In the last few weeks we have been greeted with rumours that Arsene Wenger is seeking the services of a target man for Arsenal. In light of these recent rumours I decided to look back on the best target men of all time in the Premier League.
5. Kevin Davies (Southampton/Blackburn/Bolton)
Now this may definitely raise a few eyebrows but let’s be honest, the man keeps Bolton up season after season with his priceless goals. Hated everywhere by Arsenal fans, Davies is a textbook target man, flinging his elbows everywhere to win headers and hold up play. He has been impressive for Bolton throughout the years and has not let the stick that he and Sam Allardyce have received affect him. It is fitting that Davies has recently been made captain considering the invaluable role he has played for the Trotters since joinng in 2003.
4. Niall Quinn (Manchester City/Sunderland)
A target man by definition, this man lived by his ability to use his head, both literally and mentally. He was a clever player whose partnership with Kevin Phillips led Sunderland not only into the Premier League, but also to two consecutive 7th place finishes. Always a man to rise to the occasion, Quinn was a handful for bitter rivals Newcastle United, scoring a notable header in a game a St James Park to secure a result for the Black Cats. Quinn’s value to Sunderland was emphasised after he retired from the game and the north-east club failed to replace him. One of the best aerial players the league has ever seen.
3. Ruud Van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)
There is ample debate as to whether this man qualifies as a target man, however there is no doubt that some of his greatest attributes are those commonly found in the target man role. He is powerful yet agile but above all he is creative, a quality that is sometimes underappreciated in a target man. In his time at United, Van Nistelrooy would often create chances out of nothing by pressing the issue. He is arguably the best in the world at being in the right place at the right time, a key skill for a player who has to lead the line on their own. Van Nistelrooy bagged close to 100 league goals during his time at Old Trafford and is held in high regard in the Premier League, so much so that he is currently being linked with a return to England.
2. Alan Shearer (Southampton/Blackburn/Newcastle)
A Newcastle legend, Shearer is a classic number nine. The natural talent that the striker possessed was coupled with a no nonsense, hard working attitude and a determination to succeed. A hat-trick on his debut in 1998 was followed by an 18 year career of football full of goals. You would struggle to find a Premier League player with a harder drive that Shearer having been notorious for leaving goalkeepers with no chance from free-kicks and penalties. He also had in his locker the ability to score wonder goals with a volley against Everton and deft touch against Aston Villa coming to mind. The perfect role model for any aspiring centre forwards.
1. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
The sole reason for the long ball criticism that Jose Mourinho’s side received as Chelsea claimed back to back titles in 2005 and 2006. The Ivorian is one of the most powerful players in world football and his ability to hold up play allowed for wingers Damien Duff and Arjen Robben to overlap and cause Premiership defences turmoil. He has experienced a recent rejuvenation that has seen him score 13 league goals in 15 games already this season; he is an absolute nightmare for defenders. When on his best form the striker is impossible to handle and his willingness to go down after the slightest touch when it suits him just adds further to the misery he can cause a team.
So do you agree or disagree? Think Les Ferdinand or Peter Crouch should have been in there? Comment below
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