The numbers speak for themselves. Almost eight years in England, 229 Premier League appearances and an astonishing 160 goals, including 11 hat-tricks. He’s won every domestic English trophy he can in his time at City, with 222 goals in all competitions for the reigning Premier League champions.
Surely now is the time to recognise Sergio Agüero as one of, if not, the greatest Premier League striker of all time.
Since arriving at the Etihad in 2011 at just 23 years old, Sergio has written himself into City folklore, most notably with that goal to win the league for the first time back in 2012, his first season in English football, where he found the net 23 times. The ex-Atletico Madrid man has always been the man for the big moment on the blue side of Manchester, with an impressive nine in 13 against Manchester United.
There is a whole platitude of names to compare the Argentinian to. Be it Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole, Ian Wright, England Captain Harry Kane, Liverpool legends Robbie Fowler or Luis Suarez
So, let’s dive into all of the numbers. Of the strikers previously mentioned, only Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba have won more Premier League titles than Agüero, five and four respectively, but to the annoyance of any Liverpool fans reading this, Sergio and the Blues could be on their way to their fourth this season. The Argentinian, whose son is grandfathered by the notorious Diego Maradona, has by far the best goalscoring record of the three though. The Ivorian Drogba scored 104 in 254 league games, coming out at around 0.41 goals per game. Somewhat surprisingly, the 2012 Champions League winner only reached the 20 goal mark twice during his Premier League career.
Former Everton man Rooney was also less efficient than many may have expected, but last season’s return to Goodison Park and the longevity of his Premier League career do play a role in diminishing these states. England’s record goalscorer scored 208 in 491, for a return of 0.43 goals per game.
Sergio Agüero currently ranks 8th all-time for Premier League goals, just two behind Jermain Defoe and three behind ex-Liverpool man Robbie Fowler. An honourable mention has to go out to Andy Cole, who a huge 187 goals in 414 games in 18 Premier League seasons which included five titles.
Two strikers spent less time in the Premier League than any other names in the conversation were Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Ex-Liverpool player Luis Suarez. The Dutchman Van Nistelrooy played five seasons in England, reaching the 20-goal mark four times, meaning the 2003 Premier League winner scored 0.63 goals a game, placing him firmly in the upper echelon of Premier League goalscorers. In just 110 games Suarez netted 69 times, leading his side in the 2013/14 title race that they eventually let slip.
While we’re on the topic of Liverpool, it’s perhaps impossible to talk about the best goalscorers in the league at the moment without talking about the Egyptian King, Mo Salah. In 75 Premier League games, for both Chelsea and Liverpool, the Liverpool hero has scored 51 goals, at a rate of 0.68 a game. During his time at Anfield, Salah has astonishingly scored at a rate of 0.79 goals a game, a rate higher than anyone else in this list. However, it’s vital to note the sample size available for Liverpool’s number 11, with this rate of goal scoring likely to fall throughout his time playing for last season’s Champions League runners-up.
Robbie Fowler scored 163 goals in 379 games in the Premier League, hitting the back of the net in 16 straight seasons but was never the same player after an ACL injury aged 22. Fernando Torres would be a major name in any discussion about the best strikers in Premier League strikers had he not departed Anfield for Stamford Bridge in 2010. The Spaniard scored 65 league goals in 102 games for the Reds, forming a brilliant partnership with club legend Steven Gerrard, before going onto score just 20 in 110 for Chelsea, however injuries also caught up with the Spaniard.
Away from Anfield, there is an exclusive group who can be said to have matched the achievements of Sergio Agüero in his time at Manchester City. Ian Wright, who scored 113 in 213 top-flight games, declared that City’s Argentinian striker doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves, high praise from an Arsenal legend.
In my opinion, just three names deserve to be put alongside Agüero in this discussion.
Thierry Henry, the ‘Greatest ever Gunner’ is well and truly up there with the best. The Frenchman scored 175 goals in 258 Premier League games, a rate of 0.67 goals a game, picking up two Premier League titles along the way, playing a major role in the Invincible team of 2003-2004.
One of the three still has plenty yet to prove. That’s Harry Kane, England’s Captain, the World Cup Golden Boot Winner, and ‘One-Season Wonder’ whose ‘luck’ has carried over for four seasons now. The 6 foot 2 striker, who spent time on loan at Norwich, Millwall and Leyton Orient finally announced himself in the Premier League with 21 goals in 34 appearances at just 21 years old. His rampant run of goalscoring has continued ever since, with 122 in 175, for a return of 0.697 goals per game. It is practically impossible to downplay the success of Kane, who is still searching for his first taste of silverware, in his short time in the Premier League. He is by far and away the only name who can be compared to Sergio Agüero of those currently in the Premier League, and it is anyone’s guess just how many the ex-Arsenal academy player may score by the time he hangs up the boots. At just 25, he’s got a long way to go yet.
Alan Shearer, the leading Premier League goalscorer of all time, with 260 in 441, notably played on teams which were far weaker than those Agüero has enjoyed time on. Shearer’s time at Newcastle saw the club reach Europe on multiple occasions, with the Magpies finishing 3rd in 2003, a season in which the boyhood Newcastle fan netted 17 in 35. Prior to Leicester’s miracle run in the 2015/2016 season, just five clubs had won the Premier League since the inaugural season in 1992/1993. Manchester United (13), Chelsea (5), Arsenal and Man City (3) all lead the way. The 5th? Championship side Blackburn Rovers, led by talisman Alan Shearer, who scored 34 goals in 42 games in the 1994/1995 season, back when the Premier League had 22 teams. From this, it’s evident that perhaps we never saw just what Alan Shearer could do. Just imagine if he was on the end of balls from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, as Agüero is, or Dennis Bergkamp, as Thierry Henry so often was.
Pep Guardiola’s number 10 has scored 0.698 goals a game in his time on British shores, just edging out Tottenham’s Harry Kane. The Argentine has exactly 100 goals to go to match Alan Shearer’s Premier League record, having played 212 fewer games than the Geordie. Having signed a new contract to stay at the Etihad until the end of 2021 season, Sergio has a tall task on his hands to match the Premier League record, but if anyone can reach the record, he’s proven it’s him.
After all, Sunday saw Agüero match Shearer’s record for most hat-tricks in the Premier League, at 11.
In conclusion, it’s impossible to confidently confirm exactly who the greatest Premier League striker of all time is. It’s also impossible to deny that the Argentine is well on his way to a Hall of Fame-worthy career for City, most notably for that late goal against Queens Park Rangers. For me, he’s worthy of the crown as the King of Premier League strikers, and there’s plenty of time for him to prove that me right.