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Who is the best striker the Premier League has ever seen?

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Not Wigan related, but I do ask the question that no-one has ever properly answered? Who is the best striker to grace the Premier League?

Claudio Villa

There has been several great goal-scorers to grace the Premier League since it started from English number 9's to French maestro's, but who is the one we all wanted to watch? Since it's initiation in 1992 it has seen great forwards come and go from Matt Le Tissier to Sergio Aguero. Here I give the low down on my 10 nominees.

First off, I will go for Andy Cole, the English centre forward has 509 appearances and 229 goals under his belt most notably for Manchester United where Cole netted 93 times in a 6 year career with the Red Devils. Cole was involved in a shock deal from Newcastle United in a deal worth £7 million with £6 million cash and Keith Gillespie going the other way to Tyneside. Despite having 5 Premier League titles, 2 FA Cups and a Champions League, the England striker wasn't appreciated enough after netting 187 times in the Premier League but only once for his country on 15 occasions after Glen Hoddle's infamous comment:

"He needs four or five chances to find the net"

Despite his poor International record, he was one of the best. Cole possessed the most dangerous movement of the modern era, his ability to latch onto through balls or make defence splitting diagonal runs was incomprehensible and could only be matched by the likes of Henry.

My next contender is another of United's front men commonly known to the people of Manchester as "the King", Eric Cantona. Cantona was something special, his ability and skill was something to admire having only seen many of my nominees on Premier League Years his best bits left me jaw-dropped at times most notably his elegant chip against Sunderland, his style was something only to be repeated sometime later by the one and only Mario Balotelli after his legendary celebration against Sunderland and his infamous Kung-Fu kick against Crystal Palace which saw the Frenchman fined £20,000 banned for 9 months and stripped of his Captaincy and place in the French side, the striker was forever to be remembered for his famous quote that left the media stunned after appealing against his two week prison sentence:

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea"

On the better side of his career, he netted 64 times in 143 attempts for United and was seen as key part in United's revival throughout the 1990's, after his £1.2 million transfer from Leeds United, Cantona grabbed 4 Premier League titles, 2 Fa Cup's and countless individual honors. The Frenchman has to be up there as a great after showing his great ability, style and confidence.

Succeeding Cantona on my list of greats is the all-time top goal scorer, Alan Shearer. Shearer netted 283 times for Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and most famously Newcastle United on 559 occasions. Shearer is often the Synonym for the classic "English Number 9", after turning down a move to Manchester United, he signed for Newcastle United where he demonstrated his strength, heading ability, stature and immensely powerful shot however in his earlier days at Southampton he was more of a creator often setting up chances for his fellow strikers instead of finishing them. His later days allowed him to play a target man as well as a finisher as he lost a lost of his pace, his physical play allowed him to hold the ball up well but was often criticized for aggressive play which consequently gained Shearer 2 red cards and 59 yellows in his career. There is no doubt however, Shearer is one of if not the best the League has ever seen with tremendous goal scoring ability and excellent forward play. Shearer will forever be known for the excellent goals he scored followed by the simplistic "One hand in the air" celebration.

Thirdly is one I watched growing up, Thierry Henry demonstrated great finesse and ability in his 8 year playing career for the Gunners, Henry scored 174 goals in 254 games for Arsenal. The frenchman was often paired with Dennis Bergkamp which saw the pair go unbeaten in the 2003 season with the Invincibles but was switched to a lone striker demonstrating great composure in one on ones and electrifying pace often beating offside traps and getting behind defensive lines on numerous occasions and regularly creating moments of magic. Henry wasn't seen as a typical "Out and Out Striker" as the forward could operate as a winger which meant Henry wouldn't provide an aerial threat for Arsenal but often provided chances for the likes of Robert Pires, Jose Reyes, Freddie Ljungberg and Patrick Viera. Henry also provided a major threat from dead ball situations often converting from Free Kicks and Penalties.

The next legend last appeared as manager of Sunderland, the one and only Paolo Di Canio. The Italian scored 67 times in 190 attempts during his time in England most notably for West Ham United, his best coming against Wimbledon 14 years ago which is still renowned as one of the greatest goals in the Premier League, and that is the reason why he makes it onto the list, the Italian is again one of the most technically gifted players the League has ever seen. His ability to strike the ball, his technical skill and ability was proved in his play and demonstrated him to be a great striker at West Ham after his £1.5 million move from Sheffield Wednesday. Di Canio's self-proclaimed fascist views have been the centre of controversy since his appointment at Swindon Town but cannot take away the fact that he was a great goal-scorer.

Matt Le Tissier is 6th, Le Tissier was a classic "One Club Man" having played for Southampton on an impressive 443 occasions finding the net 161 times. His loyalty to the South Coast club was credited massively by the British public and was known as one of the greats because of it. Dimitar Berbatov is seen as a modern day Le Tissier, they both demonstrate vast amounts of quality with little effort, Le Tissier terrified defenders with twisting and jerking runs and made 30 yard chips look like just another day at the office although his lack of willingness to track back or make a tackle was something that could be the reason behind his failed England career. Matt Le Tissier never made it for England under Venables nor Hoddle, having made just 8 caps for his country his international blunders were an ever lasting controversy until his retirement in 2002. Despite this, Matt Le Tissier's one man wonders for Southampton have forever hailed him as a great.

Dennis Bergkamp, another Gunner that is known as an all time legend in English football, Bergkamp made the £2.5 million pound move from Inter Milan to Bruce Rioch's Arsenal. Although the Dutchman struggled in his first season in English football, he finished with 11 goals for Arsenal in his debut season. The appointment of Arsene Wenger in 1996 proved pivotal in Bergkamp's career as Wenger truly recognized the striker's talents and wanted to use Bergkamp as a fulcrum in his teams attacking play. Having been trained in Ajax's infamous Total Football regime which heavily relied on versatility, Bergkamp's time as a defender in Ajax's 3-4-3 formation he believes helped him "know how they think and how to beat them". Bergkamp was often seen as a very physical player but also technically gifted, the Dutchman had a very controversial career especially in Milan but the Dutchman found his form in successful partnerships with Ian Wright, Nicholas Anelka and Thierry Henry with Bergkamp netting 87 times in 315 attempts for the North London Club. Bergkamp along with Henry was part of the Invincibles in 2003. Bergkamp was seen as a gifted player espescially under Wenger:

"He needs fewer touches to score. Sometimes just one, when others need two or three."

The famous Didier Drogba, The Ivorian powerhouse had everything, strength, pace, skill, accuracy, technical finesse and some. Chelsea parted with £24 million to prise the Ivorian from Marseille in the Summer of 2004 and netted his opening goal for Chelsea on the third time of asking against Crystal Palace demonstrating the threat he posed in the air. Drogba netted 157 times during his 8 year spell at Stamford Bridge, the striker was vital to Chelsea's squad even with Drogba's progressing age. The Ivory Coast international was one of the world's best at his peak showing class on the ground as well as in the air, Drogba grabbed himself 3 League titles, 4 FA Cups and a Champions League during his time in London, after netting the Champions League winning penalty in 2012, his contract expired at Stamford Bridge and the Ivorian made his move east to Shanghai. Drogba would still make it for any club in the Premier League and would be happily welcomed back to England.

Another Dutch goal scorer, Ruud Van Nistelrooy made his mark on the Premier League with Manchester United from 2001-06 netting 95 times on 150 occasions for the Manchester Club. Van Nistelrooy made his move to Manchester from Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven for the price tag of £19 million pound, the Dutchman was questioned by reporters but his first season proved the doubters wrong after netting 23 on 32 occasions, Van Nistelrooy earned Player's Player of the Year also scoring 10 in the Champions League in his debut season for the Reds. The Dutchman's willingness to fight for balls and his incredible amount of skill shown in his play earned himself 1 League title and FA Cup to go with a move to Real Madrid.

Finally, I go with Robbie Fowler, the Merseysider scored 120 times in 236 appearances for his boy hood club from 1993-2001. Fowler's classic goal poaching and ability to run the ball and create great things caused him to be one of Liverpool's all time great front men. Fowler was part of the side that won the Cup treble in 2001 appreaing in 3 finals scoring 17 goals. Fowler's great link up play with Michael Owen, Steve McManaman and Emile Heskey made Liverpool's attacking line up one of the greats during this time. Fowler's great ability to find the back of the net made him one of the all time greats of the Premier League. With spells at Manchester City, Leeds and a return to Liverpool as well, Robbie Fowler went onto make an impressive 515 appearances netting on 230 occasions.

There are too many great goal scorers to give you my opinion on each one, forwards such as Ian Wright,Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,Teddy Sherringham, Ian Rush, Dwight Yorke, Les Ferdinand, Gianfranco Zola, Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney I've not been able to mention in this article and yet still there are some great goal scorers that haven't been mentioned. The likes of Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez haven't been here long enough to be associated with the title of the best ever striker of the Premier League. Make of this what you will, my all time striker is Alan Shearer, the Englishman was the best striker to grace the Premier League. Have your say below.