The old cliché goes that the hardest thing to do in the Premier League is to score a goal.
There are teams who can be utterly prolific, for example, Manchester City have already netted 73 league goals in only 24 games so far this season. Whereas, lowest scorers in the English top-flight, Brighton & Hove Albion and Swansea City, have only managed to find the back of the net on 18 occasions between them.
This is why, then, it is so important for each Premier League club to find a forward capable of putting the ball in the net. The usual culprits of Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku usually crop up at the top of the leading-scorers race for the title contenders. However, it is equally, if not more crucial for the strugglers at the lower end of the standings to obtain a lethal striker. After all, they could be the difference between relegation and retaining of a top-flight status.
The January transfer window has highlighted how desperate the search for a goalscorer can become.
The likes of Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion and Huddersfield Town, amongst others, have reportedly been searching high and wide. The fees exchanged are also a telling factor to supporters. Approximately £140million has been splashed on forwards throughout the January window by all of the top-flight clubs. That represents a huge investment – and that is without the loans of the likes of Islam Slimani, Daniel Sturridge and Leonardo Ulloa being taken into account.
It is easy to see why these type of clubs are desperate to recruit a clinical frontman. The formula is an easy one. Without the ability to score goals, points are going to be extremely hard to come by. Teams are simply not going to win games without scoring goals. That is where the trouble has been for those clubs in the bottom half of the Premier League. The entire lower end of the league has scored on average 0.94 goals per game. It is why there has been desperation throughout the entire league.
As stated though, these clubs really have attempted to rectify the situation. England international, Daniel Sturridge, has arrived at the Hawthorns. Jürgen Locadia has joined Brighton for a reported club-record fee, along with Leonardo Ulloa rejoining his former club on loan. Everton recruited Besiktas hitman Cenk Tosun, with Guido Carrillo making a switch from French champions Monaco to Southampton. They are certainly trying, and it could just pay off. Despite playing at various levels and in differing leagues, those five forwards have netted a combined 521 career goals between them. Whilst it is infamously more difficult to perform in the Premier League, that kind of experience and pedigree can only bode well.
Having said that, it is not just the smaller clubs in the English top flight that have been hunting for a hitman.
Chelsea’s troubles in the transfer market have been well-documented. Having somewhat laughably been linked to the likes of Peter Crouch, Ashley Barnes and Islam Slimani throughout the month, the reigning Premier League champions eventually secured a deal for Olivier Giroud believed to be worth approximately £17.5million. That fee takes the Blues’ total spend on forwards in the last four years to approximately £170m.
There is great difficulty, though, in arguing with their spending. The goals of former striker Diego Costa played a huge part in securing two Premier League crowns. The extreme search that the Blues have embarked on this season really does show the importance of signing a suitable back-up to Alvaro Morata and get the team back to their former glory after what has been a difficult season. Much like the somewhat lower profile clubs in the top-flight, Antonio Conte has swooped in the perfect way. Giroud has arrived and brings with him his 73 Premier League goals. He then could be the much-needed tonic for Chelsea.
This trend seems to be one that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Where there is football, goalscorers will always be needed. Money will continue to be splashed on those capable of putting the ball in the net. Whether the buying club are either in a battle to stay in the Premier League or lift the title in May, strikers are the ones that will command the huge fees. After all, the hardest thing to do in the Premier League is scoring a goal.