Ranked: The top 10 centre forwards in European football right now
Though defences are meant to form the foundation on which titles are won, the standout players in league-winning sides are often star strikers whose goals – and assists – blow opponents aside.
As football evolves, centre forwards are now expected to be more than just goals, with aerial ability and link up play vital to the way teams function.
Europe’s top five leagues are currently blessed with an abundance of exciting centre forwards, ranging from young blood to seasoned-veterans.
Taking into consideration performances this season as well as reputation built over the past few years, Squawka has ranked the top ten centre forwards in Europe’s top five leagues.
For the purpose of this article, Paulo Dybala does not count as a centre forward due to playing as a second striker behind Gonzalo Higuain at Juventus.
10. Edin Dzeko (AS Roma)
After failing to dislodge Sergio Aguero as Manchester City’s number one striker, Dzeko has flourished in Rome, scoring 39 goals in all competitions last season. This season, the Bosnian has managed seven goals from 36 shots so far and has also created 12 chances for his teammates, with one assist.
9. Ciro Immobile (Lazio)
Since returning to Serie A, Immobile has found form once again and this season has already contributed to 12 goals for Lazio with three assists to add to his nine goals. Only Paulo Dybala has scored more goals than Immobile in Serie A this season. The Italian also has an impressive shot accuracy of 73%, with 22 shots on target.
8. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
Bundesliga’s top scorer last season, Aubameyang has picked up from where he left off with eight goals in his opening seven games from 26 shots. A healthy rivalry with Robert Lewandowski over the past few seasons has pushed the Gabon international to great heights. But, with after winning just 36% of his duels, there is still a way to go for Aubameyang.
7. Dries Mertens (Napoli)
Converted from left-wing to centre-forward following the sale of Manolo Gabbiadini last season, Mertens’ stock has risen astronomically with 32 Serie A goals since his switch to the centre. This season, the Belgian has shown he hasn’t lost his creative side by winning 55% of his take-ons and two assists from 10 chances created.
6. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
Lukaku’s goalscoring ability at Everton earned him a move to Manchester United during the summer and the Belgian has continued his form this season with seven goals. The way Lukaku scores goals has also varied this season with four coming from his favoured left foot, two with his right and one header.
5. Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)
Since Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure, Cavani has been allowed to play as a striker at PSG and both player and club have benefitted.
49 goals in all competitions last season has been complimented with 11 in Ligue 1 and Champions League this seasons. The Uruguay international has won all four of his take-ons so far this season and with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe either side, 30 league goals should be easily achieved.
4. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Despite various minor injury problems, Aguero has still hit 20 goals or more in each of the past three seasons. When on the pitch, Aguero always proves himself to be a threat and has risen to the challenge set by Gabriel Jesus.
Averaging 1.16 goals per 90 minutes and three assists in the Premier League this season, Aguero remains a world-class forward.
3. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Fighting with Aubameyang to be Bundesliga top scorer, Lewandowski has scored 30 goals in each of the past two seasons.
Though right-footed, 50% of the Polish centre forward’s goals this season has come from his left, with another scored with a header. Lewandowski’s eight goals have come from 24 shots this season, a conversion rate of 33.3%.
2. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Dubbed a one-season wonder by opposition fans, Kane has now been Premier League top scorer for two consecutive years and looks likely to make it three in a row.
Despite not scoring in August, Kane has scored just one goal fewer than Lukaku and no Premier League player has taken more shots than the Englishman’s 44 this season.
1. Radamel Falcao (Monaco)
After two poor seasons in the Premier League with Manchester United and Chelsea in a return from a cruciate ligament injury, many had decided that Falcao’s career was up.
However, on his return to Monaco the Colombian has proven any doubters wrong with 21 goals last season to help his side to the Ligue 1 title.
The Monaco captain has also failed to score in just one league game this season – a 4-0 defeat to Nice.
Winning 45% of his aerial duels in Ligue 1 this season, four of Falcao’s 12 goals have been scored with his head.