The ultimate aim of football is to score goals and the players that play closest to the opposition’s goal are the strikers. They are almost always in the limelight due to their tendency of becoming a hero for their teams.
However, strikers are not always exclusively about goals since their ability to make a system work should also come into consideration. With that in mind, here are the top 7 strikers of all time in the EPL.
7. Didier Drogba -Chelsea
Active: 2004 – 2015
Honours: 4 x Premier League Winner (2004/05, 2005/06, 2009/10 & 2014/15) 2 x Golden Boot (2006/07 & 2009/10)
Appearances: 254 Goals: 104 Assists: 54
There are many players on this list who exemplify a particular club and their glories – Drogba’s time at Chelsea was definitely a rhapsody in blue. In October 2012 he was voted by the fans as their greatest ever player and with good reason.
Drogba scored a century of Premier League goals during his first spell of eight seasons, winning three titles, four FA Cups (scoring the winner in three of them), two League Cups and, his crowning glory, the Champions League in 2012.
Big and powerful, Drogba was a nightmare to play against and his goals came in so many different ways. Every Arsenal faithful will never live to forget the Ivorian All-time Goalscorer as he proved to be a fly in the ointment for the Gunners in his first and second spell as Chelsea Player.
6. Eric Cantona – Manchester United
Active: 1992 – 1997
Clubs: Leeds, Man Utd
Honours: 4 x Premier League Winner (1992/93, 1993/94, 1995/96 & 1996/97) 1 x Player of the Month (Mar 1996)
Appearances: 156 Goals: 70 Assists: 56
Enigmatic, ebullient, excellent. ‘King Cantona’ is simply unique and will forever be revered by Manchester United fans who pay no attention to his flaws and shortcomings. He arrived at Old Trafford from Leeds United just as the Premier League era was dawning. Cantona cost just £1.2m – what a buy!
United had started sluggishly in that maiden season but, inspired by Cantona, they ended up winning the title by 10 points, their first since 1967. The Frenchman scored 18 times as United retained their title and his two penalties in the final of the FA Cup saw them complete the Double.
That kung-fu kick curtailed his involvement the following season and United promptly lost out in the title race and the Cup final. His messianic reputation was confirmed upon his return, as United hauled in Newcastle’s 12-point advantage to claim another title, following it up with another the next year.
Cantona left football open-mouthed when he announced his retirement in 1997. His goals had the same effect – that volley against Wimbledon, free-kick rocket against Arsenal, the crucial winner at Newcastle and the chip against Sunderland. Sublime!
5. Dennis Bergkamp – Arsenal
Active: 1995 – 2006
Honours: 3 x Premier League Winner (1997/98, 2001/02 & 2003/04) 4 x Player of the Month (Aug 1997, Sept 1997, Mar 2002 & Feb 2004)
Appearances: 315 Goals: 87 Assists: 94
Dennis’ has fixation in the Dutch ‘Total Football‘ style enabled him to outwit defenders so consistently. If you’ve played as a defender, as he did in his younger career, you know better how to beat them; both with class and majesty, as Bergkamp so often did.
Arsenal paid three times their club record to sign him in 1995 but the money was certainly well spent as he excelled under Arsene Wenger and was pivotal in their Double successes of 1997-1998 and 2001-2002.
By and large, Bergkamp scored 87 goals in the Premier League. There probably hasn’t been a more stylish hat-trick than the one he scored at Leicester in 1997, while his pirouette to beat the Newcastle backline in 2002 is a favorite of many, whatever their allegiance.
4. Andy Cole -Newcastle, Manchester United
Active: 1993 – 2008
Clubs: Newcastle, Man Utd, Blackburn, Fulham, Man City, Portsmouth, Sunderland
Honours: 5 x Premier League Winner (1995/96, 1996/97, 1998/99, 1999/2000 & 2000/01) 1 x Player of the Month (Nov 1997) 1 x Golden Boot (1993/94)
Appearances: 414 Goals: 187 Assists: 73
‘Cole the Goal’ (as he was fondly called) is the Premier League’s third all-time top goalscorer, with 187 for his half-dozen top-flight clubs. He was a natural poacher, always in the right place at the right time to feast off the service that came his way.
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He hit 68 goals in 84 matches for Newcastle before a shock British record £7m move to Manchester United in 1995. He continued to excel, helping Alex Ferguson’s team to five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and, famously, the Champions League as part of their unprecedented Treble triumph in 1999. Make no mistake about it, Andy is one of the deadliest strikers to grace the Premier League.
3. Wayne Rooney – Manchester United
Active: 2002 – 2018
Clubs: Everton, Man Utd
Honours: 5 x Premier League Winner (2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2010/11 & 2012/13) 5 x Player of the Month (Feb 2005, Dec 2005, Mar 2006, Oct 2007 & Jan 2010) 1 x Player of the Season (2009/10)
Appearances: 491 Goals: 208 Assists: 103
He burst into the public consciousness as a 16-year-old kid at Everton, scoring that incredible stoppage-time winner against Arsenal. Remember the name? How could we forget? Wayne Rooney has now retired for country as England’s all-time scorer, a legend of the last Premier League decade. Rooney grew up so fast, making his England debut before he was 18 and shining at Euro 2004.
He then moved to Manchester United for £25m, where he has scored 161 Premier League goals in 313 matches, won five Premier League titles, two League Cups and the Champions League. The highlight has to be that overhead kick against Man City.
2. Thierry Henry – Arsenal
Active: 1999 – 2012
Honours: 2 x Premier League Winner (2001/02 & 2003/04) 4 x Player of the Month (Apr 2000, Sept 2002, Jan 2004 & Apr 2004 ) 2 x Player of the Season (2003/04 & 2005/06) 4 x Golden Boot (2001/02, 2003/04, 2004/05 & 2005/06)
Appearances: 258 Goals: 175 Assists: 74
Henry had so many great years with Arsenal; Not only was he a prolific goalscorer – the foremost gauge of any striker, but he also scored his goals with dazzling class and was a serial winner too. Henry scored 175 Premier League goals. Sure, that’s not as many as Shearer, or even Cole or Rooney, but they were achieved over a shorter time span.
Then there’s the fact that many of his goals were pieces of art. When you look back at a compilation of his best, one will appreciate the improvisation and flawless execution. Admire too, the equally energetic celebrations, lapping the pitch, glaring into the cameras and the stands. Va and Voom.
Also, the flick and volley on the spin against Manchester United, dancing through the defenses of Tottenham and Liverpool, the postage stamp free-kick at Charlton, etc… You could go on for a while. Look at the trophy cabinet.
1. Alan Shearer – Southampton, Blackburn & Newcastle
Active: 1992 – 2006
Clubs: Blackburn, Newcastle
Honours: 1 x Premier League Winner (1994/95) 4 x Player of the Month (Nov 1994, Sept 1998, Dec 2002, Oct 2003 ) 1 x Player of the Season (1994/95) 3 x Golden Boot (1994/95, 1995/96 & 1996/97)
Appearances: 441 Goals: 260 Assists: 64
Shearer is living proof for every aspiring schoolboy footballer out there that dream can come true. For Southampton, Blackburn and hometown club Newcastle. And England of course – he scored goals with the joy and carefree style of a youngster playing down the park.
In the Premier League, Shearer has scored more than anybody else – 260 in total – and he was the Golden Boot winner for three consecutive seasons from 1994-1996, the campaign he collected his winner’s medal with Blackburn. Jack Walker’s millions brought Shearer to Ewood Park from Southampton just as the Premier League was starting in 1992.
He was already a decent goalscorer for the Saints but reached a stratospheric level at Rovers with 31 goals in 1995-1997 taking them to second place. Shearer and Rovers went better the following year, his deadly partnership with Chris Sutton yielding 34 goals that ultimately swung the title race.
After that magical summer of Euro 96, Shearer came home to Newcastle for a world record £15m fee. His goal contributions were legendary – 25 in his first season, 23 in 1999-2000, the same amount in 2001-2002 and 22 in 2003-2004.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players In Ligue 1
Ligue 1 no doubt harbors quite a number of talented players, as such it’s quite understandable for those considered to be world-class players among them to cash out hugely on what they earn at the end of the month.
As of late, the players’ salaries have given indications of solid development, on account of the tremendous income pouring into the game. The fierce rivalry between the country’s top football clubs has brought the nature of the competition higher than ever. The league has more than its own fair share of highly paid players.
Here is a rundown of the top 15 highest-paid players in the Ligue 1
- Neymar Jr – (Paris Saint Germain, – €3.06 Per Month )
Behind Ronaldo and Messi, the Brazilian forward is regarded as the third-best player in world football since moving from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 for a deal reported worth €86.2million.
After apparently growing and widening his status as a footballer with his achievement on and off the pitch, it was evident that the former Puskas Award winner would go on to attract top elite clubs.
With the Parisian club brimming with a lot of cash to flex muscles with high spending clubs, it was just a matter of time before Neymar would join them. Fast forward to 2017, the Selecao captain signed for PSG for a world record transfer fee worth €222million, and since then he’s been an important figure of both the club and their project.
Amidst transfer rumors of him returning to his old home Barcelona, plus the fact that the Parisian are also ready to offer him a new deal that would tie him down with the French side for at least another three seasons.
- Kylian Mbappe – (Paris Saint Germain, € 1.91m Per Month)
As a World Cup winner and one of the best prospects in world football, it’s quite understandable for Mbappe to be among the highest-paid players in Ligue 1 and Paris Saint Germain. The 2018 World Cup winner burst into the scene as a young player for Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 15.
The Frenchman signed for the Parisian club in 2017 on loan, which was later made permanent in 2018. He has shown to be a great prospect for both the club and their project in dominating the Ligue 1 and also flex muscles with the top clubs in Europe.
His permanent transfer to Paris Saint Germain is reported to be worth €180million, making him both the second most expensive player and most expensive teenager. Since joining the Ligue 1 Champions permanently, the 22-year-old has scored over 120 goals for the Parisian club.
However, amidst the rumor of Real Madrid prepping up to break the bank in their quest to bring him down to the Bernabeu, the World Cup winner is still actively the second biggest earner in the league and of course Paris Saint Germain.
- Correa Marquinhos & Marco Verratti – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.2m Per Month)
Since the departure of top players such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan, and recently Thiago Silva, Marquinhos’s status has risen from being a mere squad player in the dressing room into a leader, captain, and one of the best gladiator of the club.
As a 19-year-old teenager, the Brazilian was signed in 2013 on a five-year deal by Paris Saint Germain from AS Roma for a fee of around €31.4million. And as reported by BBC Sport, the deal was said to be the highest transfer fee for a teenager then, while Sky also reports it to be the then fifth highest transfer.
The current form of the Brazilian makes him rank as one of Europe’s most valuable players, most especially as a player who is currently plying his trade with the best team in France.
According to the transfer market rating, Marquinhos market value currently stands at €70million, as such with his years of experience and playing over 313 matches for the Parisian, it’s no surprise that the club captain takes home €1.2m per month tied with the Italian on the same amount.
As for the Italian, he’s also been a very instrumental player for the team since joining the club nine years ago. There have always been rumors concerning his future, either joining Barcelona or go back to Italy, but as it stands his current contract with Paris Saint Germain would expire in 2024.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.1m Per Month)
Since joining the Parisian for €63million after a disappointing stint with Manchester United in 2015, the Argentine winger has continued to prove to the world that he’s still one of the best players in football since leaving Real Madrid.
Di Maria isn’t just rank among the highest earner for doing nothing, he earns his pay through his brilliant performances over the years since joining them, accumulating a total of 251 appearances scoring over 88 goals and 104 assists.
The former Real Madrid winger may not stay in the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain for three years or more, as he’s already moving close to the end of his career. However, with his deal still running that makes him the fourth-highest earner in the league.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain, €1m Per Month)
When Navas joined Madrid from Levante in the summer of 2014, no one ever thought he’s going to achieve quite a number of success with Los Blancos based on where he was coming from and his antecedent as a goalkeeper.
After a successful stint with Los Merengues, the imminent arrival of Thibaut Courtois means the Costa Rican goalkeeper days at Real Madrid are numbered.
With his achievement at Real Madrid, it was evident that the Costa Rican won’t find it hard to get good European suitor to come by, as such Paris Saint Germain came calling for his services in 2019 having been told he won’t be Real Madrid number one going forward into the new season.
Following Navas’s move to the French capital, it means his salary would be on the high side based on his achievement and reputation as a Champions League winner with arguably the biggest club in Europe.
As a Paris Saint Germain player, he earns €1m per month, making the Costa Rican one of the highest-paid players in Ligue 1
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- Mauro Icardi – (Paris Saint Germain, €800,000 Per Month)
The imminent departure of El Matador when Icardi joined Paris Saint Germain on loan means the responsibility of goalscoring would be on the shoulder of the Argentine. The former Inter Milan forward made his loan permanent with the PSG following a strong start in Paris.
The Argentine and controversy certainly go hand in hand based on his antecedent with his previous clubs. Everywhere he goes he has always shown he could lead the line perfectly, and since he joined the Parisian permanently no report of controversy has been recorded concerning the former Nerazzurri captain.
Icardi may not be the poster boy of PSG just like his days at Inter, that doesn’t make him less of a player in the dressing room among other star players like Neymar and Mbappe who are no doubt the face of the club.
- Leandro Paredes – (Paris Saint Germain, €750,000 Per Month)
Juan Bernat – (Paris Saint Germain, €700,000 Per Month)
Presnel Kimpembe – (Paris Saint Germain, €670,000 Per Month)
Ander Herrera – (Paris Saint Germain, €650,000 Per Month)
Wissam Ben Yedder – (Monaco, €650,000 Per Month)
Cesc Fabregas – (Monaco, €600,000 Per Month)
Julian Draxler – (Paris Saint Germain, €600,000 Per Month)
Idrissa Guaye – (Paris Saint Germain, €500,000 Per Month)