In the early 1990s, English First Division clubs believed that a restructuring of football was needed if the game were to develop and flourish. In July 1991, the clubs signed the “Founder Members Agreement,” and established basic principles for setting up the Premier League. Long before the most prolific scorers in Premier League history could be present, rules and principles needed to be established. Things needed to be fair for all, of course.
The League would have commercial independence from the Football League and The FA, leaving it free to organize its own broadcast and sponsorship agreement. In February 1992, the 22 First Division clubs resigned from the Football League. Three months later, on May 27th, the Premier League was established as a limited company.
The first television deal was struck with pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB, a radical move at the time. Sky has been ever-present and has played a key role in developing the League to its present levels. Yet it was not exactly a proven network in the early 1990s.
The inaugural Premier League campaign started on Saturday, the 15th of August 1992, with 22 clubs. Of these 22 clubs, 6 have remained in the Premier League ever since. This includes Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, & Tottenham Hotspur.
When the Premier League was formed, there was always the intention to reduce the number of clubs to 20 to promote development and excellence. It was a successful mission. Today the English Premier League is widely known as one of the most competitive and popular domestic football competitions.
In the young life of The EPL, the league has created football icons whose accomplishments and contributions can never be forgotten. Here’s a list honoring the most prolific scorers in the Premier League.
- Goals: 116
- Accomplishments: FA Cup Winner, Serie A Champion, Belgian Pro League Champion
The 28-year-old Romelu Lukaku made his senior debut soon after his 16th birthday at the end of the 2008-09 campaign. He became a regular in Brussels over the next two seasons for Anderlecht, firing a league-high 15 goals as his team claimed the league title. After another 20 goals in 2010-11, Lukaku left Anderlecht for Chelsea three months after turning 18.
He featured mostly as a substitute, starting just once in the Premier League that season. After failing to score for Chelsea over his first two seasons, Lukaku was loaned out to West Bromwich Albion for the 2012-13 season. Lukaku scored 17 goals and was nominated PFA Young Player of the Year, as well as Baggies’ Player of the Year.
Romelu was then sent to Everton on loan, where he became a permanent signing after shining in his first season. He scored 68 goals in 141 games, becoming the highest scorer in the Premier League era for the toffees.
Missing just 2 EPL games in his last 2 seasons for Everton was a testament to his fitness and endurance as well. Manchester United then signed the big Belgian for £75 million, as well as add-ons. Lukaku scored 28 times in 66 appearances for Man-U, but things never really took off.
Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan where he proved himself again as one of the best finishers of his time. In August 2021, The Belgium striker has returned to Chelsea for a fee of £97.5 million on a five-year deal. While his new chapter at Stamford Bridge is exciting, he already has a place in the Premier League’s history books.
- Goals: 120
- Accomplishments: 3x EFL Cup Winner, 2x FA Cup Winner, UEFA Champions League Winner
Steven Gerrard MBE is Liverpool’s favorite captain in the modern era and the (current) manager of Premier League club Aston Villa. He was born in Whiston, a small town within the metropolitan borough of Knowsley in Merseyside, England.
Gerrard was discovered by his local upper-division football club, Liverpool FC, at age nine. He played for Liverpool’s youth squad and signed a professional contract with them at age 17. Eventually, Gerrard’s first-team debut came in 1998, and became a regular contributor the following year. He then reached club captain status 5 years later.
- Goals: 123
- Accomplishments: 3x Premier League Champion, FA Cup Winner, 2x League Cup Winner, Golden Boot Winner, PL Player Of The Season (98-99)
Dwight Yorke is often referred to as the “Smiling Assassin,” and for good reason. He is a now-retired Tobagonian football player. Born in Canaan, Trinidad & Tobago. He was discovered by the then-manager of Aston Villa, Graham Taylor.
During his 17-season PL career, Yorke played with noted professional football clubs such as Aston Villa and Manchester United, predominantly as a forward.
His infamous nickname comes from the fact that Dwight’s smile was painted on his face throughout his career. He was highly unselfish for a striker (50 PL assists) and was known for forging great bonds with his teammates. He was a key part of the Premier League’s first-ever successfully executed three-peat.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United was the first to win three in a row in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. Yorke is a solid reason this happened.
The first of those was the iconic treble year that saw the club become the first and still only English side to win a league title, FA Cup, and European Cup/Champions League in one season. In fact, Yorke won the PL’s Golden Boot that season too. He was a regular for those three iconic seasons scoring 37 goals in 86 appearances, all for the starting line-up.
Yorke’s 123 goals in the Premier League was the record for a non-European. It wasn’t broken until Sergio Agüero did so in 2017. The smiling assassin is still one of the most prolific scorers in Premier League history, and the record books prove it.
- Goals: 125
- Accomplishments: 3x FA Cup Winner, 2x Premier League Champion, 2x UEFA Champions League Winner, Golden Boot Winner
Nicolas Anelka is a French professional football manager & retired player who played as a forward. Nicolas was born in Le Chesnay, France, and was given the nickname of ‘Le Sulk’ very soon into his career. He may have had issues off the pitch, but he rarely disappointing on it. In a 17-year-career he won the double with Arsenal, a Champions League at Real Madrid, and a Euro 2000 medal with the French national team.
However, in spite of his successes, Anelka is also known for his inability to get along with a manager. That is on top of his grumpiness and general disruptive nature. During his spell at Chelsea between 2008 and 2012—the longest he has ever spent at any single club—he was banned from the club Christmas party and training ground car park after quarreling with Andre Villas-Boas.
Although regarding his play on the pitch, nothing negative could be said against him. Anelka has lifted the PL trophy twice (1997-98 & 2009-10). He first accomplished this with Arsenal and then with Chelsea. He also won the Golden Boot in the 2008-09 season, when he scored 19 goals. That is his career-high for any Premier League team he played on.
Nicolas Anelka scored 125 goals and had 48 assists in 364 Premier League appearances overall. That makes him one of the most prolific scorers in Premier League history. To top it off, Anelka has his own Netflix doc titled Misunderstood.
- Goals: 126
- Accomplishments: 3x MLS Cup Champion, 1x English League Cup Winner, MLS MVP
Robert Keane is an Irish professional football coach and retired forward. Keane served as captain of the Republic of Ireland from March 2006 until his international retirement in August 2016. He’s also the most capped player and is the top goalscorer in the team’s history.
From Dublin, Keane started with a local club, before joining Crumlin United at the age of 10. Offers from Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers soon came stalking the young striker. He helped guide Ireland’s U-18s to the European Championships title in 1998, which really made teams take notice of the prodigy.
Keane joined Leeds United after being left out of Inter Milan’s plans. Leeds struggled during the 2000-01 season, but their fortune changed once Keane joined the club in late December. His addition to the squad resulted in a squad rejuvenation almost immediately.
Before his first start, Leeds had only won 9 games out of 22, including just three wins from the previous 13. Keane helped turn that around as he waded in with nine goals in 18 matches. He then began to start regularly and things turned around greatly. Leeds went on to lose just twice in their next 18 games, resulting in a leap from 13th to 4th in the table.
Tottenham Hotspur became Keane’s fifth club in just six years of play. White Hart Lane became a home for the traveling Irishman for the next six seasons. Keane scored 126 goals in 349 appearances in the Premier League.
While he may not have won the league title, Keane will go down as one of the most prolific scorers in the Premier League.
- Goals: 127
- Accomplishments: Premier League Champion, FA Cup Winner, Golden Boot Winner, PL Player of the Season (15-16)
Jamie Richard Vardy currently plays for Leicester City, but the story on how he began his career is inspiring to say the least. He was in the youth system at Sheffield Wednesday years ago but was released at age 16. He then played at Stocksbridge Park Steels, where he made his way into the first team in 2007, earning £30 a week at the club.
Jamie worked at a prosthetics limb factory as a teenager back then. In some matches, he could only play 60 minutes as he had to get home to ensure he didn’t miss his 6:00 pm curfew. As he needed to be up early the next day for work.
Non-League club Fleetwood Town paid out £150,000 and put Vardy on £850-a-week wages, better than his previous club. The striker justified the bet on him, scoring 34 goals to gain promotion into League Two. Nigel Pearson then took the biggest gamble on Vardy, spending £1 million (a record for a non-League player) to bring him to Leicester.
Vardy has remained at the club for 8 seasons now. His contributions were crucial in the EPL’s biggest underdog glory story in recent memory. Leicester City won the Premier League title in 2015-16, with odds standing at 5,000/1.
Jamie also won Player of the Season that year and went on to capture his first and only Golden Boot in the 2019-20 season. Today, Vardy is still going strong with a staggering 127 goals in 260 PL appearances, and counting. Considering the journey he has had, it is astonishing how he has become one of the most prolific scorers in the Premier League.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
- Goals: 127
- Accomplishments: 2x Golden Boot Winner, English Super Winner, Portuguese Cup Winner
Jerrel “Jimmy” Floyd Hasselbaink is a Surinamese-born Dutch professional football manager and former player. He is currently the manager of League One club Burton Albion. Born in Suriname, Hasselbaink was raised by his mother on the mean streets of Zaandam, near Amsterdam. He once spent three months in a youth detention facility.
“We were in the poor area with a lot of people from Suriname, Turkey, and Morocco,” he told The Guardian in 2005. He had witnessed so many bad things as a youth that he and his friends were no longer surprised. The trip to the detention center turned Jimmy’s life around, he knew he wanted better.
From the small Dutch clubs of Telstar Velsen and AZ Alkmaar, Hasselbaink became a footballing nomad. He moved across Portugal, England, and Spain before, in 2000, he finally signed for Chelsea. From 1997 to 1999, Floyd played 69 matches for Leeds United and scored 34 goals. But Chelsea was where he found a home. After 4 seasons with the club, Floyd boasted a record of 69 goals in 136 PL appearances.
Football “saved” Hasselbaink, giving him the chance to escape the fate of prison, or even worse. The sport also created a legend and role model for kids around the world. Scoring 127 in 288 PL appearances, Hasselbaink is at 14 on the list of Premier League’s all-time top scorers. If you ever saw a ball tear through the net, it was most likely struck by this man.
Robin van Persie
- Goals: 144
- Accomplishments: 2x Golden Boot Winner, Premier League Champion, FA Cup Winner, UEFA Cup Winner
The all-time top scorer for the Netherlands, Robin Van Persie is a generational talent. Born in Rotterdam, it all began when RVP played for Excelsior as a youth. Robin had reached the highest youth rank, and a stand was named after him in Woudestein, Rotterdam. Since Renamed Van Donge & De Roo Stadion in 2017.
Robin first played first-team football for Feyenoord as a seventeen-year-old on a trainee contract. Feyenoord won the UEFA Cup that year, giving Robin his first taste of success. In August 2002, van Persie signed his first professional contract and became a key player for the Dutch club. It is believed that despite performing well, RVP was sidelined due to his attitude and temperament. After a rough couple of years, Arsenal gave the flying dutchman a fresh set of wings. Feyenoord in exchange received £2.75m.
It was in the 2008 season that Van Persie was named a key member of the club. He scored 96 goals for the gunners across 8 seasons with the club. RVP was brilliant individually but struggled to win major trophies at Arsenal. The Golden Boot and PFA Player of the Year were not enough.
- Goals: 146
- Accomplishments: 3x Premier League Champion, Golden Boot Winner, FA Cup Winner, UEFA Champions League Winner
Edward Paul Sheringham MBE, from Highams Park, is an English football manager and former player. He played as a forward, mostly as a second striker, in a 24-year professional career. Sheringham began his career at Millwall, where he scored 111 goals between 1983 and 1991 and is the club’s second all-time leading scorer.
He left to join Nottingham Forest in the First Division. Sheringham scored Forest’s first Premiership goal a year later and was signed by Tottenham Hotspur. Sheringham joined Manchester United after five seasons at Spurs, winning three Premiership cups, one FA Cup, one UEFA Champions League, an Intercontinental Cup, and an FA Charity Shield.
He won both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards in 2001. His career peaked in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich. Sheringham equalized and assisted on Manchester United’s winning goals. Both goals came in injury time of the second half.
With 146 goals, Sheringham is the twelfth-highest goal scorer in Premier history, as well as the competition’s 19th-highest appearance holder. He is the oldest player to score in a Premier League match (40 years, 268days).
- Goals: 149
- Accomplishments: English League Cup Winner, Turkish Cup Winner
- Goals: 150
- Accomplishments: 3x English League Cup Winner, 2x Golden Boot Winner, Premier League Champion, PL Player of the Season, Ballon d’Or Winner, FA Cup, UEFA Cup Winner, UEFA Supercup Winner
Michael Owen was born on December 14th, 1979, in Chester. He was regarded as one of the top footballers in the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was dubbed “the wonder boy” of English football due to early successes in his teens.
Owen had been named Sportsman of the Year in the United Kingdom in 1998 and was Europe’s Footballer of the Year three years later. He had his best footballing years with Liverpool FC until 2004, before going to Real Madrid for a brief spell (until 2005). Followed by transfers to Newcastle United (until 2009), Manchester United (until 2012), and Stoke City (until 2013).
With Liverpool, he won the FA Cup, League Cup, and UEFA Cup in 2001, as well as the English Premier League top scorer in 1998 and 1999. He scored 18 goals in each season. Owen has scored an impressive 150 Premier League Goals in 326 appearances. Needless to say, Owen is among the most prolific scorers in the Premier League.
In 2001, Michael Owen won the Ballon d’Or, beating Real Madrid’s Raul to the prize. Owen is the most recent English player to win the top individual accolade in men’s football.
He is the Premier League’s tenth-highest scorer, and after Wayne Rooney, England’s second-highest goalscorer in competitive international matches. He is the only player in England history to score in four major tournaments.
- Goals: 162
- Accomplishments: English League Cup Winner, Scottish League Champion
Jermain Defoe was born in Beckton, London. His first professional club was Charlton but he never appeared for them. He was signed by West Ham in 1999. Along with Harry Kane, he is the only currently active player in the EPL’s top 10.
Defoe’s career has seen him guarantee goals at a succession of Premier League sides. West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, Sunderland, and AFC Bournemouth in that order. Defoe also boasts a fine record on the international stage.
The penalty-box poacher has regularly rifled home goals with minimum fuss. His repertoire of finishes is most evident in a five-goal haul against Wigan Athletic in 2009. Defoe remains one of just five players to have scored five times in a Premier League fixture. An instinctive finisher who stands as the ninth highest-scoring player in Premier League history. The ranger is among the most prolific scorers in the Premier League.
- Goals: 163
- Accomplishments: 2x English League Cup Winner, 2x UEFA Super Cup Winner, FA Cup Winner, UEFA Cup Winner
Robert Bernard ‘Robbie’ Fowler signed up as a youth player for Liverpool on his 17th birthday, warming up his career with a 1993 under-18 European Championship win.
Fowler’s first season saw him top score with 18 goals. He went on to win a permanent spot in the 1994-95 season. It included the 1995 League Cup final victory and then fastest ever hat-trick in the Premier League, which came against Arsenal. Unfortunately for him, that record has been broken by Liverpool frontman- Sadio Mane.
Up to 1997, Fowler successfully netted over 30 goals for three successive seasons, tallying 116 in three and a half years – a feat not yet surpassed. Widely considered the most prolific scorer in the Premier League at the time. His England career included 7 goals from 26 caps.
Over 19 EPL seasons, Fowler has played for Liverpool FC, Leeds United, Manchester City, and also made 3 appearances for Blackburn Rovers. He scored 163 goals in 379 appearances.
- Goals: 167
- Accomplishments: 3x Golden Boot, Playmaker of the Season (20-21)
Harry Kane, also known as ‘The HurriKane’. He is the youngest name on this list, and someone in a good position to break the scoring record. Kane has scored 167 goals in 257 games played. Establishing himself as one of the most prolific scorers in the Premier League already.
He has won the Golden Boot (Top scorer award) three times so far. In 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2020-21. Harry Kane also led the league in assists in 2020/21, showing that he is more than a reliable finisher. He is also a complete forward who is uncommonly unselfish.
Excluding 3 appearances for Norwich on loan, Kane has been a one-club man. Might have something to do with the fact that he was born just five miles away from White Hart Lane. Specifically in Chingford, a suburban area in North East London. Now Kane has made over 250 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur, talk about a childhood dream coming to life. He is also England’s captain and has led The Three Lions to the Euro 2020 Finals.
- Goals: 175
- Accomplishments: 4x Golden Boot Award Winner, 3x FA Cup Winner, 2x Spanish Champion, 2x Premier League Champion, 2x PL Player of the Season, FIFA World Cup Winner, UEFA Champions League Winner, Confederations Cup Winner, Spanish Cup Winner, French League Champion, FIFA Club World Cup Winner
Thierry Henry is considered to be one of the greatest forwards to ever play the game. He was signed by AS Monaco in 1994, where he switched from a striker to a left-winger. They won the French Club Championship three years later and Henry’s play was noticed. Halfway through the 1998-99 season a mixup almost had Henry on a flight to Madrid. Instead, he was transferred to Juventus for £9 million. Seven months later Arsenal signed him for £10.5 million.
Legendary Arsenal manager- Arsene Wenger, shifted Henry back to the center of his offense. Because Henry surely had exceptional composure and the finishing ability needed, it didn’t come as a surprise. In fact, in 8 seasons with The Gunners, he scored a club-record 175 goals in 258 Premier League appearances and won two league titles (2001/02 and 2003/04).
Thierry has won the Golden Boot 4 times (2001-02, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06). Thierry Henry has scored more goals than any other for France’s national team. He was also named European Footballer of the Year twice, in 2002 and 2003. He also redefined pursuit of the Champions League trophy.
- Goals: 177
- Accomplishments: 4x FA Cup Winner, 3x Premier League Champion, 2x English League Cup Winner, (04-05) PL Player of the Season, UEFA Champions League Winner, Europa League Winner
The only midfielder in the top 10 scorers. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he’s at no.5 on the all-time EPL scorers list. Frank Lampard, born in Romford, UK. His father Frank Richard Lampard, was a professional football player, who served West Ham United.
Lampard was 17 when his career started. In 1994 he joined the West Ham United youth team where his father was the assistant coach. In 1995, he officially signed with the club.
On January 31st, 1996, Lamps played his first game for West Ham against Coventry City. The legend contributed to West Ham’s highest league finish ever. In 2001, Frankie left his boyhood club and joined Chelsea for £11 million. At the time, it was the second-highest fee Chelsea had spent on a player. It’s also the most by any club in the Premier League for a midfielder.
A justified deal as Frank Lampard became one of Chelsea’s greatest ever players and also a Premier League icon. He is Chelsea’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 211 goals to his name. Lampard has won the league title 3 times (2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10) and Player of the Season in 2004-05.
He could score from a distance as well as create for his teammates. He has scored 177 and assisted 102 goals in 609 appearances in the league. Frank Lampard is widely considered one of the best penalty-scorers as well. Arguably the best midfielder the Premier League has ever seen, accumulating 13 trophies in total.
- Goals: 184
- Accomplishments: 6x English League Cup Winner, 5x Premier League Champion, Golden Boot Award Winner, Copa America Winner, Olympic Gold Medalist, UEFA Europa League Winner, FA Cup Winner
Sergio Agüero was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After scoring at least twenty goals per season with Atletico Madrid, except in his first one, Manchester City signed him for £35 million.
Agüero came on as a substitute in the 59th minute, scoring his first goal for the club within nine minutes. He then turned provider with an assist for David Silva. Agüero rounded off his debut by scoring again in injury time with a 30-yard strike. His 30-minute debut gained rave reviews among football journalists, some suggested it was the best in English football.
Sergio scored 184 in 275 league appearances, including the competition’s most famous goal. It was he who scored the goal to win Manchester City’s first Premier League title. Deep into injury time in the final game of the season, Man City robbed their bitter-rivals Manchester United, in a moment no witness can ever forget.
Although he has won the golden boot just once, he is one of the best scorers in terms of consistency. He also played a crucial part in all of Man City’s 5 title wins with him. Agüero has scored more Premier League goals than any other overseas player. Clearly one of the most prolific scorers in the Premier League.
- Goals: 187
- Accomplishments: 5x Premier League Champion, 2x FA Cup Winner, Golden Boot Award Winner, English League Cup Winner, UEFA Champions League Winner, Intercontinental Winner
Andrew Cole, from Nottingham, had a brief stint with Arsenal before beginning his career with Bristol City. He quickly became one of the hottest young prospects in England, and Newcastle United broke their transfer record to sign him. It’s safe to say the league was never the same again.
Cole scored 68 goals in just 84 games for the Magpies with an astronomic strike rate of 81%. He was then transferred to Manchester United for a record fee of £7 million on January 10, 1995.
At Old Trafford Cole became the first player to score five goals in a Premier League match, as Manchester United trounced Ipswich Town 9-0 on 4 March 1995. Leicester City became the first side to match United’s margin of victory, when they put nine past Southampton in October 2019.
However, the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjær – and being the victim of two broken legs, restricted Cole’s first-team chances further. He managed to recover by December that year and played in 20 Premier League matches for the season. Andrew Cole ended the season strongly, scoring several crucial goals to complete his comeback. Among the crucial goals was the title sealing goal in a landmark 3–1 win for United at Anfield – the scene of his broken legs just half a season earlier.
A tremendously decorated career saw Cole as one of the few players in England to have swept all the possible honors. Including the PFA Young Player of the Year award, as well as the coveted UEFA Champions League title. He was crowned Premier League champion 5 times.
- Goals: 208
- Accomplishments: 5x Premier League Champion, 4x English League Cup Winner, UEFA Champions League Winner, FA Cup Winner, FIFA Club World Cup Winner, Europa League Winner, (09-10) PL Player of the Season
Wayne Rooney might currently be a manager, but he is one of the greatest soccer players of all time. Rooney was born in Croxteth, Liverpool. A city set to suffer many defeats at the hands of this man. Not the only ones who regret not rolling the dice on Wayne Rooney. One of the most prolific scorers the Premier League has ever seen.
Rooney made his professional debut with his local club Everton at age 16, becoming the youngest goal-scorer in Premier League history in his first season. The record has since been surpassed. After two years playing for Everton, he transferred to Manchester United in 2004.
Wayne Rooney has scored 208 goals in 491 appearances, of which 393 were for The Red Devils. Known for his temper, Rooney struck the ball with a unique ferocity without compromising on accuracy. In 2011, His acrobatic goal in the Manchester derby will forever be a treat to watch on loop. Manchester United’s goal of the decade and one for the ages.
Wayne Rooney was the player of the season in 2009-10 and has 5 EPL titles to his name. A legend for his club as well as for the country. Rooney is both England’s most-capped outfield player of all-time with 119 appearances and their leading goalscorer with 53 goals. Manchester United’s all-time top scorer as well. The Premier League’s most successful club by far.
- Goals: 260
- Accomplishments: 3x Golden Boot Award Winner, Premier League Champion, (94-95) PL Player of the Year
Alan Shearer is top of the most prolific scorers in the Premier League. The record-holder for most Premier League goals, with 260 goals in 441 appearances.
Born in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne. His breakthrough came when he helped a Newcastle City School team win a seven-a-side tournament at St.James’ Park. Making him seriously consider a career in football.
In 1994-95, for the first time in the Premier League, the trophy was not lifted by Manchester United. Blackburn Rovers ended an 81-year wait for the top-flight title. Shearer won the Golden Boot and equaled Andrew Cole’s league-high tally of 34 the previous season. It was the only time Alan won the league title but he remained a force to never be forgotten.
Winner of 3 golden boot awards, in 1994-95, 1995-96, and 1996-97. For those three seasons, no one else came close. He scored 90 league goals in those three seasons. Winner of the PFA Player of the Year award in 1995 and named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.
If there was a ball and there was a goal, nothing could stop Alan Shearer. He’s now the all-time top scorer of the Premier League era, and by a margin of 52 goals too!