As the most watched and followed soccer league in the world, the English Premier League is box office viewing every weekend.
Seen by many as the spiritual home of the game, England and the Premier League sees sell-out crowds in every stadium and the world’s best players doing battle on a weekly basis.
Having transitioned from the English Football League to the English Premier League in 1992, the competition has enjoyed a myriad of highs and lows over the subsequent 30 years but one thing that has remained constant is the conveyor belt of incredible strikers to have adorned the competition.
One of the USP’s of the Premier League is the manta that anybody can beat anybody, making it simply unmissable soccer and deadly goal scorers are ten a penny in Premier League history.
Quantifying the best Premier League strikers of all-time is no easy task and with 35 different players to have surpassed 100 Premier League goals in their career, some of the biggest names in the modern history of the game are in contention to be classified as the Best Premier League Striker of all-time.
Midfield legends such as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, and Ryan Giggs have all gone past the century of Premier League goals milestone, but they are omitted from the list on the grounds they plied their trade in the middle of the park.
Here is a rundown of the 10 highest scoring Premier League strikers in history:
10 – Les Ferdinand
Premier League Appearances: 351
Premier League Goals: 149
Clubs played for: Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers.
‘Big Les’ was as deadly as the come in the Premier League, with his insatiable appetite for goals at the highest level, in a career that spanned nearly two decades.
It was at Queens Park Rangers where he made his name, notching 60 Premier League goals as the ‘Hoops’ became a Bonafede top-flight side in the mid 1990’s.
Having banged the goals in at Loftus Road, plenty of big name sides came calling and he joined Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle in pursuit of trophies and accolades.
Sadly, for Ferdinand, that didn’t come his way at St James’s Park but his goal record in the North East was superb and he moved to his boyhood club Tottenham Hotspur after two seasons at Newcastle.
He maintained his excellent scoring record at Spurs, before winding up with spells at West Ham United, Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers in the twilight of his career.
9 – Michael Owen
Premier League Appearances: 326
Premier League Goals: 150
Clubs played for: Liverpool, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City
Few players have enjoyed the overnight meteoric rise Michael Owen experienced as a teenager in 1997/98, as he burst onto the scene for both Liverpool and England.
Becoming Liverpool’s youngest ever goal scorer was a mantle Owen took in his stride, with pace to burn and an unnerving confidence in front of goal, Owen had the world at his feet.
His goal at World Cup 1998 for England against Argentina propelled him onto the world stage, to the extent that he was crowned Ballon d’Or winner later that year.
Whilst he never managed to win the Premier League title with Liverpool, Owen played a huge part in multiple domestic and European cup wins for the reds, scoring 118 goals for the club before Real Madrid came calling.
He perhaps paid a price for his heavy schedule in his teens, picking up multiple injuries later on his career but he was still able to have an impact at Newcastle United, Manchester United (where he did manage to win the Premier League title), before winding up at Stoke City, with a tally of 150 Premier League goals.
8 – Jermain Defoe
Premier League Appearances: 496
Premier League Goals: 162
Clubs played for: West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, Sunderland, and AFC Bournemouth
With nearly 500 Premier League appearances under his belt, Jermain Defoe is one of the most experienced campaigners to have played in the Premier League and with 162 goals to his name, he will go down in English soccer playing folklore.
Beginning his career at West Ham, Defoe burst onto the scene with an incredible goal record as a teenager and whilst the Hammers battled away at the bottom of the table, Defoe was one of the sole shining lights.
A big-money move to Tottenham followed, where his scoring showed no signs of slowing and he was also a big part of the Portsmouth side that won the FA Cup in 2008.
He often struggled to settle at clubs however and moved on to Sunderland later in his career, before heading to Toronto to play in the MLS and ending his Premier League career at AFC Bournemouth.
Few players at this level have such a passion and desire for the game as Defoe, who then went on to win the Scottish Premier League with Rangers, before only hanging up his boots in the Spring of 2022.
7 – Robbie Fowler
Premier League Appearances: 379
Premier League Goals: 163
Clubs played for: Liverpool, Leeds United, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers
Referred to by Liverpool fans as simply ‘God’, Robbie Fowler was the face of the club in the 1990’s with his incredible left foot and insatiable eye for goal.
Another product of the Melwood Liverpool youth academy, Fowler was merely a teenager when he arrived on the scene at Anfield and his goal record at the club stands amongst the very best, with 128 goals in 266 appearances for his boyhood team.
Much like the aforementioned Michael Owen, Fowler did not play in Liverpool’s most successful era and didn’t ever manage to win the Premier League title, but his domestic and European cup triumphs etched his name into Liverpool folklore.
His relationship with the club however deteriorated over time, with Fowler going on to join the then cash rich Leeds United in a big-money move, before joining Manchester City – where he continued to hit the net with regularity for both clubs – before ending his career in India and Australia.
6 – Thierry Henry
Premier League Appearances: 258
Premier League Goals: 175
Clubs played for: Arsenal
Few players are as synonymous with success at one club as Thierry Henry, as the man who almost single-handedly spearheaded the Gunners to glory in the late 1990’s and 2000’s.
With the Frenchman originally signed by Arsene Wenger in 1999 to challenge Manchester United, Henry was symbolic of the change at Highbury and his goals per game record is the best of any striker to have scored over 100 goals in the Premier League.
Henry won the Premier League with Arsenal in 2000/01 before playing a hugely influential role in the ‘Invincibles’ side of 2003/04.
His record of 175 goals in 258 games for the club has made him one of the best players in Arsenal’s history, with the Frenchman leaving the club in 2007 to join Barcelona.
A two-time La Liga winner in Spain plus the Champions League enabled Henry to achieve one of his all-time career goals before he moved to New York Red Bulls to conclude his magnificent career.
5 – Harry Kane
Premier League Appearances: 274*
Premier League Goals: 178*
Clubs played for: Tottenham Hotspur
As the only player on the list to still be playing in the Premier League, Harry Kane could well end up at the top of the pile but for the time being, he sits 5th in the all-time list of Premier League scorers.
Initially not felt good enough by the Tottenham hierarchy, Kane was sent on loan to Championship clubs such as Millwall, Leicester City and Norwich City as a career in the second division beckoned.
An injury crisis at White Hart Lane led to then manager Tim Sherwood employing Kane as a striker and the rest as they say is history.
Kane has not looked back, going on to register 178 goals in 274 games, becoming Tottenham’s all-time leading goal scorer – a feat he has also achieved with his native England.
He clinched the Golden Boot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and captained his country as they reached the final of Euro 2020.
Whilst domestic honours remain elusive with Spurs, Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in world soccer and he looks set to continue his legacy over the next few seasons.
*Correct as of 25/04/22
4 – Sergio Aguero
Premier League Appearances: 275
Premier League Goals: 184
Clubs played for: Manchester City
When it comes to iconic moments in sporting history, few players can surpass the images of Sergio Aguero netting in the 93rd minute to win the Premier League for Manchester City in 2012.
The Argentine was an instant hit at the Etihad Stadium, after joining the club for a handsome sum in the summer of 2011.
City had made plenty of significant investments prior to 2011 but it was perhaps the Aguero signing that made the rest of the Premier League stand up and take notice and he led Manchester City to their first league title in 44 years with his historic last minute strike in 2012.
He went on to smash all records at the Etihad, becoming Manchester City’s all-time leading scorer and winning 5 Premier League titles, 6 League Cups and 1 FA Cup in a decorated decade in England.
Moving on to Barcelona in the summer of 2021 looked set to herald a new era of Aguero’s career but the Argentine legend was forced to retire with an underlying heart condition but his place in the great pantheon of Premier League strikers is undoubted.
3 – Andy Cole
Premier League Appearances: 414
Premier League Goals: 187
Clubs played for: Newcastle United, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Manchester City, and Portsmouth
Prolific goal scorers were seemingly a lot easier to come by in the 1990’s and few strikers epitomise that role in the Premier League better than Andy Cole.
Having not made the grade at Arsenal, Cole knocked about in the lower leagues before finding his spiritual home at Newcastle United, where he became an icon at St James’s Park.
Moving to Manchester United for a then record £7 million in the summer of 1995, transformed both his and United’s fortunes as he went on to become an integral part of the side that won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble in 1999.
He won a total of 5 Premier League titles at Old Trafford before he moved on to Blackburn Rovers, where his excellent scoring record continued.
With goals guaranteed everywhere he went, Cole’s career wound up at Fulham, Manchester City and Portsmouth before he finally hung up his boots in 2008 – finishing with an astonishing 187 Premier League goals to his name.
2 – Wayne Rooney
Premier League Appearances: 491
Premier League Goals: 208
Clubs played for: Everton and Manchester United
Bursting onto the scene as a 16 year old with a last minute winner for Everton against Arsenal was a sign of things to come for Wayne Rooney.
Having enjoyed a stellar career in Everton’s youth system, Rooney was always destined for greatness and his all-action approach endeared him to the Goodison Park faithful straight away.
After spending two promising seasons at Everton, Manchester United’s riches came calling and Rooney left to move to Old Trafford, much to the dismay of the Toffees.
It was a move that defined Rooney’s career however, as he won 5 Premier League titles, 3 League Cups, an FA Cup, the Champions League, and the Europa League in his 13 year tenure at United.
With a stellar goal record for England too, Rooney is often referred to as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever players and he returned to Everton for a swansong before joining DC United in the MLS and he is now manager of League One side Derby County.
1 – Alan Shearer
Premier League Appearances: 441
Premier League Goals: 260
Clubs played for: Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United
Sitting pretty at the top of the list of all-time Premier League goal scorers is Alan Shearer, with an incredible 260 goals to his name.
Originally from the North East, Shearer forged a name for himself at Southampton in the pre-Premier League era, before moving up to Blackburn Rovers in the midst of a spending spree at the Lancashire club in 1992.
During his time at Ewood Park, Shearer scored an incredible 112 goals in just 138 Premier League appearances, and he was one of the most feared strikers in world soccer.
His goals fired unfancied Blackburn Rovers to their maiden Premier League title in the 1994/95 season, but his boyhood club Newcastle came calling in 1996 with a world record bid of £15 million and Shearer moved up to St James’s Park.
Whilst a league title in the North East proved to be elusive, Shearer went on to notch 148 goals for Newcastle in 303 games – a record all the more impressive when considering the multiple knee injuries, he had to battle throughout his career.
He retired in 2006 at the age of 36 and has gone on to become one of the most reputable soccer pundits in the world and for the time being at least, he holds the record as the Premier League’s best ever striker.