The 20-goal-a-season man is something of a Holy Grail for football managers. If they can find one, the battle is half won. Unfortunately, as Crystal Palace discovered when they were last in the top flight, the other half of that battle is equally important.
Back in 2005, Palace ended the season in the final relegation place, one point from safety, with a striker who finished the campaign as the second highest scorer in the league.
While the entire Palace squad managed 41 goals between them, Andy Johnson bagged more than half that on his own. His 21 strikes saw him finish with seven more than third-placed Robert Pires and only four behind Thierry Henry.
And now, as Ian Holloway ponders the transfer moves he hopes will prolong the fairy-tale that began when Kevin Phillips dispatched his 105th-minute penalty, a move for Johnson may not be beyond the realms of possibility.
To expect him to repeat the feats of seasons past is unrealistic. And yet the QPR man can bring something vital to the latest incarnation of the Eagles. In fact he can bring several things, including a natural goal-scoring ability that however diluted by age and injury is no less innate.
He will also bring experience; perhaps the single most important thing for a group embarking – in a number of cases – on their first Premier League season.
And then there is the sense of having something to prove, which Johnson undoubtedly does.
Since that prolific season of 2004-2005, his goal-return has slowly dried up, due in no small part to a series of injuries. The most recent of which has seen his first year at Loftus Road notable for little more than the day he arrived.
And while his current manager Harry Redknapp has spoken of his wish to keep Johnson next season, the Hoops give the impression of having a sale on, where anyone is available at the right price.
Holloway is more than likely to bring in at least two new strikers this summer. At least he should do; especially with the long-term injury to this year’s top scorer Glenn Murray.
And while a more youthful attacker would have their benefits, he shouldn’t underestimate the impact of a returning hero.
Perhaps Palace fans feel Johnson is a player best left in the past. But at 32, and with his injury problems potentially behind him, he may be a risk worth taking.
Do you think Johnson would be a good signing for Palace...or is his time at the club a chapter not to be repeated?
image: © Mick Baker