Manchester United's 20 Best Strikers of All Time

Yoosof FarahSenior Writer IIIFebruary 22, 2012

Manchester United's 20 Best Strikers of All Time

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    Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Will Keane and maybe even Federico Macheda could be on the list of Manchester United's best strikers of all time in the future.

    But for now they're not, as they have many games and goals to go before they can be considered for inclusion into the annals of United's illustrious history.

    For a club with a simple principle to score more goals than the opposition, which has brought so much success down the years, the Red Devils naturally have had many great strikers represent the team.

    Here are the top 20 of them.

Teddy Sheringham

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    Teddy Sheringham scored the equaliser and assisted the winner against Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou to win Manchester United the 1999 UEFA Champions League, and the Treble.

    Add in a goal scored in the FA Cup final that season and Sheringham rightfully takes his place in the list of United's best strikers.

    Goals scored: 47

Liam Whelan

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    Had Liam Whelan not sadly perished in the Munich Air Disaster at the age of 22, he would undoubtedly have gone to become a colossal success at Manchester United.

    The youngster was instrumental in helping United win consecutive league titles in 1956 and 1957, having developed quickly at Old Trafford to make 95 appearances for the club.

    Goals scored: 52

Dwight Yorke

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    Dwight Yorke was signed by Manchester United for £12.6 million in August 1998. He didn't let his huge price tag affect him as he netted 30 goals in his first season, being one of the most important players in United's success that season.

    Forging a sensational strike partnership with another player on this list, Yorke was pivotal in the Red Devils winning that historic Treble.

    Goals scored: 66

Joe Cassidy

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    Joe Cassidy was the first ever Manchester United legend.

    Playing for Newton Heath (United's former name) at the back end of the 19th century, Cassidy helped the side avoid relegation, before establishing them as a force in the league.

    His goals also helped the cash-strapped club stay afloat when he moved to Manchester City for a colossal £250. 

    Goals scored: 99

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Cristiano Ronaldo came to Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon with a big £12.24 million fee. People questioned how so much money could be spent on a young, unproven commodity.

    After scoring match-winning Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup goals, being sold for a world-record £80 million and giving the club, amongst several trophies, a £67.76 million profit, nobody was questioning his ability or price tag.

    Goals scored: 118

Andy Cole

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    Andy Cole was signed for a British record £7 million from Newcastle United in January 1995.

    In his time at United, he had to deal with a double leg-break injury, putting aside his hate for Teddy Sheringham and Sir Alex Ferguson making it publicly clear he didn't want Cole at the club.

    Yet he still was a consistent goal scorer and played in a vital part in shaping United's history, especially in the 1998-99 Treble-winning season.

    Goals scored: 121

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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    Javier Hernandez will do very well in his career to get anywhere near the level of Manchester United goal-poaching legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    The "baby-faced assassin" scored the winner in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final, and always popped up at key moments for United throughout his 11-year career at the club.

    Goals scored: 126

Brian McClair

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    Brian McClair's £850,000 transfer fee when he moved to Manchester United from Celtic today looks like the bargain of the century.

    The Scotland international was pivotal in the winning of four Premier League titles, three FA Cup trophies and the League Cup throughout his time at the club.

    Goals scored: 127

Tommy Taylor

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    This is what Manchester United's official website has to say about Tommy Taylor:

    Tommy Taylor is regarded by those who saw him play as the greatest centre-forward ever to represent Manchester United and England.

    He was the finest header of a ball in his era, his control and first-time passing immaculate, his scoring rate for club and country extraordinary. In fact, he was so good that the great Alfredo Di Stefano of Real Madrid dubbed him 'Magnifico'.

    Goals scored: 131

David Herd

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    Samir Nasri could've taken note last summer from David Herd.

    Herd was hugely successful at Arsenal, scoring 97 league goals in 166 games, but left the club due to their lack of trophies.

    Sir Matt Busby snapped him up for Manchester United in 1961 for £40,000 and he went on to become a legend, scoring priceless goals in the league for United, as well as two goals to win the 1963 FA Cup Final against Leicester City.

    Goals scored: 145

Stan Pearson

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    Stan Pearson signed as a professional for Manchester United in 1937, went off to fight in World War II and came back to score a flurry of goals to take the Red Devils to the 1948 FA Cup title and 1952 First Division title.

    He formed a strike partnership with another United legend that totally eclipses the one formed by Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke.

    Goals scored: 148

Mark Hughes

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    It says a lot about the talent of Mark Hughes that after scoring 17 league goals in one season for Manchester United, he was sold to FC Barcelona and loaned out to Bayern Munich, before returning to United to score over 20 goals in his first season back.

    And the fact that after leaving United for Chelsea he never scored in double figures again showed just how well he played for the Old Trafford outfit.

    Goals scored: 163

Joe Spence

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    Joe Spence was the star of Manchester United between WWI and WWII. How he never won a major trophy in his career is astonishing.

    Throughout his 14-year spell at the club between 1919 and 1933, historians say he was locally known as "Mr. Soccer" and the catchphrase "Give it to Joe!" was the most-sung terrace chant at Old Trafford during his career.

    Goals scored: 168

Wayne Rooney

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    Wayne Rooney was signed as an 18-year-old from Premier League rivals Everton for £25.6 million. He scored a hat trick on his debut against Fenerbahce in the UEFA Champions League group stage at Old Trafford.

    It was always clear this kid was going to be a special talent. Now, he's the talisman of Manchester United.

    Goals scored: 168

Dennis Viollet

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    Dennis Viollet holds the record for the most league goals scored in a single season by a Manchester United player—32 goals he netted in the 1959-60 campaign.

    He played at United for 13 years, becoming a hugely prolific striker averaging two goals every three games. How he only won two caps for England is a mystery.

    Goals scored: 179

Jack Rowley

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    If Jack Rowley had been around today, his price tag would've been at least £30 million, not the £3,000 shelled out for him in 1937.

    After emerging as a talent on the south coast with Bournemouth, scoring 10 goals in 11 games, 17-year-old Rowley signed for Manchester United and never looked back, scoring double figures (including five 20-plus goal campaigns) in nine of his 12 seasons at the club.

    Goals scored: 211

Denis Law

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    Denis Law is always one of the first names that spring to mind when thinking of Manchester United legends.

    He was a successful player for Manchester City and Torino (with Inter Milan and Juventus also wanting him), but it was at United where he really shined, scoring vital goals which helped the team win the league, FA Cup and European Cup.

    He also scored 30 goals in 55 caps for Scotland.

    Goals scored: 237

Eric Cantona

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    The flair, panache, immense skill, amazing trickery, sensational finishing and pure arrogance are what made Eric Cantona a phenomenal player.

    He wasn't the most prolific United player, but it wasn't just his goals that helped United. He was United's best forward in every aspect of his game. Every lineup with Cantona in it played better.

    Goals scored: 82

Sir Bobby Charlton

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    Sir Bobby Charlton is Mr. Manchester United. He's United's all-time highest goalscorer and second-highest appearance-maker behind Ryan Giggs.

    A World Cup winner with England in 1966, Charlton created almost as many goals as he scored and was the key for United as they won three First Division titles, an FA Cup and a European Cup trophy throughout his career at the club.

    Goals scored: 249

Ruud Van Nistelrooy

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    Underrated at Manchester United given he left for Real Madrid in acrimonious circumstances, Ruud Van Nistelrooy is the club's best ever striker.

    He's the most prolific, with a goals-to-games ratio of 0.69 goals per match. He holds the record for the most consecutive goals scored in the Premier League by scoring in eight consecutive matches.

    He's also United's all-time highest goalscorer in Europe. No Manchester United player has ever been as prolific as Van Nistelrooy.

    Goals scored: 150