Being a striker is not an easy job for a player. While other players get praised after a good performance, strikers aren’t usually let off easy because even if they played well but didn’t manage to score, the game won’t be considered a complete success for them. Football is a game of statistics and at the end of the day, it is the scoreline that matters the most to everyone, including the players themselves. The main aim of every match is to outscore the opponent and since getting the goals is a striker’s main job on the pitch, they are usually under pressure to get a win for the team.
Strikers certainly face the most scrutiny among the players. Before every match, people are always counting how many goals a certain striker has scored so far into the season, or how many games they’ve gone without scoring. Numbers don’t lie, so whenever a striker starts to slack off even a little, it doesn’t go unnoticed. The situation is usually worse for the extremely poor strikers as people are always watching to see just how deep they are going to sink.
The Premier League has had its share of bad strikers over the years but there’s always the worst of the bunch. So here’s a list of the worst strikers in the Premier League era for the teams that are currently playing in the top league.
20. Arsenal – Park Chu-young
Park Chu-young first came into the spotlight after his impressive performances for the South Korea under-20 team. He joined Arsenal in 2011, having previously played for French side Monaco, whom he left following their relegation to Ligue 2. It is believed that Park was actually scheduled to join Lille but changed his mind after he became aware of Arsenal’s interest. He rarely got any playing time at Arsenal and his situation worsened when Lukas Podolski joined the club.
It got to a point that his national team coach advised him to leave the English club if he wanted to keep his place on the team. Following two loan spells at Watford and Celta Vigo, he was released by Arsenal in 2014 and went on to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab. He made only seven appearances for Arsenal, scoring just one goal in the process.
19. Bournemouth – Tokelo Rantie
Before his stint in England, Rantie played on loan to Swedish Division 2 side IFK Hässleholm and Orlando Pirates in his native South Africa, scoring 10 times in 12 games for the former and seven times in 20 games for the latter. He was bought by Malmö, with whom he won the league title in his final season. Malmö eventually sold him to Bournemouth in 2013, reportedly for a club record fee of £2.5 million.
At Bournemouth, he struggled for a position in the starting eleven as even the new signings were preferred over him. He managed to score a rather pathetic five goals in 47 appearances for Bournemouth and ended up joining Turkish side Gençlerbirliği on a permanent deal in August of last year.
18. Burnley – Lukas Jutkiewicz
Born in Southampton, Lukas Jutkiewicz joined the Saints Academy, where he started his youth career. He, however, left after three years and never got to play for the senior team. His first unsuccessful stint in the Premier League came with Everton. He joined the club in 2007 for a fee of £1 million but ended up being loaned out to other clubs for the majority of his time there. He left in 2010 having made only one appearance for Everton and scoring no goals. He got another opportunity to play in the Premier League when he joined newly promoted Burnley in 2014.
Unfortunately for Burnley, he was even worse than he had been at Everton. Despite showing some promise in Burnley’s pre-season campaign, he couldn’t do the same when it came to competitive games. After 35 appearances and zero goals to show for it, he was loaned out to Birmingham City, who recently signed him to a permanent contract.
17. Chelsea – Robert Fleck
Though the likes of Fernando Torres and Andriy Shevchenko are worthy contenders, the honor ultimately goes to one Robert Fleck. His move from Norwich City to Chelsea in 1992 was rather controversial. Fleck was a favorite among the Norwich supporters and had just been voted as the club’s player of the year. Thus, Norwich wasn’t eager to part with Fleck when Chelsea expressed their interest in him. Fleck thus decided to take on the task of forcing the move by threatening to go on strike and refusing to play for Norwich again.
He joined Chelsea right before the first season of the newly formed Premier League for a fee of £2.1 million. This proved to be a wrong move for the goals disappeared and he ended up being loaned out to Bolton Wanderers and Bristol City. In 1995, he went back to Norwich having scored only 3 goals in 40 league games for Chelsea. There’s a stark contrast between his performances for Chelsea and Norwich because while he barely scored at the former, he is actually one of the top all-time goalscorers for the latter.
16. Crystal Palace – Tomas Brolin
Tomas Brolin was a talented footballer who performed well early in his career. However, things took a turn for the worse after he signed for Leeds United in 1995. He was plagued by injuries during his time at Leeds and whenever he was available to play, he always displayed a low level of fitness. Loan moves to other clubs were equally unsuccessful and despite Leeds trying their best to offload him to another club, they couldn’t find any that were interested. In 1997, the club finally got rid of Brolin after reaching an agreement with him to terminate his contract.
Crystal Palace decided to take their chances with Brolin and swooped in to hand him a contract following a two-week trial. Due to player shortages, Brolin who also played as a midfielder, was mostly used as a striker. He never scored in his 13 league appearances for Palace and following their relegation from the Premier League, the club released him after a few months. Brolin ended up retiring in 1998 at the age of 28.
15. Everton – Brett Angell
Brett Angell actually started his football career as a defender before converting to a striker. Turns out he was a pretty decent striker and at the end of each season, he almost always ended up being the top goalscorer for his club. His growing reputation while playing for clubs in the lower divisions eventually attracted interest from Everton, whom he joined on loan. Following two loan spells at Goodison Park, Everton inexplicably signed him for a fee of £500,000 despite the fact that he had played just once in each spell and hadn’t even scored. It proved to be a reckless signing considering Angell had just undergone surgery on his leg and thus wasn’t able to play well. He scored only once for Everton and was sold to Sunderland, where he was equally disappointing.
14. Hull City – Nick Proschwitz
Nick Proschwitz started his career in Switzerland and the lower leagues in his native Germany. In 2012, he joined Hull on a three-year contract for a fee of £2.6 million. In his first season, he helped Hull win a promotion to the Premier League after he scored in the club’s final match of the season. This was to be his biggest contribution to the team; once they got to the Premier League, nothing came out of him and he ended up being loaned out to Barnsley for half of the season. At the end of his second season, he left Hull and signed for Championship side Brentford. He had managed to score only three goals in 29 league appearances for Hull — not worthy of bragging rights.
13. Leicester City – Ade Akinbiyi
Akinbiyi joined Leicester in 2000 as a replacement for Emile Heskey, who had left for Liverpool. Fans expected the goals to keep coming just as it had been at his two former clubs, Wolves and Bristol City. They were instead left disappointed for Akinbiyi’s time at Leicester was nothing short of disastrous. He is still remembered for his woeful display in a 4-1 home defeat to Liverpool. Akinbiyi failed to capitalize on four easy chances, the worst of them being a miss from six yards in the last minute — an embarrassing moment to say the least.
He left in 2002 having scored only 11 goals in 58 league appearances for Leicester. Following his departure, Akinbiyi went on to play for seven different clubs before finally retiring in 2015.
12. Liverpool – Sean Dundee
“I’ve always been the quickest player at every club I’ve been at, but I hear Michael Owen is pretty quick so we’ll see….” That was Sean Dundee’s answer when asked what he was bringing to the table following his arrival at Anfield in 1998. Dundee had a decent goalscoring record in the Bundesliga so Liverpool decided to part with £2 million as they needed a striker to fill in for the injured Robbie Fowler. It didn’t take long for joint managers Gérard Houllier and Roy Evans to realize that they’d made a huge mistake.
Dundee ended up playing only three league games for Liverpool, coming in as a substitute in all three matches. He went back to Germany after the season ended having scored no goals for Liverpool. Turns out Dundee was quicker than Michael Owen after all, when it came to being booted out of the club that is.
11. Middlesbrough – Lee Dong-Gook
Before moving to the Premier League, Lee Dong-Gook had played in his native South Korea and Germany, where he’d been sent on loan to Werder Bremen. He joined Middlesbrough in January 2007 on an 18-month contract. His performance at Middlesbrough was quite dismal for he never once managed to hit the back of the net in his 23 Premier League appearances for the club. Thus, the club chose not to renew his contract when it expired at the end of the 2008 Premier League season. He currently plays for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the K-league. His form has been quite good ever since he joined his current club and in 2012, he became the K-League’s all-time leading goalscorer, a record he still holds to this day.
10. Manchester City – Jô
The Brazilian striker signed for Manchester City in 2008, following a decent spell at Russian side CSKA Moscow. The fee was believed to have been about £19 million, a club record at that time. Jô found it difficult to get some playing time, which made it even harder for him to get into the first team. He ended up being sent out on loan to Everton twice. He eventually went back to City after he was suspended by Everton manager David Moyes for returning to Brazil without permission during the Christmas period.
He was again loaned out, this time to Galatasaray and following his return to England after his loan spell expired, it became clear that his situation at City wasn’t going to improve anytime soon. He left Manchester City in 2011 and decided to return to Brazil, where he joined Sport Club Internacional. He scored only one league goal during his time at City.
9. Manchester United – Dong Fangzhuo
In January 2004, Dong Fangzhuo joined Manchester United, making him the first Chinese player to sign for the club. His signing was, however, believed to have been a marketing strategy aimed at increasing United’s prominence in Asia. Fangzhuo found himself unable to play for United due to legal issues involving his work permit. He was thus loaned out to Belgian side Royal Antwerp. His record at Antwerp was impressive and included a season in which he finished as the top goalscorer for both his club and the Belgian Second Division. He eventually obtained a work permit and went back to United, where he mostly played for the reserves as Premier League appearances were scarce. With zero goals in four league appearances for United, he left in 2008 in order to find first-team opportunities elsewhere. He retired from football early last year.
8. Southampton – Ali Dia
Ali Dia’s solitary appearance for Southampton is an incident that still remains shrouded in mystery. It is believed that in 1996, Dia had his friend from university call then-Southampton manager Graeme Souness in order to dupe him into signing Dia. This was achieved by convincing Souness that Dia was the cousin of former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah and had played for Paris Saint-Germain and Senegal. Dia ended up signing a one-month contract with Southampton and soon made his Premier League debut in a match against Leeds United. He came off the bench to replace Southampton legend Matthew Le Tissier and after a rather embarrassing display, was substituted as Leeds went on to win the match.
He was released just 14 days into his contract and was never to be seen again. His disastrous appearance for Southampton made sure that he is always a top contender for the number one spot whenever someone decides to make a list of the worst footballers.
7. Stoke – Vincent Péricard
Vincent Péricard joined Stoke on a free transfer in 2006. Despite a promising start which saw him score on his home debut, his performance later in the season was poor. He was loaned out to Southampton for awhile before he returned to Stoke. He found it difficult to make himself a permanent fixture in the first team following Stoke’s promotion to the Premier League. Following a second loan spell, this time to Millwall, Péricard finally parted ways with Stoke in 2009. He’d scored only four goals in 45 appearances for Stoke. Péricard revealed that due to his poor form, he suffered from depression during his time at Stoke and because of that, he is nowadays trying to raise awareness about mental health issues in football.
6. Sunderland – Jozy Altidore
Jozy Altidore has had two unsuccessful stints in the Premier League. The first one came at Hull and the second at Sunderland, which puts him in the unenviable position of being a contender for worst striker in the history of both teams. In 2009, he joined Hull on loan from Villarreal and left after one season, having scored only once in 28 Premier League appearances. He joined Sunderland in 2013, following a prolific stint with Dutch side AZ. He was a total flop at Sunderland, managing to score only thrice in 52 appearances for the club.
In a bid to save his national team career, the American striker left for Toronto FC in January 2015 in exchange for Jermaine Defoe. The MLS has proven to be a better environment for him as he seems to have found the form that had eluded him in the Premier League.
5. Swansea – Alvaro Vazquez
Though not a permanent signing for Swansea, Alvaro Vazquez still has the honor of being their worst striker. Vazquez started his career in Spanish side Espanyol’s youth system and after a stint in their B team, he eventually got promoted to the main team. After two years on the main team, he joined fellow league club Getafe, with whom he spent one season before Michael Laudrup signed him to Swansea City on loan. His signing ended up being a total waste since he never once managed to hit the back of the net during his time at Swansea. He went back to Getafe and eventually signed for Espanyol last year. Swansea probably thanked their lucky stars they had not signed him on a permanent deal.
4. Tottenham – Hélder Postiga
After playing for Porto’s youth team and the reserve squad, Postiga eventually made it to the first team. His big break came when Porto hired Jose Mourinho, who made him a first-team regular. This proved to be a wise decision for Postiga went on to have a successful season, which culminated in Porto winning the treble. His performance got him into the Portugal national team and soon, the Premier League came calling. After the season ended, he joined Tottenham for a fee of £6.25 million. He was never as good as he had been in Portugal and only managed to score once in 19 league appearances for Tottenham.
Despite having signed him on a five-year contract, Tottenham was quick to part ways with him after only one season. He thus went back to Porto in exchange for another player. Sadly, it didn’t go well for him at Porto the second time around.
3. Watford – Jerome Sinclair
Jerome Sinclair started his youth career in West Brom before joining Liverpool’s youth academy in 2011. The coaching staff at Liverpool likened him to Raheem Sterling and his impressive displays for the youth teams made then-Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers take notice. Rodgers thus called him up to the first team for a League Cup game, making him Liverpool’s youngest player of all time, having made his senior debut at the age of 16 years and six days. He never became a fully-fledged first-team player and after a brief loan spell at Wigan Athletic, he moved to Watford last year.
So far, he has a tally of zer0 goals in only two league appearances for Watford. While Sinclair is still only twenty years old and could eventually turn things around, he certainly hasn’t been of much help to Watford ever since he joined the club. With him already being linked with a loan move elsewhere, his future at Watford is rather uncertain at the moment.
2. West Brom – Markus Rosenberg
Markus Rosenberg started his career at Malmö and after stints at Ajax, Werder Bremen and Racing Santander, he joined West Brom in 2012 on a three-year contract. His time at the club was quite disastrous as he failed to score any goals during his first season. His second season was not any better and after playing only four matches, he left after both he and the club had reached a mutual agreement to terminate his contract. He never scored for West Brom.
Having previously made known his intention to finish his career at his hometown club Malmö, Rosenberg went back to the Swedish side, where he currently plays. His performance improved dramatically and it seems that going back home was a good decision for him.
1. West Ham – Marco Boogers
The Dutch footballer joined West Ham from Sparta Rotterdam in 1995 for a fee of £1 million. This was despite the fact that West Ham manager Harry Redknapp had never seen him play. In fact, Redknapp himself admitted to having signed him on a whim after watching a videotape where Boogers appeared to be a decent player. Needless to say, things didn’t go well for him at West Ham. In his second appearance for the club, he was sent off for a reckless challenge on Gary Neville that got him a four-match suspension. He played only four games for West Ham and never managed to score any goals.
Nowadays, the only things he’s remembered for are his horrible tackle on Neville and a ridiculous rumor about him living in a caravan site back in the Netherlands.
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