Projecting How Many Goals the Premier League's Top Forwards Will Score in Their Careers

Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League | Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Premier League's current legendary goalscorers all started somewhere and at one point or another were looking for that next milestone goal, whether it be 50, 70, 100, 150...

Among the players of today, several will end up all-time legends in their own right in due course, with Sergio Aguero close to becoming only the third player in Premier League history to reach 200 goals.

Here's a projection of how many goals 10 of the Premier League's best current forwards will end up with by the time their careers in the English top flight are at an end.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores against Everton | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Arsenal future of club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is only under contract in north London for one more year.

90min has previously reported that Arsenal, a club who have struggled with the final impact of coronavirus, could sell Aubameyang. The Gunners have negotiated a pay cut with the squad and senior official Josh Kroenke has previously warned against the problem of having a squad on Champions League wages funded by a Europa League budget.

Even if there is no market for Aubameyang this summer as a result of coronavirus obliterating the buying power of clubs across Europe, the Gabon star may not be around much longer.

Aubameyang scored 22 goals in his only full Premier League season so far, following on from 10 in 13 games when he first arrived. Another 17 in 26 so far in 2019/20 is equally impressive, but his final tally will stay relatively low because his stay is likely to be brief.

Current PL Goal Tally: 49

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 54

A projected final Premier League tally of 54 is only five more than Aubameyang has now.

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling scores against Wolves | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

If Manchester City lose their fight against a UEFA ruling to ban them from the Champions League for two seasons, it puts Raheem Sterling in a difficult position. At 25, if he wants to spend his peak years somewhere he has a chance of winning it, he would have to leave City in order to do it.

There are links with Manchester United that have emerged just this month, but if Sterling goes anywhere it is highly probable to be somewhere overseas.

If City do lose their appeal, it could mean Sterling leaving quite suddenly ahead of next season. Of course, there has to be a willing buyer with the funds to make it happen, and those could be even scarcer in the current climate.

If Sterling doesn’t leave City this year to ensure he is playing Champions League football, the chances of him leaving at all suddenly drop dramatically because half the ban would already be elapsed.

Sterling has only found his feet in front of goal since 2017 and has actually had a down year by his own new standards in 2019/20. If he leaves English football sooner rather than later, perhaps returning in his thirties, it is feasible he might not add too many more goals to his tally.

Current PL Goal Tally: 77

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 115

Robbie Fowler is the youngest player to reach 100 Premier League goals at 23 years and 282 days.

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah scores against Bournemouth | Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Predicting when Mohamed Salah might leave Liverpool is not easy. The Egyptian has been a key part of the club’s growing success over the last few seasons and is arguably the most expendable member of the Reds’ existing front three.

That being said, it has been well established that Liverpool have no intention of breaking up that trio, while there may not be much of a selling market for a 30-year-old Salah in 2022.

At some point in the not too distant future the Reds will have to start moving on and begin the process of rebuilding for the next cycle.

Salah is under contract at Anfield until 2023 and perhaps with a shorter-term extension in the intervening years to protect his value could be allowed to leave in 2022.

If that proves to be the case, there would likely be no end of suitors willing to take him, but it wouldn’t be a blockbuster deal because of the lack of clubs prepared to spend big on players with minimal long-term potential in the post-Neymar transfer market.

Salah will easily break 100 Premier League goals if he continues his current scoring rate for the next two years. The question will be by how much because in 2019/20 he’s on course to fall just shy of his 2018/19 tally, which in turn was less than his 2017/18 return.

Current PL Goal Tally: 72

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 115

The only African player to break the 100-goal barrier in Premier League history is Didier Drogba.

Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy scores against Aston Villa | Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

For someone who hadn’t played league football before the age of 25 or top flight football until he was 27, it is remarkable that Jamie Vardy is only a single goal shy of a Premier League century.

Leading the Golden Boot race this season, the 33-year-old will almost certainly reach the 100-goal milestone when the 2019/20 resumes. Then it will be a case of how much longer he can continue playing at this level and maintain a good output.

Vardy suggested in 2016 that his late arrival to the professional game might help him extend his career and it is easy to imagine he could remain a Leicester player until the end of his current contract in 2022 and perhaps a short extension on top of that to 2023, by when he’ll be 36.

Before coronavirus, Vardy was on course to eclipse his most prolific Premier League campaign to date. He could still do that by reaching 25, despite the lengthy break in play, and it is easy to imagine decreasing tallies could follow in the next two years.

Current PL Goal Tally: 99

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 125

125 Premier League goals would put Vardy level with Nicolas Anelka.

Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial
Anthony Martial scores against Norwich | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Anthony Martial is on the cusp of becoming a potentially very good goalscorer and has reaped the rewards of a noticeable shift in his mentality this season. He is also benefitting from being the main man at Manchester United for the first time since he was a teenager in 2015/16.

Fitness and consistency still hold Martial back occasionally, although it is easy to forget that he is still only 24. His improvement this campaign has therefore come at the right time as he prepares to enter his peak years next season and beyond.

The Frenchman has averaged a goal almost every other game in the Premier League this season, so 15 each campaign shouldn’t be beyond him. He also appears to have won over manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and so is unlikely to be shipped out before he is 30.

If he signs one more long-term deal in the next couple of years to extend his contract beyond its current expiry in 2024, it is plausible to think United would accept an offer for Martial around 2026, giving him six more years to score goals in the Premier League.

Current PL Goal Tally: 45

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 135

As things stand, only Wayne Rooney has more than 135 Premier League goals in United colours.

Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane scores against Bournemouth | Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

If Liverpool could be tempted into letting Mohamed Salah go within a couple of years, one player they surely won’t want to part company with is Sadio Mane.

The Senegalese winger is arguably a more important player, along with Roberto Firmino, in Liverpool’s system than his fellow African. However, the lure of a club like Real Madrid or Barcelona, should either be able to afford it, might be hard to resist as a once in a lifetime chance.

Financially, the likelihood is slim and it is possible to envisage Mane lining up for Liverpool into his early thirties, which means more opportunity to add to his existing Premier League goal tally.

With 80 to his name already, Mane could reach 100 by the end of 2020/21. Averaging between 15 and 20 at a similar scoring rate to the last 18 months could see him get to 140, on the lower end of the estimate, by the end of 2023/24.

Current PL Goal Tally: 80

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 140

Mane could join the likes of Michael Owen (150) and Robbie Fowler (163).

Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham scores against Arsenal | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Tammy Abraham has proved his worth in his debut Premier League season with Chelsea by scoring 13 times in 25 appearances. No doubt the young Englishman has thrived thanks to a lack of other options, but he has at least taken the opportunity that came his way.

Only time will tell if he can replicate that longer term.

Abraham is far from a bad player and could conceivably have a long Premier League career that lasts another 10 years. Whether all that time is at Stamford Bridge is another question as he could so easily find himself with much tougher competition within the next two or three years.

Current PL Goal Tally: 18

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 150

Age could be what ultimately helps Abraham get among the top Premier League goalscorers of all time, with 150 more than both Teddy Sheringham (146) and Robin van Persie (144).

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford scores against Man City | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Marcus Rashford has still been finding his way until this season when, at 22, he appears to have settled on his best position – operating wide from the left.

His goal return has improved year on year since breaking into the Manchester United first-team in 2016, to the point where 2019/20 has been the most prolific of his fledgling career so far.

Those yearly increases actually make it quite difficult to project what his output will be in the future as theoretically there is not yet a discernible ceiling on his numbers. He could continue to hit 14 Premier League goals per season, or keep increasing it until he hits 20, 25 or even 30.

Despite reportedly flirting with Barcelona last season, Rashford now appears more committed to United than ever and is fast emerging as the centrepiece of the rebuild.

If he lasts another 10 seasons at Old Trafford and matches an average of the 14 Premier League goals he got in little more than the first half of 2019/20, Rashford would reach 181 – and that would be a distinctly conservative estimate.

Current PL Goal Tally: 41

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 185

If Rashford plays abroad during his career it would obviously impact his numbers in English football. If he doesn’t and spends his whole career in the Premier League the sky is the limit.

Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero scores against Crystal Palace | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Sergio Aguero has one more year left on his Manchester City contract and will be 34 by the time that deal expires. He is already City’s all-time leading goalscorer and arguably greatest ever player and has long been tipped to play for boyhood club Independiente before he retires.

The timing of a 2021 departure, which would mark a full decade in Manchester, in order to head back to Argentina just seems right.

In eight full previous seasons as a Premier League player, Aguero has averaged 20.5 goals per season, a supremely impressive level of consistency. Even into his thirties, he has shown little sign of slowing down and had 16 in 22 to his name before 2019/20 was halted.

Current PL Goal Tally: 180

Project Final PL Goal Tally: 205

By the end of next season it is feasible that Aguero has 205 Premier League goals to his name, third behind only Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208) in the all-time list.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane
Harry Kane scores against Burnley | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Harry Kane has long been tipped to surpass Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League goal record of 260. The Tottenham talisman will be 27 next month and is just over halfway there.

The problem is that he’s suffered badly with injuries in three of the last four seasons and is now way short of his 2017/18 peak when he plundered 30 in the Premier League.

Kane may grow frustrated if Spurs continue to fall away from the upper echelons of English and European football, but with a contract until 2024 his club holds all the cards. A move before 2023 seems unlikely because no buyer will pay what Spurs will ask for.

Given his recent injury track record as it stands, it is difficult to imagine Kane will hit his existing 24.4 goals per season Premier League average, certainly with any degree of consistency.

He could be pushing 200 goals by the time 2022/23 finishes and he closes in on his 30th birthday. Then, whether he has any chance of breaking the record would be determined by whether he heads abroad or stays in England.

Current PL Goal Tally: 136

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 240

If he stays in England, Kane will get close to Shearer’s landmark. But he may not break it.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!