Ranked! The top 20 all-time Premier League scorers
The Premier League has been home to some of the greatest finishers of all time – here are the top 20 net botherers in the past 30 years
The Premier League all-time scorers list is a collection of some of the greatest-ever footballers to have played on English soil.
Since 1992, the great and the good have kept us entertained with well over 30,000 goals. Among the scorers are Golden Boot winners and Ballon d'Or winners along with some of the most beloved forwards of all time.
Who has the ultimate crown, though?
20. Romelu Lukaku
Clubs: Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion, Everton, Manchester United
While his first spell at Chelsea delivered no goals, Lukaku’s 17-league goal season at West Brom opened the floodgates: he has never since failed to hit double figures in a Premier League season since (well, until his Chelsea return, anyway).
He hit over 60 Premier League goals in four years at Everton, and 28 in two years at Manchester United. Had he not moved to Italy for two seasons, and scored those 47 Serie A goals in the Premier League instead, he'd have his sights on the 200 mark.
19. Steven Gerrard
Mr Liverpool played in central midfield, defensive midfield, on the right and even at right-back for the Merseysiders – but his incredible longevity brought him 120 strikes in red.
His best scoring season, 2008/09, saw him play behind Fernando Torres and score 16 league goals. He left Anfield in 2015 with 185 in 710 matches and though many of those magical moments were made in Europe, the Premier League certainly witnessed its fair share of Gerrard screamers, too.
18. Dwight Yorke
Clubs: Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sunderland
Dwight Yorke’s partnership with Andy Cole at Manchester United is what everyone remembers now – Yorke won the Premier League Golden Boot and Player of the Season in United’s treble-winning 1998/99 season, and the pair lifted the title in the two subsequent years too.
But he was a threat at Aston Villa throughout the 1990s, and had 60 Premier League goals to his name before signing for United. He only added a further 15 across his time at Blackburn, Birmingham and Sunderland, but on this list, they all matter…
17. Nicolas Anelka
Clubs: Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion
Nicolas Anelka's career is best remembered for two chapters in London: the electric first act at Highbury in which his speed bamboozled defenders and his renaissance at Chelsea years later. In between, he helped pad out this awesome English league goal tally.
The Incredible Sulk introduced himself to English audiences as a teenage Double-winner at Arsenal before a nomadic career took him to all corners of the Premier League. Anelka got in the PFA Team of the Year twice, 10 years apart (1999 and 2009), while winning the Premier League Golden Boot in the latter.
16. Robbie Keane
Clubs: Coventry City, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, West Ham United, Aston Villa
One Irish Keane struck fear into midfielders, the other into defenders. Robbie was a dynamic hitman wherever he went, complete with cartwheels, consistently hitting double-figures in the Prem from the turn of the century onwards.
His best scoring season came in 2005/06 when he almost helped fire Tottenham into the Champions League – and he even returned to England for loans at West Ham and Aston Villa later in his career.
15. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Clubs: Leeds United, Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Charlton Athletic
"Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee… who needs Thierry, when you've got Jimmy?" the Chelsea fans used to sing of deadly Dutchman Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink.
The forward was strong, reliable and hit 23 goals a-piece in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge, after impressing at Leeds in the mid-1990s. Later stints with Boro and Charlton helped push up his tally, too.
14. Jamie Vardy
Club: Leicester City
We all know the Jamie Vardy story by now. The former factory worker who didn't rock up to the Premier League until the age of 27 is living proof that hard graft will pay off in the end.
The Leicester City talisman managed just five in his first top-flight campaign, but since then he's smashed home 24, 13, 20, 18, 23, 15, 15 and 10 so far this campaign. The 35-year-old is like a fine wine – long may he continue to hassle defenders!
13. Robin van Persie
Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester United
The key man in delivering Manchester United's 20th title – with a whopping 26 goals that season – Robin van Persie was one of the most clinical finishers out of the Netherlands.
The Dutchman plundered 96 in the Premier League before his controversial switch from Arsenal to Old Trafford, managing double figures in seven of 11 seasons he played in England. Originally a winger, his move up front was as inspired as it was inevitable.
12. Teddy Sheringham
Clubs: Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Portsmouth, West Ham United
Ageless and ever-reliable, Teddy Sheringham was a superb link-up man and a strike partner's dream.
But far more than just a supplier, the London-born poacher had incredible instincts around the penalty area – not to mention a love of big-game atmospheres that served him well at every club he played for. Sheringham won the inaugural Golden Boot in the Premier League.
11. Les Ferdinand
Clubs: Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Leicester City, Bolton Wanderers
Sir Les ascended from the non-league to become a member of England squads at consecutive tournaments – and along the way, he just couldn't stop scoring.
The Acton action man managed 25 in his best season – Newcastle United's ill-fated title bid of 1995/96 – while Ferdinand had the honour of scoring the 10,000th Premier League goal, too. With spells across Leicester and Bolton later in his career, the much-adored forward still managed to ripple nets.
10. Michael Owen
Clubs: Liverpool, Newcastle United, Manchester United, Stoke City
Arguably no one had lifted Liverpool fans off their seats quite like Michael Owen when the teenager first bustled his way onto the Anfield pitch and started setting the Premier League alight.
18 Premier League goals in both his second and third seasons set him nicely for a Ballon d'Or in 2001 – and the other side of becoming a Galactico, Owen formed a strike partnership with Alan Shearer at Newcastle before finally winning his league title with Manchester United
9. Jermaine Defoe
Clubs: Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Bournemouth
"We've got Jermain Defoe: he scored 10 in a row," Bournemouth fans sang of the striker after a loan in the early 2000s. He returned to the south coast – and to that chant – 17 years later, too, to score a few more for the Cherries.
In between, he'd become a key cog at West Ham, helped fire Tottenham towards a League Cup, become a fan's favourite with Portsmouth and even propelled Big Sam's Sunderland away from doom. He had a hell of a Premier League career – hitting double figures in the league nine times.
8. Robbie Fowler
Clubs: Liverpool, Leeds United, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers
Twice, Robbie Fowler struck 25 or more goals for Liverpool in a Premier League season. An opportunistic striker, the Scouser always had a knack for finding space in the area wherever he went – and probably would have reached the Prem's 200 club, were it not for his injury problems.
Fowler never did lift the Premier League but won plenty of hearts – and his back-to-back PFA Young Player of the Year wins in 1995 and 1996 demonstrate just how devastating he was from a very early age.
7. Thierry Henry
A converted winger from Juventus, it took Thierry Henry nine games to open his account, with Arsenal fans anxious that their new recruit didn't fit into a side already boasting Dennis Bergkamp, Kanu and Davor Suker.
In the end, Henry outlasted them all and was one of the classiest footballers to have ever played in England, breaking the all-time Arsenal scoring record in 2005 and winning the Premier League Golden Boot four times. His tally of 20 assists in 2002/03 is yet to be beaten, too.
6. Frank Lampard
Clubs: West Ham United, Chelsea, Manchester City
Harry Redknapp was met by an onslaught from a fan during the West Ham Fans Forum in 1996, with the Hammer in question ripping into Redknapp's young nephew, sat next to the wily gaffer. It's safe to say that young boy more than proved he was – as that supporter claimed he wasn't – better than Scott Canham.
Lampard is the highest-scoring Premier League midfielder ever, managing to net at least 10 goals 10 years in a row. That's simply unmatchable – and as Chelsea won the league in 2010, their super no.8 managed 22 in the Prem. Lampard got into the PFA Team of the Year three times and won the Premier League Player of the Season in 2005, too.
5. Harry Kane
Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City
As much as we all love the multicultural splendour of the Premier League, we'd be lying if we said we'd be thrilled to see a foreign player knock Big Al off his perch. Thank goodness, therefore, that the likeliest candidate to do so is England captain Kane.
The Spurs striker (who also played three goalless Premier League matches for Norwich) has scored his 178-goal haul at a rate of one ever 128 minutes. Now 28, he probably has another five years or so in which to score the 82 required to break Shearer's record. That's an average of 16.4 per season. Doable? You wouldn't bet against it.
4. Sergio Aguero
Clubs: Manchester City
While one of the Argentine’s goals would have been enough to secure his place in Premier League folklore, there were so many others fans will remember forever. Aguero spent a decade in the Premier League, yet only won the golden boot once, in 2014/15. But while other strikers came and went, the City striker scored with remarkable consistency year in year out, surpassing the magic 20 mark in six different campaigns.
Man City’s dominance over the previous decade could not have been achieved without him. A player who could conjure a goal out of nowhere, and proved it in the biggest moments. His 184 goals were scored at the second-fastest rate of any player with 100+ in the competition – with only Mo Salah scoring at a faster rate.
3. Andy Cole
Clubs: Newcastle United, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Sunderland
Cole, a five-time title winner, won the Golden Boot in Newcastle first season back in the Premier League, and netted double figures in the Premier League on eight more occasions across spells at Manchester United, Blackburn and Fulham.
While he’s third on this list, he has a better games-to-goals average than Wayne Rooney, and – unlike almost every other player here – was never a regular penalty take: just one of his 187 goals came from the spot. Take those out of the equation, and his goal average is even better than Shearer’s.
2. Wayne Rooney
Clubs: Everton, Manchester United
Wazza holds the enviable title of being both Manchester United and England’s record gunslinger… yet finds himself behind one other when it comes to the Premier League all-time scoring table. Like many on this list, Rooney was both a great goalscorer and a scorer of great goals, with few able to rival the former street footballer for worldies during his career – although the no.1 would have something to say about that too.
At Everton and the Red Devils, the current Derby boss volleyed, lobbed, smashed and bicycle-kicked a stunning 208 goals in 491 appearances. He teed-up another 112 on top of that, too. Testament to his all-round genius.
1. Alan Shearer
Clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United
The fastest player to hit 100 Premier League goals, and still the only player to score more than 30 goals in multiple Premier League seasons, Alan Shearer was an unstoppable goal machine in the 1990s. Right foot, left foot, headers, tap-ins, curlers, penalties – Shearer did the lot.
His prowess fired Blackburn Rovers to a Premier League title (a feat that still only sounds vaguely believable) and even bagged 31 goals in 35 games in a season where Blackburn came seventh – and in an age before Messi and Ronaldo made those kinds of numbers commonplace.
A world-record transfer to Newcastle and third-place finish in 1996’s Ballon d’Or followed, as Shearer recorded seven more double-figure league tallies in a decade at his boyhood club. He picked up the Golden Boot three times in a row between 1995 and 1997, but it was his reliability and longevity that earns him the top spot as much as his ‘90s peak.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.
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