We compare two of the best strikers to play in England as we seek to find the better player.
Alan Shearer at Newcastle United
With the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United, a player who rolls back the years when he plays, it resurrects the comparisons of today’s players to yesterday’s ones. The Premier League has not been short of incredible talent and perhaps this is why fans are so willing to compare players from different eras.
While many would assume that this comparison will feature Ibrahimovic, they would be wrong. The Swedish striker is an incredible player and will surely light up the Premier League this season, but there is a man in the league that already holds the mantle of best striker, and that is Sergio Aguero. The little Argentine has proved himself to be one of the most potent and dangerous strikers in world football season after season and, injury permitting, will be a major factor in this season’s title race.
While he may be the best striker in the league right now, how close is he to the most prolific striker ever to play in the Premier League?
Alan Shearer famously signed for his hometown club Newcastle United in 1996 for £15 million. While he was superb for the Magpies, he was at his most destructive while at Blackburn Rovers. The striker scored 112 goals in 138 appearances for Rovers in a phenomenal four season stay.
His transfer to Newcastle still brought goals, but at a rather more ordinary 148 in 303 appearances. It is fair to say then that Shearer was a phenomenon with his scoring ability second to none.
Today’s top striker, Sergio Aguero, is going the right way about chasing down Shearer’s record of 260 Premier League goals though. The Manchester City forward has 102 goals in 150 appearances for his club, while his scoring preceded his move to England as he found the net 74 times in 175 appearances for former club Atletico Madrid while in Spain.
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero
Both players are very similar in their precise finishing and the ability to score from anywhere. Aguero has shown in recent years just how adept a finisher he is, ranging from tap-ins to long range efforts, a quality Shearer is also famous for.
Where Shearer trumps the Argentine is with his heading ability. While Aguero is a good header of the ball, his height does work against him in the box sometimes as he is outjumped by some of the league’s taller defenders. Shearer on the other hand was superb with his head. His likeness to the classic English centre-forward is striking with his strength and physical ability being the main reason he scored just under 50 goals at Newcastle using his head.
Shearer was also a superb penalty taker. He scored a total of 58 penalties and was praised for his superb accuracy and ability to find the back of the net. Aguero, too, is a gifted penalty taker, inheriting the responsibilities has only improved his scoring rate.
Perhaps the most potent part of Aguero's game, bar his finishing, is his pace. The Manchester City striker is often able to leave defenders in the dust as he accelerates away from them setting up a chance at goal. While Shearer was quick in his day, he was not as fast as the flying Argentine.
Manchester City fans hold up banners for manager Manuel Pellegrini and Sergio Aguero
Shearer is the all-time leading scorer in the Premier League and so perhaps the comparison is pointless until Aguero either succeeds or fails in breaking the record. At 28-years-old, the Argentine still has the time to become the league’s top scorer, but he still has a long way to go.
Much of what made Shearer so good can be found in Aguero though. Strength, speed and an intelligence in front of goal, both men lit the league up in their respective eras with their ability to find the net from anywhere and change a game.
With regard to who was better, the sheer amount of goals Shearer scored puts him on top. The league's all-time highest goal scorer was one of the most talented finishers ever to play the game and it will take a special individual to take away his record. Aguero is a very talented player and one of the best players in the modern game, but is he special enough to break the record? Only time will tell.
At the end of it all, they say comparisons are odious. But if Aguero wishes to be regarded alongside the best in the World today, he will go a long way to becoming it if he can get close to matching the levels of one of Newcastle’s most celebrated sons.