the record for being the youngest recipient of the award. Manchester United and Arsenal were the top dogs in England at the time and boasted some of the finest attacking players in the world.

Nevertheless, Owen remained unfazed by the prospect of going toe to toe with the best in the business and retained the Golden Boot the following year. In 2001, the gifted striker won the Ballon d'Or for his performances for club and country, as he became the first Englishman since Kevin Keegan to pick up the prized accolade.

The Chester born striker plied his trade for Real Madrid and Newcastle United, before sealing a controversial switch to Manchester United in 2009. Owen finally won the Premier League title with the Red Devils, a trophy that eluded him in his time at Liverpool.

With 150 Premier League goals to his name, the Englishman finished his career with Stoke City in 2013.


#9 Robbie Fowler | 163 goals

Robbie Fowler lead the line to devastating effect for Liverpool
Robbie Fowler lead the line to devastating effect for Liverpool

Robbie Fowler is hailed as one of the most naturally gifted finishers in Premier League history. Nicknamed "God" by the Liverpool faithful in front of goal, Fowler was blessed with a wand of a left foot and his ability in front of goal made him one of the best strikers on the planet.

Having made his Liverpool debut in 1993, the Englishman played alongside Stan Collymore and late partnered Steve McManaman, who dubbed him as the greatest finisher of all time.

Fowler's goalscoring excellence is well documented and he remains the only player in history to have scored more than 30 goals in each of his first three seasons in England.

The scouser scored goals aplenty for his boyhood team but soon found himself slipping down the pecking order due to the emergence of Michael Owen. Fowler left Liverpool in 2001 after falling out with then-manager Gerard Houllier and secured a move to Leeds United.

The former England international also enjoyed a brief spell with Manchester City and returned to Merseyside club in 2006, where he spent a solitary season. Fowler plied his trade with several clubs since his second Liverpool departure and called it quits on an illustrious career with 163 Premier League goals to his name.


#8 Ruud van Nistelrooy | 95 goals

Ruud van Nistelrooy enjoyed a fruitful spell at Old Trafford
Ruud van Nistelrooy enjoyed a fruitful spell at Old Trafford

In many ways, Ruud van Nistelrooy's Premier League stint is not spoken about enough. The Dutch striker was scouted heavily by Sir Alex Ferguson and finally secured his dream move to Manchester United in the summer of 2001.

Van Nistelrooy mostly came alive in front of the box but the towering striker's killer instinct set him apart from the rest of his peers. With 44 goals to his name in all competitions in the 2002-03 season, the Red Devils hitman won the Premier League Golden Boot and the PFA Players' Player of the Year amongst other honours.

The Dutchman was also the centre of the rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal and was involved in a high profile clash with Martin Keown in 2003. Van Nistelrooy is well known for scoring a goal in the Red Devils' 2-0 triumph against the Gunners, a result that halted Arsenal's 49 game winning run

The Dutchman capped off his five-year spell in the Premier League with one league title and several personal honours to his name. After scoring 95 league goals in five seasons with Manchester United, Van Nistelrooy secured a move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2006.


#7 Robin van Persie | 144 goals

Robin van Persie won the Premier League with Manchester United
Robin van Persie won the Premier League with Manchester United

Signed as a relatively unknown teenager by Arsene Wenger in 2004, Robin van Persie took his time to make a name for himself at Arsenal.

At the time, the Gunners were the reigning Premier League champions and boasted the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires up front, due to which his game time was limited to substitute appearances.

Hailed as an exceptionally gifted finisher, Van Persie's ability on the ball was also commendable, as he gradually grew into the role of as the leading man. The Dutchman won the 2011-12 Golden Boot with the Gunners but sealed a controversial switch to Manchester United that summer.

After his unexpected switch to Old Trafford, the flying Dutchman produced another stunning goalscoring season. Manchester United got their hands on the Premier League title for the record 20th time, as Van Persie led the line to devastating effect and retained his Golden Boot.

After the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, things gradually went downhill for the Dutchman. With 144 Premier League goals to his name, Van Persie sealed a move to Fenerbache after spending 11 seasons in England.


#6 Didier Drogba | 104 goals

Didier Drogba helped oversee a new era at Chelsea
Didier Drogba helped oversee a new era at Chelsea

In 2004, Chelsea were just beginning to establish themselves as a European superpower. Under the ownership of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, the Blues were free spenders in the transfer market and did not shy away from approaching the most prominent players in the world.

However, when Abramovich asked Jose Mourinho who he wanted to lead the line for his new-look Chelsea side, the Portuguese manager had just one name in mind - Didier Drogba.

"I remember clearly Abramovich was asking me, 'Who? Who do you want as a striker?"
"With all the big names in Europe at that time, I said Drogba. โ€˜Who is he? Where's he playing?' [I said] 'Mr Abramovichโ€”pay. Pay, and don't speak.'"

It was a match made in heaven, as the Ivorian international took the Premier League by storm with his exploits up front for the Blues. Drogba was a handful for the defenders to deal with and scored goal aplenty, as he spearheaded Chelsea to successive league titles between 2004 and 2006.

Aside from his goalscoring ability, Drogba's physicality, vision and set-piece prowess made him one of the biggest matchwinners in the Premier League at the time. Most importantly, he was a big game player and scored ten goals in as many cup finals for Chelsea, winning on each occasion.

The Ivorian international scored 104 Premier League goals and left a lasting impression on the English top-flight, as he is widely regarded as one of Chelsea's greatest ever players.


Also check out: the EPL top scorers by season

#5 Andy Cole | 187 goals

Andy Cole won multiple titles with Manchester United
Andy Cole won multiple titles with Manchester United

Andy Cole's unexpected move to Manchester United in 1995 shocked English football, as the Englishman joined the Red Devils in the January transfer window in a swap deal involving Keith Gillespie.

Cole became the most expensive player in the history of British football at the time and scored a handful of goals in his first six months at the club. However, on the final day of the 1994-95 league season, the former Newcastle United striker missed two golden chances to win the game for his side.

Manchester United not only failed to beat West Ham on the night but also missed out on the Premier League title to Blackburn Rovers. In the following season, Cole made amends and spearheaded his side to the title, as the Red Devils got their hands on the prize once again.

The Englishman mostly came alive inside the penalty area but was also capable of scoring the spectacular, as he demonstrated several times in his career. Since leaving Manchester United in 2001, Cole became a journeyman of sorts and represented several other clubs before retiring in 2008.

With 187 goals in his glittering Premier League career, Cole is third on the all-time goalscorers chart and is one of the most decorated goalscorers in the league's history.


#4 Sergio Aguero | 180 goals

Sergio Aguero could yet add to his tally in the coming years
Sergio Aguero could yet add to his tally in the coming years

Sergio Aguero is a modern-day Premier League legend and he continues to cement his status as Manchester City's greatest ever player. Since moving to the Premier League in 2011, Aguero's consistency in front of goal has been staggering and he has helped oversee a new era at the Etihad Stadium.

The Argentine is typically deadly in front of goal and predator like inside the box, while his technical ability and linkup play is arguably second to none in the Premier League currently.

Kun Aguero also holds the record for most hattricks in Premier League history, having notched up a staggering 12 trebles in his Manchester City career so far. The former Atletico Madrid striker has won four league titles under three different managers in the past decade, a fact that exemplifies his consistency levels over the years.

With 180 Premier League goals to his name so far, Aguero is fourth on the all-time goalscorers chart and is just seven shy of Andy Cole.


#3 Wayne Rooney | 208 goals

Wayne Rooney is Manchester United's all-time top scorer
Wayne Rooney is Manchester United's all-time top scorer

Wayne Rooney is arguably England's finest player in the modern and was amongst the best players in the world in his prime. Having burst onto the scene at Everton, Rooney moved to Manchester United in the summer of 2004 for a world-record fee for a teenager at the time.

Blessed with incredible shooting ability and technique, Rooney's versatility and tactical awareness saw him being deployed in multiple positions over the course of his trophy-laden career.

The Everton born youngster developed from a hot-headed teenager to one of the most decisive players in world football under Sir Alex Ferguson, as his unique ability to score goals as well as create them made him a serial matchwinner.

With five Premier League titles and several other honours for club and country, Rooney is one of the most decorated players in Premier League history. Additionally, he is also Manchester United and England's all-time top scorer, two records that are unlikely to be broken in the near future.

Rooney scored 208 goals in the Premier League with Manchester United and Everton and is still going strong with Derby County in the Championship at the age of 34.


#2 Alan Shearer | 280 goals

Alan Shearer was Newcastle's talisman for a decade
Alan Shearer was Newcastle's talisman for a decade

Alan Shearer is regarded as one of the greatest No. 9s in the history of the game and is widely renowned for his spells with Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers.

The legendary striker was one of the first English players to make a name for himself globally in the Premier League era and spearheaded Blackburn Rovers to a historic league triumph in the 1994-95 season.

Shearer was an old fashioned centre forward and was a menace to play against owing to his strength, aerial threat and goalscoring ability. The Englishman would occupy multiple defenders on his own and open up gaps for the rest of his teammates, much like he did so for Chris Sutton at Blackburn.

In 1996, the Tyneside born striker sealed an emotional switch to his boyhood club Newcastle United, where he went on break several long-standing records. While the Premier League title eluded him at St James' Park, Shearer was a hometown hero for the fans and scored bags of goals before retiring in 2006.

The Englishman hung up his boots with a staggering 260 Premier League goals and three Golden Boots to his name. Shearer is regarded as the best out and out centre forward in Premier League history and his goal tally will take some beating.

In September 2016, Newcastle honoured one of their greatest ever players with a statue outside St James' Park, as his legacy looks set to live on forever.


#1 Thierry Henry | 175 goals

Thierry Henry was one of the most gifted players of his generation
Thierry Henry was one of the most gifted players of his generation

Thierry Henry is considered as the best Premier League striker of all time. One of Arsene Wenger's finest proteges, Henry arrived in England in the late 90s and played a pivotal role in re-establishing Arsenal as one of the most attractive clubs in world football.

Known for his blistering pace, technical ability, flair and calmness in front of goal, Henry's seamless transition from a left-winger to a centre forward paid dividends for Arsenal. The Frenchman left fans awestruck with his ability on the ball and was capable of scoring goals as well as creating them.

When Henry arrived at Arsenal, he was already a World Cup winner with France and won the European championships a year after his move to North London. Nevertheless, he took time to get used to the English game, as he learnt his craft under one of the best managers in the world at the time.

In the years that followed, Arsenal enjoyed one of the most successful periods in the club's history, with Henry in the forefront of their star-studded lineup.

The 2003-04 season is etched in Premier League history as the most iconic league campaign of all time, as the Gunners secured the league title without losing a single game.

The Arsenal Invincibles, as they are fondly referred to, were spearheaded by the Frenchman himself. He was joined Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires complementing him up front, as the trio wreaked havoc and brushed teams aside while also playing eye-catching football.

Henry won two Premier League titles and a whopping four Golden Boot in his time at Arsenal, as he cemented his status as one of the greatest players in the league's decorated history.

The Frenchman notched up 175 Premier League goals in two stints at Arsenal and is honoured with a statue outside the Emirates Stadium.


Also Read: 10 best Premier League midfielders of all time

Edited by Vishal Subramanian

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