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EPL: The Premier League's 30 Greatest Strikers

Gerard O Correspondent IDecember 4, 2016

EPL: The Premier League's 30 Greatest Strikers

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    This is my first attempt at a soccer comment since joining the Bleacher Report team. The first article I'm going to do is actually a bigger version of what I sent in when I first attempted to join Bleacher Report. Obviously as you can see by my profile picture and the picture at the side I am a Manchester United fan so you will probably assume that I am going to be totally biased to Manchester United.

    But I will not be, and here's why.

    The criteria for this article is that the player must have scored more than 60 Premier League goals. So a player like Hernan Crespo, who played two seasons in the EPL and had a similar strike rate to some guys on the list, only scored 20 Premier League goals and so will not be on the list.

    That's another thing. This will be based on who has a better strike rate—not who has the most goals. If a Manchester United player is high up, it's not because I am a Manchester United fan, but because they deserve to.

    I worked out the strike rate by taking the number of games they played and dividing it by the goals. The lower the number will determine how clinical they are.

    A strikers' goal-scoring record will be correct up to the end of the 2010-2011 season. It's a bit unfair to include van Persie, who is attempting to score a bucket load this year. At the end of the season I'll review it and then RVP will more than likely move up. 

    On with the list. 

Those Who Missed the Cut

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    The following are players who didn't have a decent enough strike rate to crack the top 30 but have scored more than 60 goals. Obviously Saha, Bellamy, Crouch, Heskey and Davies could be after improving theirs by the end of the season but as of now they're out. Chris Sutton has the best strike rate out of these while Mark Hughes has the worst.

    Chris Sutton 256/83

    Louis Saha 250/81

    Craig Bellamy 245/73

    Dennis Bergkamp 315/87

    James Beattie 331/90

    Duncan Ferguson 260/68

    Peter Crouch 259/61

    Emile Heskey 448/110

    Kevin Davies 413/82

    Mark Hughes 326/63 

    The following are players who have scored more than 60 Premier League goals but it was hard to find their Premier League games total. I will try to find them over the next week and will put them in the list if they have a better strike rate than those on the list. If any of you have any info on these guys Premier League games do tell.

    Kevin Campbell 82

    Tony Cottee 78

    Chris Armstrong 71

    Brian Deane 70

    Dean Holdsworth 63

    Stan Collymore 62

30. Dwight Yorke

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    Premier League Clubs

    Aston Villa (1992-1999 (179/60))

    Manchester United (1999-2002 (95/47))

    Blackburn Rovers (2002-2004 (60/12))

    Birmingham City (2004-2005 (13/2))

    Sunderland (2007-2009 (27/1))

    Premier League Games: 374

    Premier League Goals: 122

    Strike Rate: 3.06

     

    After breaking into the Aston Villa team before the Premier League was formed, the young Dwight Yorke would continue to develop his game in the early Premier League years and hit his stride in the 1995-1996 season when he scored 17 Premier League goals. He continued his prolific scoring before earning a £12.5million move to Manchester United.

    At United he was part of a foursome of strikers who would win three Premier League titles in a row along with Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solksjær and Teddy Sheringham. He scored 38 Premier League goals in his first two seasons at the club but he began to butt heads with Sir Alex Ferguson in 2000 due to his hectic private life.

    He began to lose form and suffer injuries which led to him only scoring 10 more league goals for the club. In the summer of 2002 he left to join Blackburn Rovers to join his old strike partner Andy Cole who joined during the previous winter transfer window.

    He was unable to find his goalscoring form at Blackburn which led to him dropping into midfield. His presence there wasn't needed as it was clear he wasn't able to play for a club who had Blackburn's ambitions of European football. He left Blackburn in January 2005 and joined relegation-threatened Birmingham City for the remainder of the season and helped them stay in the division.

    He left to play in Australia but was back in the Premier League in 2007 with Sunderland after helping them get promoted the previous season. He was no longer a Premier League-quality player and only played in 27 league games, scoring one goal before retiring in 2009.

29. Jermain Defoe

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    Premier League Clubs

    West Ham United (2001-2003 (74/18))

    Tottenham Hotspur (2004-2008 (139/43))

    Portsmouth (2008-2009 (31/15))

    Tottenham Hotspur (2009-2011 (64/25))

    Premier League Games: 308

    Premier League Goals: 101

    Strike Rate: 3.04

     

    Jermain Defoe's Premier League career began at West Ham in 2000 as a 17 year old but he was immediately shipped out on loan to the lower divisions to gain experience. After a successful spell he returned to West Ham and became an integral part of the team with his pace and goal scoring.

    He scored 18 Premier League goals for West Ham in two poor seasons which saw them relegated in May 2003. He initially stayed with West Ham but it was quite clear that he was too good for the Championship.

    He signed for Tottenham for £7million in January 2004 and made an instant impact, scoring seven goals to secure a mid-table finish for Spurs. Defoe formed an excellent partnership with Robbie Keane that was a major factor in Spurs re-emergence as a major force in England. Defoe scored 43 Premier League goals in his first spell with Spurs but, due to the signing of Dimitar Berbatov and the poor management of Juande Ramos, Defoe decided to move on.

    He linked up with his former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth in January 2008 and was a part of the side that won the FA Cup in May of that year. He scored 15 Premier League goals for Portsmouth before moving back to Spurs for £20million, who were then under the stewardship of Harry Redknapp.

    He was a bit part player for the remainder of that season but the next season he enjoyed his most prolific season. He scored 18 Premier League goals in the 2009-2010 season to help Spurs to a 4th place finish, including five in one game against Wigan. The next season wouldn't be prolific, as he scored just four Premier League goals. It has been said that while Defoe is a goal scorer, he doesn't score on a consistent basis.

28. Teddy Sheringham

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    Premier League Clubs

    Nottingham Forest (1992 (3/1))

    Tottenham Hotspur (1992-1997 (166/76))

    Manchester United (1997-2001 (104/31))

    Tottenham Hotspur (2001-2003 (70/22))

    Portsmouth (2003-2004 (32/9))

    West Ham United (2005-2007 (43/8))

    Premier League Games: 418

    Premier League Goals: 147

    Strike Rate: 2.84

     

    After starting the first Premier League season with three games and one goal at Nottingham Forest, Sheringham transferred to Tottenham Hotspur for £2million and went on to finish as the league's top scorer with 22 Premier League goals. He would continue to be one of the hottest strikers in the league for the next several years, scoring 76 Premier League goals for Spurs.

    In the summer of 1997, Sheringham moved to Premier League champions Manchester United for a fee of £3.5million but his Spurs form eluded him and he spent most of his second and third season on the bench. In the 2000-2001 season, Sheringham scored 15 Premier League goals which was his best since the 1995-1996 season. His form that season saw Sheringham pick up the PFA Players' Player of the Year award and also saw him named in the Team of the Season.

    After four years at United and three Premier League titles, Sheringham left United in 2001 after his contract expired and the pending transfer of Ruud van Nistelrooy would see his chances in the first team become bleak. He rejoined Spurs and, despite not being as mobile as he once was, still managed to score 22 Premier League goals in his second spell there.

    After his contract ended in the summer of 2003 he joined Premier League new boys Portsmouth and formed a good partnership with Yakubu. He scored 9 goals during his season at Portsmouth before dropping down to West Ham United in the Championship. He helped them to promotion and stayed with them in the Premier League. He was a bit-part player in his two seasons with West Ham in the Premier League but still scored eight goals and played on until he was 41. 

27. Dion Dublin

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    Premier League Clubs

    Manchester United (1992-1994 (12/2))

    Coventry City (1994-1998 (145/61))

    Aston Villa (1998-2004 (155/48))

    Premier League Games: 312

    Premier League Goals: 111

    Strike Rate: 2.81

     

    Many people have either forgot or don't know that Dion Dublin started his Premier League career at Manchester United. He signed for them for £1million just in time for the first Premier League season. He never made a great impact at United, only scoring two Premier League goals in 12 league games. He only collected one of those Premier League winners medals because of special dispensation by the Premier League.

    It was quite clear that he wasn't needed at Man. United and moved on to Coventry City for £2million in 1994. In his four and a half year stint at Coventry his goals continuously kept them in the Premier League.

    In all he scored 61 Premier League goals for Coventry City and scored 18 goals in the 1997/1998 season to win the Premier League Golden Boot, although the honor was shared with Blackburn's Chris Sutton and Liverpool's Michael Owen.

    In the autumn of 1998, Dublin left a Coventry side that seemed doomed for relegation for their rivals Aston Villa in a near £6million deal. He ended that 1998/1999 season with 14 Premier League goals, with 11 of them for his new side. As he got older, his prolific goal scoring began to slow down and he only scored 48 Premier League goals for Aston Villa in five and a half years. He even spent some time on loan and at second-tier side Millwall.

    While he was at Villa, he began to play as a centre-back some of time which perhaps caused his dip in goalscoring form.

    After leaving Aston Villa in the summer of 2004 he joined Championship side Leicester City for a year and a half, went north to Scotland to play for Celtic for half a season before moving back to The Championship with Norwich City before retiring in 2008 at the age of 39.

    Since retiring from football he has become a football pundit. 

26. Paulo Di Canio

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    Premier League Clubs

    Sheffield Wednesday (1997-1999 (41/15))

    West Ham United (1999-2003 (118/48))

    Charlton Athletic (2003-2004 (31/4))

    Premier League Games: 190

    Premier League Goals: 68

    Strike Rate: 2.79

     

    One of the most charismatic players to ever play in the Premier League, the Italian left Celtic in 1997 to join Premier League strugglers Sheffield Wednesday for just over £4 million. Perhaps best known at Sheffield Wednesday for this, he was also loved by the fans and scored 15 Premier League goals for the club before that incident in September 1998 which led to him being banned for 11 games. He was eventually sold to West Ham United in January 1999 for just over £1.5 million.

    He became a cult hero during his stay at West Ham due to goals like this and incidents like this while also retaining the madness for his Sheffield Wednesday days. While never being a prolific goal scorer during his four years at West Ham, he still scored 48 Premier League goals.

    After his contract expired at West Ham he joined their London rivals Charlton Athletic for the 2003-2004 season and played the majority of the season but only scored four goals. In the summer of 2005 he moved back to Italy to play for the Italian giants Lazio with whom he started his career with. He surprisingly left Lazio in the summer of 2006 to play for Italian fourth division club Atletico Roma before retiring in 2008 at the age of 40.

    Di Canio was never a prolific goal scorer but more of a deep-lying forward in the Bergkamp and Zola mode.

    Since retiring he has received his coaching badges and now manages Swindon Town in League Two. 

25. Nicolas Anelka

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    Premier League Clubs

    Arsenal (1997-1999 (65/23))

    Liverpool (2002 (20/4))

    Manchester City (2002-2005 (89/37))

    Bolton Wanderers (2006-2008 (53/21))

    Chelsea (2008-2011 (116/38))

    Premier League Games: 343

    Premier League Goals: 123

    Strike Rate: 2.78

     

    Le Sulk joined Arsenal as a 17 year old in January 1997 and by the next season he was a major part of the first team. He played off the wing in the 1997-1998 season when Arsenal won the Premier League and FA Cup double. The next season he was moved into a more central role and scored 17 goals, while also winning the PFA Young Player of the Year. He was also named in the Team of the Season. That summer, Arsenal made a £22 million profit on Anelka and sold him to Real Madrid.

    He resurfaced in England two and a half years later, joining Liverpool on loan from PSG in France. Despite only scoring four goals he helped solidify Liverpool's second place finish.

    Instead of signing Anelka, Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier signed El Hadji Diouf, which led to Manchester City signing Anelka for £13 million in May 2002. He would rediscover his goal scoring form that eluded him when he moved to Europe 37 Premier League goals for City before signing for Fenerbahce of Turkey in January 2005. 

    After a year and a half in Turkey he moved back to the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers signing him for £8 million. He made an immediate impact, scoring vital goals that steered Bolton to top-half finishes. After impressing at Bolton, scoring 21 Premier League goals, he transferred to Premier League challengers Chelsea for £15 million.

    After a troubled start at Chelsea, where he only scored one goal in the back end of the 2007-2008 season, he rediscovered his form in the 2008-2009 season, scoring 19 goals to finish as the Golden Boot winner. Again he was also named in the Team of the Season.

    Despite only hitting ridiculous goal scoring form in one season at Chelsea, it was still the best period of his career, as they won one league and he scored 38 Premier League goals.

    As of now, his Premier League career happens to be over, as he moved to China in January 2012. When this list is reviewed in May, he will likely be off it.

24. Yakubu

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    Premier League Clubs

    Portsmouth (2003-2005 (67/29))

    Middlesbrough (2005-2007 (73/25))

    Everton (2007-2011 (82/25))

    Premier League Games: 218

    Premier League Goals: 79

    Strike Rate: 2.75

     

    Yakubu joined Portsmouth in January 2003 on loan and helped seal their promotion to the Premier League. He was signed permanently for £4 million in the summer and helped establish them as a Premier League side. He scored 29 Premier League goals for Portsmouth before he moved to Middlesbrough in the summer of 2005 for £7.5 million.

    He spent two seasons at Middlesbrough where, despite not being that prolific, was loved by the fans. Those two seasons at Middlesbrough were relegation-threatened seasons at the club and Yakubu's 25 Premier League goals in that time helped save the club from relegation. After two games of the 2007-2008 season, Yakubu completed his biggest move yet, moving to Everton for £11 million.

    His first season at Everton was quite prolific as he scored 15 Premier League goals to finish amongst the league's top scorers. In the 2008-2009 season, Yakubu started to suffer injuries and loss of form, form which he never got back for the remainder of his stay with the club. He scored 10 Premier League goals in his final three seasons at the club and left in the summer of 2011 and joined Blackburn Rovers.

    He has enjoyed a good start at his new club and should find himself higher on this list when it is reviewed in May. 

    He is the top African scorer in Premier League history.

23. Kevin Phillips

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    Premier League Clubs

    Sunderland (1999-2003 (139/61))

    Southampton (2003-2005 (64/22))

    Aston Villa (2005-2006 (23/4))

    Birmingham City (2009-2011 (33/5))

    Premier League Games: 249

    Premier League Goals: 92

    Strike Rate: 2.70

     

    After grafting around in the lower levels of English football for years, Phillips finally made it to the Premier League in 1999 after helping Sunderland to promotion. His first season couldn't have been better, as Sunderland finished seventh and Phillips won the Premier League Golden Boot with 30 goals. His goals started to dry up in the following seasons and he left Sunderland in 2003 after they were relegated with 61 goals.

    He joined mid-table Premier League club Southampton in 2003 for £3.25 million and formed a decent partnership with James Beattie. He scored 12 Premier League goals in his first season. The next season wasn't as successful as James Beattie left the club in January and Southampton were relegated in May. Philipps scored 22 Premier League goals for Southampton before joining Aston Villa in the summer of 2005 for £1 million.

    His spell at Aston Villa was largely forgetful and he only scored four Premier League goals before dropping down to The Championship to play for West Bromwich Albion. He resurfaced in the Premier League in 2009 after helping another Midlands club, Birmingham City, to promotion. He was a bit-part player in Birmingham's last stay in the league, only scoring five goals in two seasons before they were relegated in May 2011.

    Instead of finding a new Premier League club, Phillips left Birmingham for Blackpool who had also recently been relegated. He still plays there today.  

22. Robbie Keane

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    Premier League Clubs

    Coventry City (1999-2000 (31/12))

    Leeds United (2001-2002 (64/22))

    Tottenham Hotspur (2002-2008 (197/82))

    Liverpool (2008-2009 (19/5))

    Tottenham Hotspur (2009-2011 (41/11))

    West Ham United (2011 (9/2))

    Premier League Games: 361

    Premier League Goals: 134

    Strike Rate: 2.69

     

    Robbie Keane started out in what was then the First Division, playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers before earning a transfer to Premier League strugglers Coventry City in 1999 for £6million. His one season at Coventry was successful as he scored 12 Premier League goals to help Coventry stay in the Premier League. Keane shockingly was bought by Italian giants Internazionale in the summer of 2000 for £13 million.

    After he failed in Italy, he returned to England and joined Premier League contenders Leeds United on loan in January. He scored 9 Premier League goals in 13 games to earn a permanent move to the club in a £12 million move. His formed dropped the following season and he eventually left Leeds on transfer deadline day 2002 signing for Tottenham Hotspur for £7 million.

    Keane would become a Spurs legend in his first spell at the club, never scoring less than 10 Premier League goals in that spell. His best was the 2005-2006 season, when he scored 16 Premier League goals. He helped Spurs to reach Europe in the mid-2000's and formed many strike partnerships with Jermain Defoe, Teddy Sheringham, Mido, Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent.

    After an excellent 2007-2008 season, where he scored 15 Premier League goals, he signed for Liverpool in August 2008 for £20 million. He never fit in at Liverpool though, usually coming off the bench, and scored five Premier League goals for them before rejoining Spurs for £16 million. With this he has become collectively one of the most expensive players ever.

    His return to Spurs was initially successful as he scored five Premier League goals in the second half of the season. But his form dipped the next season with six Premier League goals in 20 games. He then headed north to Scotland and joined Celtic on loan until the end of the season.

    The 2010-2011 was also unsuccessful, as he failed to register in the league for Spurs and went on loan in January again, this time to Premier League strugglers West Ham United, where he only scored two Premier League goals as West Ham were relegated at the end of the season.

    Like many before him, he headed to LA Galaxy in the USA, realizing his Premier League career was over. He has joined Aston Villa on loan this season, we'll see how he stands on this list at the end of the season after that spell is over. 

21. Mark Viduka

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    Premier League Clubs

    Leeds United (2000-2004 (130/59))

    Middlesbrough (2004-2007 (72/26))

    Newcastle United (2007-2009 (38/7))

    Premier League Games: 240

    Premier League Goals: 92

    Strike Rate: 2.60

     

    Mark Viduka had an excellent scoring record before signing for Premier League contenders Leeds United in August 2000 for £6 million from Scottish giants Celtic. He continued his form at Leeds as he helped them to 4th in the Premier League with 17 League goals. He had a decent 2001-2002 season and returned to his prolific form in the latter half of the 2002-2003 season, as Leeds were battling relegation scoring 20 Premier League goals. He scored 59 league goals for Leeds in his four years before leaving in 2004 after they were relegated.

    He signed for Middlesbrough in the summer of 2004 and struck up a great partnership with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Middlesbrough remained a strong Premier League outfit during Viduka's stay, where he also developed a partnership with Yakubu, especially after Hasselbaink left. He scored 26 Premier League goals for Middlesbrough before signing for rivals Newcastle in the summer of 2007 on a free.

    He was brought in as part of a Newcastle side that were meant to challenge for Europe, but it would not go that way. After an injury hit first season, Viduka only scored seven league goals and in the 2008-2009 season he only appeared in the league 12 times and didn't score as Newcastle were shockingly relegated from the league. 

    Due to his poor form and weight issues, and with his enthusiasm for the game non-existent, Newcastle released Viduka from his contract following relegation. He remained without a club for about a year and a half before announcing his retirement in late 2010 at the age of 35, despite having not played since he was 33.

    It is unknown what he's been up to in the last two-and-a-half years.

20. Ole Gunnar Solskjær

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    Premier League Clubs

    Machester United (1996-2007 (235/91))

    Premier League Games: 235

    Premier League Goals: 91

    Strike Rate: 2.58

     

    Ole Gunnar Solskjær signed for Manchester United for £1.2 million in July 1996 and would go on to become a Manchester United legend. Initially meant to be a fringe player, Ferguson was forced to start him after his excellent form after he scored 18 Premier League goals in his first season. After injuries in his second season, his form dipped and he was relegated to impact sub status when Dwight York signed for Manchester United in 1998.

    As Yorke and Andy Cole's form began to dip, it benefited Solskjær, and after two seasons of consistent scoring he formed a partnership with new boy Ruud van Nistelrooy in the 2001-2002 season and scored 17 Premier League goals. The 2002-2003 season was also an excellent season for Solksjær; despite not scoring many goals, he provided many assists and played all but one game in the Premier League. 

    After only a month and a half into the 2003-2004 season, Solksjær suffered a knee injury in a Champions League game that left him out until February. Despite returning and being an important part of the end of the season run, in he failed to register a Premier League goal for the season and only played 13 games.

    He underwent knee ligament surgery in August 2004 that would leave him out for the whole season. He returned a year and a half later in December 2005 but another injury kept him out again until March, when he played two games before getting injured again. He finally made a successful return for the 2006-2007 title-winning season, scoring seven league goals in 19 games.

    He underwent more surgery during the close season and played in pre-season matches but after the surgery failed he decided to retire from football in August 2007 at the age of 34 after scoring 91 Premier League goals in 235 games which would have surely been higher if he had not spent so many seasons as a sub, out of position or injured. In his time at United he won six league titles.

    He went on to do his coaching badges and became the manager of the Reserves as well as a coach for the Senior team before leaving in 2011 to take charge of Norwegian side Molde. Many feel he is a favorite to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at United. 

19. Dimitar Berbatov

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    Premier League Clubs

    Tottenham Hotspur (2006-2008 (70/27))

    Manchester United (2008-2011 (96/41))

    Premier League Games: 166

    Premier League Goals: 68

    Strike Rate: 2.44

     

    Dimitar Berbatov has had his criticisms throughout his career due to his laid-back style but there is no denying his talent. After playing for Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen for six years he moved to Premier League European contenders Tottenham Hotspur for £11 million in July 2006.

    He immediately formed a strong partnership with Robbie Keane and scored 12 league goals, which helped Spurs to a fifth place finish. He was also named in the Premier League Team of the Season.

    The 2007-2008 season was his most prolific season with Tottenham,as he scored 15 league goals but, as in the previous two transfer windows, Berbatov was heavily sought after by Premier League champions Manchester United. After months of rumors, Berbatov finally signed for  United just before the transfer window close in September 2008 for £30.75 million, making him one of the most expensive players ever.

    Despite doing things like this in his first season, it wasn't prolific and he ended the season with nine Premier League goals, which was his lowest total in the league so far and led to questions if he suited the style of Manchester United. Despite a more prolific 2009-2010 season where he scored 12 Premier League goals, fans were calling for the club to sell him.

    The 2010-2011 season was a make-or-break season for him at Manchester United and he made it, scoring 20 Premier League goals to win the Golden Boot, although it was shared with Manchester City's Carlos Tevez. Despite scoring 20 league goals, new questions began to emerge as to whether he was consistent enough as he scored a hat-trick and five against Blackburn. After that season he was again named in the Team of the Season.

    He has so far won two league titles with Manchester United and after a slow start to the current season, where he rarely played, he has hit fine form, which should see him move up to list when it is reviewed.   

18. Wayne Rooney

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    Premier League Clubs

    Everton (2002-2004 (67/15))

    Manchester United (2004-2011 (217/102))

    Premier League Games: 284

    Premier League Goals: 117

    Strike Rate: 2.42

     

    Wayne Rooney rose through the ranks at Everton before doing this at the age of 16 to become an instant star. That goal against Arsenal made him a first team regular and, despite never being a prolific goal scorer at Everton, showed that he was going to be one of the best players in the world some day.

    He scored 15 Premier League goals in his time at Everton before Manchester United came calling in August 2004. After rejecting an offer from Newcastle, Everton accepted a £26.5 million bid from Manchester United, and Rooney became the most expensive teenager ever.

    He formed a partnership with Ruud van Nistelrooy and scored 27 Premier League goals in his first two seasons, in which he won the PFA Young Player of the Year in both. He became known for being a scorer of great goals rather than a great goal scorer for goals like this one against Newcastle and this against Middlesbrough. He was also named in the 2005-2006 Team of the Season. 

    After the incident with Cristiano Ronaldo was resolved in August 2006, Rooney went on the help Ronaldo become the best player in the world. He scored his fair share of goals as well, scoring 38 Premier League goals between 2006 and 2009, but was often played out of position. He won three Premier League titles with Manchester United in that time. In June 2009, Ronaldo left United for Real Madrid and it was time for Rooney to step up.

    He didn't disappoint, and went on to score 26 Premier League goals in the 2009-2010 season, which was his highest total so far. He also won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and was named in the Team of the Season. After United failed to win the title and failed to bring in any big names in the summer of 2010, Rooney began to question the club's ambitions, and handed in a transfer request in October.

    Sir Alex Ferguson convinced Rooney to stay and sign a long-term contract, but he had to win over the fans once again after first losing form and then handing in the transfer request. It took him a while, but on New Years Day, 2011, he scored his first goal from open play and ended the season strong with 13 Premier League goals, including this goal against Manchester City.

    Rooney has continued his form into this season and I expect him to move up this list. In fact, Rooney has to ability to break all goal-scoring records in England at the age of 26, and if he had been more ruthless throughout his career so far, he could be even closer now. 

17. Robin Van Persie

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    Premier League Clubs

    Arsenal (2004-2011 (156/66))

    Premier League Games: 156

    Premier League Goals: 66

    Strike Rate: 2.36

     

    Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal in May 2004 for just under £3 million as a 20-year-old. He originally played as a supporting striker or a wide man to support the other forwards like Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Emmanuel Adebayor. 

    In his first couple of seasons he scored sparingly, but when he did, it was special, like this against Charlton. He gained a reputation as an injury-prone player and this was further proved after he moved into a more central role.

    He started both the 2008-2009 season and 2009-2010 season well as one of the top scorers in the league, but injuries suffered throughout the season led to him finishing with totals of 11 and nine respectively. The 2009-2010 season injury was especially hard for Arsenal as Emmanuel Adebayor had been sold in the summer, meaning van Persie was the only centre forward.

    He started the 2010-2011 season injured and many wondered if he'd get back into the team due to the form of Arsenal's new direct centre forward Marouane Chamakh. But he proved the doubters wrong. After he returned in November he went on an unbelievable run which led to him scoring 18 league goals between November and May. He would have certainly won it if he'd been fit for the whole season as he only finished two behind.

    He has also gained a reputation for his free kicks becoming one of the best in the world, some of which can be seen here. He has now become Arsenal's captain and as of May 2011 has scored 66 Premier League goals, but due to his form this season where he is the current top scorer, that is sure to rise, as well as his placing on this list. 

16. Les Ferdinand

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    Premier League Clubs

    Queens Park Ranger (1992-1995 (110/60))

    Newcastle United (1995-1997 (68/41))

    Tottenham Hotspur (1997-2003 (118/33))

    West Ham United (2003 (14/2))

    Leicester City (2003-2004 (29/12))

    Bolton Wanderers (2004-2005 (12/1))

    Premier League Games: 351

    Premier League Goals: 149

    Strike Rate: 2.35

     

    Les Ferdinand was already a First Division regular with QPR when it was renamed the Premier League in 1992. With QPR, Ferdinand went on to be one of the finest scorers in the early years of the Premier League. After a very successful season in 1994-1995, where he scored 24 goals, he earned a big money transfer to title contenders Newcastle for £6 million.

    His first season at Newcastle was hugely successful as they finished second to Manchester United. Ferdinand scored 25 goals to win the PFA Player's Player of the Year and was named in the Team of the Season. The following summer he was joined by Alan Shearer and despite not being as prolific as the previous season, still scored 16 goals and helped Newcastle to yet another second place finish.

    In the summer of 1997 he transferred to Spurs, his boyhood club, for £6 million. However, age had caught up with the 30-year-old Ferdinand and although he was adored by the fans during his five-and-a-half year stay at the club, injuries started to take their toll on Ferdinand and he only once reached 10 league goals.

    In January 2003 he moved across London to an underperforming West Ham who were relegated at the end of the season with Ferdinand playing a vital part in their run in. He rediscovered his prolific form at newly-promoted Leicester in 2003 where he scored 12 goals, but that was unable to save them from relegation. He moved to Bolton in 2004 for once last season in the Premier League but only managed 12 games and one goal.

    He dropped down to The Championship to play for Reading and Watford before hanging up the boots in 2006 at the age of 39. 

15. Robbie Fowler

18 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Liverpool (1993-2001 (236/120))

    Leeds United (2001-2003 (30/14))

    Manchester City (2003-2006 (80/20))

    Liverpool (2006-2007 (30/8))

    Blackburn Rovers (2008 (3/0))

    Premier League Games: 388

    Premier League Goals: 166

    Strike Rate: 2.33

     

    Robbie Fowler broke into the Liverpool first team at the age of 18 and had a very prolific first season, scoring 12 goals in 28 games. In the next two seasons he was among the league's top scorers, scoring 25 and 28 respectively, and he also won the PFA Young Player of the Year in both those seasons. Fowler's form began to dip and, after scoring 18 goals in the 1996-1997 season, he only scored 10+ goals in the league once for the remainder of his first spell at the club.

    It was time for a new challenge due to a bad relationship with Gerard Houllier and being behind Michael Owen and Emile Heskey in the pecking order. He moved to Leeds in December 2001 for £12 million and despite a decent scoring record, he was never able to break into the team and left the club just over a year later in a £6 million switch to Manchester City.

    After a good spell at Man. City, where he was a regular starter, he was never prolific and rejoined Liverpool in January 2006 on a free transfer. Although his second spell at Liverpool was nostalgic and prolific, he was never a regular and with the emerging signing of Fernando Torres he decided to pursue other options.

    He dropped down to The Championship with Cardiff City for a year. A year later he joined Blackburn Rovers at the start of the 2008-2009 season on a free transfer but after only three appearances with no goals it was quite clear that he wasn't up to the standards of the modern Premier League. He still plays today where he is the player manager of Muangthong United in Thailand after a two-year spell in Australia.  

14. Cristiano Ronaldo

19 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Manchester United (2003-2009 (196/84))

    Premier League Games: 196

    Premier League Goals: 84

    Strike Rate: 2.33

     

    I know people are going to say he's a winger, but he played as a striker during his final years at the club and anyone who finished as the Premier League top scorer and played as a striker deserves his place on this list. Ronaldo signed for United as an 18-year-old in August 2003 for £12.25 million and was originally seen as a showboater and not strong enough to play in the Premier League. He scored four Premier League goals in his first season at the club.

    In the next two seasons he improved on his criticisms immensely while also improving his goal scoring, making five goals in the 2004-2005 season and nine in the 2005-2006 season. He was also named in the 2005-2006 Premier League Team of the Season.

    After an incident at the 2006 World Cup many thought he wouldn't come back to United due to the speculated strained relationship with him and his teammates who played for England—especially Wayne Rooney—as well as the nationwide hate from fans. Alex Ferguson fought off Real Madrid and convinced Ronaldo to stay and what happened would go down as one of the best periods in the club's history.

    He started the 2006-2007 season on fire and had scored 17 Premier League goals by the end of it, which helped United to their first Premier League title in four years. He would also win the PFA Players' Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year and was once again named in the Team of the Season.

    After once again fighting off Real Madrid, Ronaldo went on to have his most successful season yet after moving inside. He won the Golden Boot, scoring 31 goals, and once again won the title with United. He was named PFA Players' Player of the Year and was named in the Team of the Season. These exploits led to him winning the World Player of the Year award in December 2008.

    While not as successful as the previous seasons, the 2008-2009 season still saw Ronaldo score 18 Premier League goals, win the Premier League and be named in the Team of the Season. In June 2009 Ronaldo finally earned his dream move and signed for Spanish giants Real Madrid for £80 million. He has since gone on to break records there.  

13. Darren Bent

20 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Ipswich Town (2001-2002 (5/1))

    Charlton Athletic (2005-2007 (68/31))

    Tottenham Hotspur (2007-2009 (60/18))

    Sunderland (2009-2011 (58/32))

    Aston Villa (2011 (16/9))

    Premier League Games: 207

    Premier League Goals: 91

    Strike Rate: 2.27

     

    Darren Bent progressed through the ranks at Ipswich to make his debut in the Premier League in late 2002 at the age of 18. He ended the season with one goal in five games. Ipswich however were relegated at the end of the season. He stayed with Ipswich for another three years in The Championship, gaining a good goal-scoring record before finding his way back to the Premier League with Charlton in the summer of 2005 for £2.5 million.

    Bent was part of the Charlton team that played some of the best football in the country and finished in the top half in the league. Bent finished that season as the top English goal scorer in the Premier League with 18 goals. The team started to break up and by the start of next season they were the shadow of the team from a year earlier. Bent still scored 13 Premier League goals but that wasn't able to save Charlton from relegation.

    Bent went on to join Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2007 for a huge £16.5 million. He had stiff competition throughout his time at Spurs and was unable to reach the form he had with Charlton in the Premier League. He scored 18 Premier League goals for Spurs in his two seasons at the club, which was the  total of his first season at Charlton.

    He signed for Sunderland in the summer of 2009 for £16.5 million and soon regained the form he showed earlier in his Premier League career. He finished his first season with Sunderland as one of the Premier League's top scorers with 24 goals. The next season he was joined at the club by Ghanian striker Asamoah Gyan and they formed an excellent partnership, with Bent scoring eight Premier League goals before January.

    Surprisingly, Bent left Sunderland in a £24 million move to Aston Villa in January 2011. He scored an amazing 32 Premier League goals in 54 games for Sunderland. He ended the season well, scoring nine Premier League goals for Aston Villa,which made his season total 17 including his goals from Sunderland.   

12. Emmanuel Adebayor

21 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Arsenal (2006-2009 (105/46))

    Manchester City (2009-2011 (34/15))

    Premier League Games: 139

    Premier League Goals: 61

    Strike Rate: 2.27

     

    Emmanuel Adebayor signed for Arsenal in January 2006 for £7 million from French side Monaco. He was initially backup to Thierry Henry but still scored four Premier League goals in 13 games. The 2006-2007 was Thierry Henry's only injury-riddled season at Arsenal, so Adebayor was given significant game time, scoring eight Premier League goals in 29 games, which wasn't the return everybody expected of him.

    After Henry left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2007, Adebayor was promoted to main striker and reacted well, scoring goals like this and this. He ended that season with 24 Premier League goals and was named in the Team of the Season.

    The following season was mixed for Adebayor. Fans questioned his commitment as van Persie started to emerge as the main striker. He only scored 10 Premier League goals, which was surprising, considering his form in the previous season. He began to have problems with Wenger and his teammates, which led to him being sold to big-spending Manchester City for £25 million in the summer of 2009.

    He formed a partnership with Man. City's other new signing Carlos Tevez and even scored a goal against his former club Arsenal which led to this celebration. Poor form towards the end of the season meant he only scored 14 Premier League goals, and by the 2010-2011 season he was surplus to requirements at City and only score one goal. He spent the second half of the season on loan at Spanish side Real Madrid.

    With no future at City, Adebayor sought a new club, but with no one willing to pay his high wages he joined Arsenal's rivals Tottenham on loan. So far he has been successful and will surely move up the list when it is reviewed. 

11. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

22 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Leeds United (1997-1999 (69/34))

    Chelsea (2000-2004 (136/70))

    Middlesbrough (2004-2006 (58/23))

    Charlton Athletic (2006-2007 (25/2))

    Premier League Games: 288

    Premier League Goals: 128

    Strike Rate: 2.25

     

    Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, I believe, is one of the most underrated strikers in the history of the league. He joined Leeds United from Portuguese side Boavista in 1997 for £2 million. He became an integral part of the Leeds United side that came back to life in the late 1990s. In his two seasons at the club he scored 34 Premier League goals. In the 1998-1999 season he scored 18 Premier League goals and shared the Golden Boot with Manchester United's Dwight Yorke and Liverpool's Michael Owen.

    He left Leeds in the summer of 1999 to join Atletico Madrid for £12 million and enjoyed an excellent season in Spain before returning to England in the summer of 2000, joining Chelsea for £15 million. He returned to England in excellent form scoring 46 Premier League goals in his first two seasons while Chelsea finished high up in the league. In the 2002-2003 season he suffered a bit of a dip in form and only scored 11 Premier League goals as Chelsea finished 4th and qualified for the Champions League.

    In the summer of 2003, Chelsea were taken over by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich which led to a massive change in the squad. Surprisingly Hasselbaink stayed at the club despite Chelsea signing forward and he still finished as Chelsea's top scorer in the league with 13 Premier League goals. He did, however, leave in the summer of 2004 for Middlesbrough.

    At Middlesbrough he formed a good partnership with Mark Viduka and scored 23 Premier League goals during his two year stay at the club. He made his final stop in England at London club Charlton Athletic but it was clear that he wasn't Premier League standard anymore after only two Premier League goals in a season where Charlton were relegated.

    He dropped down to The Championship and enjoyed a season with Cardiff City before retiring at the end of the season at the age of 36. Since retirement he has worked as a pundit while also earning his coaching badges; he is a current coach at Nottingham Forest. 

10. Eric Cantona

23 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Leeds United (1992 (13/6))

    Manchester United (1992-1997 (143/64))

    Premier League Games: 156

    Premier League Goals: 70

    Strike Rate: 2.22

     

    Eric Cantona arrived in England in 1992 from Nimes for less than £1 million after being a journeyman in France for years. He helped Leeds win the last First Division title. He was hot property upon the start of the inaugural Premier League season and scored six Premier League goals in 13 games before signing for Manchester United for just over £1 million. He went on the help them win their first league title in 26 years. He ended that first season with 15 Premier League goals.

    The next season he was on fire and scored 18 Premier League goals while leading Manchester United to another league title. That season he was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year and was also named in the Team of the Season.

    After an impressive start to the 1994-1995 season with 12 Premier League goals, he was involved in an incident in a match against Crystal Palace, when he was sent off for kung-fu kicking a Palace fan in the chest. He was then given an eight match ban, which meant he would miss the rest of the season and United would miss out on the Premier League. This all led to this legendary interview.

    He returned to action in October of 1995 and would score 14 Premier League goals as United went on to win another Premier League title. The next season he was elected captain after the departure of Steve Bruce and wasn't as prolific as previous seasons, but United still won the Premier League title and Cantona scored this great goal against Sunderland. He retired at the end of the season just after turning 31, which shocked everyone.

    After retiring he stayed away from football to become an actor. He also played beach soccer for France for years and now is the Director of Soccer at the revived New York Cosmos.

9. Carlos Tevez

24 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    West Ham United (2006-2007 (26/7))

    Manchester United (2007-2009 (63/19))

    Manchester City (2009-2011 (63/43))

    Premier League Games: 152

    Premier League Goals: 69

    Strike Rate: 2.20

     

    Carlos Tevez was one of the hottest properties in world football so it shocked the world when he, along with Javier Mascherano, signed for mediocre Premier League side West Ham United in August 2006 for undisclosed fees. His season at West Ham was eventful as he took time to adjust to English football and West Ham were battling relegation. He did however find form at the end of the season and scored seven Premier League goals in the last couple of games to save them from relegation.

    There was speculation about who actually owned Tevez in the summer of 2007. He wasn't completely owned by West Ham but was owned by a sports group called MSI. They payed West Ham £2 million to release him from his contract and he signed for Premier League champions Manchester United on a two-year loan deal.

    Tevez was loved by fans during his time at United because of his hard-working nature but because they possessed players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov, Tevez often found himself playing on the wing or off the bench. He won the Premier League twice with Manchester United and scored 19 Premier League goals but after his two year loan had ended he wanted a new challenge and left United.

    He didn't leave Manchester though as he surprisingly signed for United's big spending neighbors Manchester City for £25 million. He was instantly made the most important player on the team and he returned the favor by scoring 23 Premier League goals and leading City to fifth place. The next season was better as Tevez scored 20 Premier League goals to jointly win the Golden Boot with Berbatov of United. He was also named in the Team of the Season. He also helped City to a third place finish that season.

    I believe this season Tevez has disgraced football and I don't think a player with his ego is good for the game. I won't deny the man's talent, though. 

8. Andy Cole

25 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Newcastle United (1993-1995 (58/43))

    Manchester United (1995-2001 (195/93))

    Blackburn Rovers (2001-2004 (83/27))

    Fulham (2004-2005 (31/12))

    Manchester City (2005-2006 (22/9))

    Portsmouth (2006-2007 (18/3))

    Sunderland 2007-2008 (7/0))

    Premier League Games: 414

    Premier League Games: 189

    Strike Rate: 2.19

     

    Andy Cole the goal. Andy or Andrew's Premier League career started with the newly promoted Newcastle in 1993. In Newcastle's first season back in top flight they finished third, largely thanks to Cole's goals who scored 34 that season to finish the top scorer and also winning the PFA Young Player of the Year that season.

    The next season he was hot property after starting the season well, and he earned a transfer to Premier League champions Manchester United in January 1995 for £7 million.

    He managed 12 goals in 18 games in his first half a season at United, even scoring five against Ipswich while helping United regain their Premier League title. However, due to competition from Eric Cantona, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and later Ruud van Nistelrooy, he would never be as prolific as people thought he'd be.

    Despite scoring over 100 goals for United and near 100 league goals, he never had a 20+ goal season, with his highest being 19 in the 1999-2000 season when he was also named in the Team of the Year.

    He was still a winner at United, winning five league titles during his time there. Due to the arrival and impact of van Nistelrooy he was forced to leave.

    He would never be the same again after moving to Blackburn, Fulham, Manchester City (Judas), Portsmouth and Sunderland for short spells, never finding prolific form at any of the clubs before dropping down to The Championship and retiring in 2009. 

7. Michael Owen

26 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Liverpool (1996-2004 (216/118))

    Newcastle United (2005-2009 (71/26))

    Manchester United (2009-2011 (30/5))

    Premier League Games: 317

    Premier League Goals: 149

    Strike Rate: 2.12

     

    After making his league debut for Liverpool just after his 17th birthday, Michael Owen scored his first league goal on the final day of the 1996-1997 season.

    The next season he got his opportunity as a regular in the first team, winning the Golden Boot with 18 goals and repeating the feat the next season in fewer games, although both times he had to share the award: first with Blackburn's Chris Sutton and Coventry City's Dion Dublin and then with Manchester United's Dwight Yorke and Leeds United's Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

    He also won the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1998 and was named in that season's Team of the Year.

    After an injury-laden 1999-2000 season where he only scored 11 goals, Michael bounced back and finished as Liverpool's top scorer in the next four seasons, which would turn out to be his final seasons at the club. After Rafa Benitez came to Liverpool, Michael felt it would be best for him to move on and he joined Spanish giants Real Madrid for £8 million in August 2004.

    After a prolific yet unsettling year in Spain, Owen returned to England and joined Newcastle United in a £17 million move, a club record. At Newcastle, however, Michael started to experience injury problems and only played 14 league games in his first two seasons, scoring seven goals.

    He regained fitness the following season and finished as top scorer in an underperforming Newcastle side with 11 goals. The 2008-2009 season was disastrous for Newcastle, and Owen himself received criticism from the fans for not seeming committed to the club. At the end of the season Newcastle were relegated.

    Making it quite clear that he wasn't ready to drop down to The Championship, Michael looked for another club and it came as a shock to all when that club turned out to be Liverpool's arch rivals Manchester United. Despite not being a regular at Manchester United, Owen has made a considerable impact scoring the winner in a Manchester derby in September 2009 and winning his first league title in 2011.

    It has been argued had he never left Liverpool he would have broken Alan Shearer's record by now.

6. Didier Drogba

27 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Chelsea (2004-2011 (202/95))

    Premier League Games: 202

    Premier League Goals: 95

    Strike Rate: 2.12

     

    Didier Drogba signed for Chelsea for £24 million in the summer of 2004 in their bid to win the Premier League. He didn't make the impact at first, only scoring 22 Premier League goals in his first two seasons, despite Chelsea winning the Premier League both seasons. He was seen as an unreliable player who was bad for the game because of his play acting.

    The next season erased those thoughts as he won the Golden Boot by scoring 20 Premier League goals, including this goal and this goal. He was named in the Team of the Season. He instantly became a legend in the fans' eyes, as well as many pundits hailing him as the best centre forward in the world due to his power.

    The next two seasons were injury-hit seasons for Drogba and he never seemed to get a run of the games before getting injured. He scored 13 Premier League goals in those two seasons but because of the 2006-2007 season his reputation would live on in everyone's eyes. Those three seasons were disappointing for Chelsea domestically as they failed to win the Premier League in any of those seasons.

    The next season would be phenomenal for Drogba and Chelsea. They were simply unstoppable and scored over 100 goals in the Premier League, with Drogba scoring 29 of them to once again win the Golden Boot and be named in the Team of the Season. This led to Chelsea winning a third Premier League title.

    The next season, Chelsea and Drogba started the season the same way they ended the last—on fire. They went on a massive winning run, with Drogba scoring goals for fun. They would hit a rough patch in the winter that they never recovered from and Drogba would finish with 11 Premier League goals.

    It would appear that Drogba is on his way out of Chelsea sooner rather than later, but the man's legacy will live on. 

5. Ian Wright

28 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Arsenal (1992-1998 (191/104))

    West Ham United (1998-1999 (22/9))

    Premier League Games: 213

    Premier League Goals: 113

    Strike Rate: 1.88

     

    "Ian Wright Wright Wright!" The inaugural Premier League season was Wright's second at Arsenal as he joined them a year earlier for £2.5 million. He was one of the best Premier League strikers in his early years, often finishing up around the leading goal scorers.

    In the first Premier League season he scored 15 Premier League goals and was named in the Team of the Season. The next year he bettered this record with 23 Premier League goals. In fact, he never scored less than 10 goals for Arsenal in a Premier League season.

    In the 1996-1997 Premier League season, Wright once again scored 23 Premier League goals to once again be named in the Team of the Season. The next season was his lowest-scoring one for Arsenal as he scored 10 Premier League goals, but he won his first and only Premier League title. He would leave Arsenal at the end of that season and sign for less than £1 million.

    His one season at West Ham was the only season he would score less than 10 in the Premier League, as he scored nine goals. He was no longer a Premier League quality striker as he dropped down to the First Division to play for Nottingham Forest, then six months in the SPL playing for Celtic before ending his career in 2000 playing in the Second Division for Burnley at the age of 36.

    Since his career has ended he has gone on to become a TV show host, football pundit, newspaper columnist and infamously a pop star. He has also been a mentor to his footballer sons Shaun and Bradley Wright-Phillips. 

4. Fernando Torres

29 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Liverpool (2007-2011 (102/65))

    Chelsea (2011 (14/1))

    Premier League Games: 116

    Premier League Goals: 66

    Strike Rate: 1.75

     

    I know all the jokes about him now, but on form, Fernando Torres is one of the top five finest strikers I've ever seen play. After starting his career at boyhood club Atletico Madrid in Spain, Torres signed for Liverpool for £20 million in July 2007. He instantly made an impact scoring this goal against Chelsea and 23 other goals to finish with 24 Premier League goals in his first season. He was named in the Team of the Season.

    The following season he began to experience injury problems but was still instrumental in Liverpool's title challenge as they eventually finished in second place. Individually he scored 14 Premier League goals but provided many assists to once again be named in the Team of the Season.

    The next season was another injury-hit season for Torres and a poor one in general for Liverpool. Liverpool finished in seventh place, but despite being injured for a large chunk of it, Torres still scored an incredible 18 Premier League goals in just 22 games.

    He started the 2010-2011 season well for Liverpool scoring nine goals in the Premier League. However, Liverpool were still performing poor as a team in the league and Torres wanted out. He ended his Liverpool career with 65 Premier League goals in 102 games. In January 2011, Torres became the most expensive British transfer in history following his £50 million move to title contenders Chelsea.

    His time at Chelsea has been a disaster to say the least. He played 14 games for Chelsea in the 2010-2011 season and registered one goal. This season hasn't been much better and when this list is reviewed he will likely drop a few places.

3. Alan Shearer

30 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Blackburn Rovers (1992-1996 (138/112))

    Newcastle United (1996-2006 (303/148))

    Premier League Games: 441

    Premier League Goals:   260

    Strike Rate: 1.69

     

    Alan Shearer is the Premier Leagues all-time top scorer by a long way. He started off with Blackburn, who he signed for from Southampton in the summer of 1992 for £3.3 million as Kenny Dalglish tried to build a squad to win the league.

    He instantly made an impact finishing as the club's top scorer in each of his four seasons, scoring 30+ goals in the final three, one of which they won the title. He formed a formidable partnership with Chris Sutton known as "S&S." He won the Premier League Golden Boot in 1995 and 1996 with goal totals of 34 and 31. He also won the PFA Player Players' of the Year in the title-winning season of 1995 and was named in the Premier League Team of the Season in all four of his seasons at Blackburn.

    After a transfer to Manchester United failed, Shearer moved to Kevin Keegan's Newcastle for a then-world record £15 million. His first season at Newcastle was excellent as he won the Golden Boot with a total of 25 goals, PFA Players' Player of the Year and was once again named in the Premier League Team of the Year.

    Before the 1997-1998 season kicked off, Shearer sustained ankle ligament damage and was reduced to 17 games and two goals.

    The rest of his career at Newcastle was blighted by injury and he never reached his Blackburn form. He did have a few more prolific seasons though, with  23 Premier League goals in 1999-2000 and 2001-2002. He had an excellent 2002-2003 season where he scored 17 goals including this cracker against Everton and was named in the Team of the Season.

    He also scored 22 Premier League goals in the 2003-2004 season, but most of his career after the 1997 season was blighted by injury.

    Since retiring he has become one of the top football pundits in the world on Match of the Day and briefly managed Newcastle at the end of the 2008-2009 season when they were relegated.

2. Ruud Van Nistelrooy

31 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Manchester United (2001-2006 (150/95))

    Premier League Games: 150

    Premier League Goals: 95

    Strike Rate: 1.57

     

    If van Nistelrooy hadn't been injured in 2000 he would have been a Manchester United player a year early and won one more Premier League title. He did eventually sign for United on his 25th birthday on the 1st of July, 2001, for £19 million. He immediately made an impact and went on a run where he scored in eight consecutive games. He would end the season with 23 Premier League goals, was named in the Team of the Season and won the PFA Players' Player of the Year.

    The next season he was simply unstoppable, scoring 25 Premier League goals to win the Golden Boot and helping United to the Premier League title, which would be his one and only at United. This goal against Fulham was one of his highlights of the season.

    He also became a cult hero at United for being a penalty specialist.

    In the 2003-2004 season he was once again prolific, scoring 20 Premier League goals while also being named in the Team of the Season. The 2003-2004 was marred by this incident which led to multiple players getting fined. After the arrival of Wayne Rooney in September 2004, they initially formed a decent partnership but that season would be the first and only season at United where van Nistelrooy would be marred by injuries. He only scored six Premier League goals.

    The next season van Nistelrooy started on fire and had scored 20 Premier League goals by Christmas, including this against Charlton. Due to the return from injury and form of Louis Saha, plus the apparently strained relationship between van Nistelrooy and Sir Alex Ferguson he was rarely featured in the second half of the season and only scored one Premier League goal, ending a season that should have reached 30 Premier League goals with only 21.

1. Thierry Henry

32 of 33

    Premier League Clubs

    Arsenal (1999-2007 (254/174))

    Premier League Games: 254

    Premier League Goals: 174

    Strike Rate: 1.45

     

    Thierry Henry was a phenomenon. After being rescued from a disastrous spell at Juventus by Arsene Wenger for £11 million, he was originally a winger but soon found his home as a centre forward. After scoring 34 goals in his first two league seasons, he was made the focal point of the team that won the Premier League title in 2002, when he scored 24 goals to finish as the winner of the Golden Boot.

    After a second place finish in 2003 where he won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and still scored 24 goals, he went on to be part of the unbeaten Arsenal side known as "The Invincibles" that won the Premier League title in 2004, when he scored 30 league goals to once again win the Golden Boot and once again win the PFA Players' Player of the Year.

    In his final three seasons at the club, despite not winning any league titles with Arsenal, he still walked away with the Golden Boot in two out of the three seasons. His final year at the club was plagued with injury, and with Wenger's reluctance to resign players 30 years old or older, Henry left in a £24 million move to Barcelona.

    He became Arsenal's all-time leading scorer in the league, in Europe and overall. After a few years in Spain, he is currently on loan back at Arsenal from the US team New York Red Bulls.

Conclusion

33 of 33

    I hope you enjoyed that, as I certainly enjoyed writing it. Again if you have info on some of the players I mentioned in the second slide who I couldn't find info on the games they played, please let me know.

    Any feedback good or bad, leave it below and I'll reply. Don't know how there can be bad feedback on the article since it's fact and  not opinion, but if you do, fire away I'd love to hear from you.

    Inbox me any questions because I'd love to start a Q&A. 

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