Top 20 Strikers in World Football Right Now

Top 20 strikers in men’s football right now

August 31, 2023

You can have the best goalkeeper in the world, the most irrepressible defender, the smartest defensive midfielder, or the most creative midfielder, but if you don’t have a potent striker who can find the back of the net, chances are you are going to lose more often than not. 

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving world of football, certain strikers stand out as elite performers, dazzling us with their skill, speed and ability to regularly find the back of the net. In this article, I present to you my top 20 strikers in men’s football right now.

Also read: Top 20 defensive midfielders in men’s football right now

20. Romelu Lukaku

The Belgium international has been widely regarded as one of the top strikers in world football for some time now. However, his stint at Chelsea and the U-turn at Inter Milan have dropped his stock significantly, with him having managed to secure a season-long loan move to Roma very late in this transfer window. 

Known for his goal-scoring prowess and ability to hold up the ball, Lukaku has been a consistent performer for both club and country. Despite struggling at Chelsea the season before, he managed to score 14 goals and provide seven assists in 37 appearances for the Nerazzurri last season.

Whatever the future holds for him, with his physical presence, clinical finishing and impressive goal-scoring record, Lukaku shouldn’t find it difficult to score goals at his new club.

19. Jonathan David

Lille’s Jonathan David has been consistently on the rise since making his debut as an 18-year-old for Belgian club Gent. 

The now-23-year-old is a versatile player who can play as a lone striker or operate in a supporting role as a second striker. His speed, agility and quick thinking make him a nightmare for opposing defenders to handle. The US international scored 24 goals and provided four assists in 40 appearances across all competitions last season.

There is no doubt David has emerged as a top striker in recent seasons, and it won’t be long before some of the big European clubs come calling for his signature. 

18. Callum Wilson

There was always this belief that, if Callum Wilson could avoid getting injured, he’d one day become one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League. 

Although the 31-year-old had a few niggles from time to time that kept him out of the starting XI, last season he scored 18 goals and assisted another five in the league to fire Newcastle United into the Champions League. For context, he started only 21 of his 31 Premier League games and had an npxG of 0.78 per 90’ — putting him among the top 99 percentile in the world. 

If he can keep himself fit, there’s no reason to believe Wilson can’t push for a top-ten position on this list this time next year. 

17. Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins has looked like a star in the making ever since his Brentford days, and he has really flourished under new Aston Villa manager Unai Emery, who helped the Birmingham club secure a Europa Conference League qualification berth last season after replacing a disappointing Steven Gerrard. 

A natural number nine who possesses a unique combination of speed, strength and technical skills that make him a nightmare for opposing defences, Watkins is equally comfortable playing as a central striker or out wide thanks to his excellent dribbling and ability to hold up the ball.

What sets Watkins apart is his clinical finishing. Moreover, given Emery’s European pedigree, Watkins is certain to play a key role if Villa are to go all the way in the Europa Conference League. 

16. Gonçalo Ramos

Gonçalo Ramos has quickly emerged as one of the most exciting young strikers in world football. The 22-year-old Portuguese forward stepped up for his country at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and has since been in sensational form for both club and country. 

A versatile and technical forward, Ramos possesses great dribbling skills, which allow him to navigate through tight spaces and beat defenders. His exceptional close control also allows him to keep possession in challenging situations and bring his teammates into play. 

Ramos secured his big move this summer when French champions Paris Saint-Germain roped in the Portuguese sensation on a loan with an option-to-buy deal. 

Also read: Top 10 U25 Premier League midfielders: 2023/24 season

15. Darwin Núñez

The explosive Uruguayan had a mixed bag of debut season last year. While his misses showed the rawness in his game, his ability to create something out of nothing and repeatedly get into dangerous situations showed glimpses of what he’s capable of doing on any given day. 

Núñez’s physicality alone deters defenders when in full flight, while his innate ability to burst past defenders with sharp acceleration makes him a constant threat with his runs in behind the channels. 

At 24, Núñez is only going to get better and is someone to watch out for in the future. 

14. Dušan Vlahovi?

Dušan Vlahovi? looks like a shadow of the player who left Fiorentina in 2022 to join Juventus. The Old Lady faithful always looked at Vlahovi? as their saviour, their answer to the club’s long-term #9 problems, But it just hasn’t turned out the way any of them thought it would. 

A physically-imposing striker, Vlahovi? also possesses excellent technical skills, the ability to bring the ball down with ease, provide accurate passes, and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

However, much of Vlahovi?’s drop in performance and goals can also be put down to Juve coach Max Allegri’s mismanagement of the Serbian striker, often leaving him isolated and high-and-dry without service. Thus, only time will tell what Vlahovi?’s second full season at Juventus will bring. 

13. Cody Gakpo

For years, the 24-year-old Netherlands international excelled as a swashbuckling inside forward, driving in with the ball at his feet from the left wing. He was never meant to be a #9, at least not during his PSV days. 

However, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp saw something in him and was persistent with him in that #9 role until proven right. Now, Gakpo looks like the perfect long-term replacement for Roberto Firmino, with his superb ball control allowing him to manoeuvre effortlessly through tight spaces, while his precise passing and accurate shooting make him a constant threat in the final third of the pitch.

12. Randal Kolo Muani

Randal Kolo Muani’s rise to the top has been quite staggering. The 24-year-old French striker has already caught the attention of many top clubs in Europe this summer after his impressive showing for Eintracht Frankfurt last season and currently looks set to be on his way to PSG. 

Kolo Mauni had 23 goals and 17 assists in just 46 appearances across all competitions, emerging as one of the top strikers in the German Bundesliga. His goal-scoring ability, vision and passing skills make him a complete package as a striker.

As he continues to develop and gain more experience, there’s no doubt Kolo Muani will soon become one of the most fearsome strikers in European football.

11. Alexander Isak

Many questioned Eddie Howe and Newcastle United when they forked out a club-record fee for this Sweden international. But it seems Howe always had a plan up his sleeve to unlock the 23-year-old’s full potential. 

Isak’s blend of speed, agility, and technical skill makes him a nightmare for defenders. Whether leading the line or coming inside from the left, he regularly causes trouble for the opposition defenders. 

10. Julián Álvarez

Julián Álvarez emerged as a top young talent when he helped River Plate win their domestic league competition in 2021, scoring 17 goals and assisting another five in 45 appearances across all competitions, with much of those coming on off the bench. 

Although it’s hard to make space for yourself when you’re playing behind Erling Haaland at Manchester City and Lionel Messi with Argentina, the 23-year-old has been playing at an unbelievable level since moving to Europe. 

While there are clubs out there in dire need of a goalscoring centre forward like him, it is highly unlikely the Argentine will leave Man City just yet. 

9. Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus spent six seasons at Manchester City, winning four league titles as one of the vital cogs in their domestic success over the last decade. However, given the way he and his game transformed Arsenal last season, there’s every reason to believe that Jesus can take them one step further this time round. 

Jesus’ contribution transcends goals and assists; his excellent technical skills, physicality, intelligence and work rate make him one of the most complete forwards in European football currently. 

For someone who was always overlooked in a star-studded Man City side, it looks like Mikel Arteta has found a way to unlock the Brazil international’s full potential. 

8. Ivan Toney

Ivan Toney’s rise to the top of world football has been nothing short of sensational. Known for his speed, agility and clinical finishing, Toney has established himself as one of the top strikers in the game currently.

There’s this arrogance about his game that sometimes makes him undesirable to many rival fans, though it is this very nature and cockiness that’ll one day make him stand out as one of the best number nines in world football. 

Although he is currently banned from playing professional football due to betting violations, there’s no doubt Toney will be on the radar of many top clubs around Europe come January.

7. Lautaro Martínez

Lukaku or no Lukaku, with or without Antonio Conte, Lautaro Martínez’s stock as one of the premium strikers in world football keeps rising. With his deadly finishing, immense work rate and technical abilities, Martínez has already proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Martínez showcases impressive technical skills that allow him to excel in different areas of the pitch. He has excellent ball control, dribbling ability and vision that help him create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. And, despite doubts about his end product, the Argentine forward has flourished under Simone Inzaghi, as he finished last season with 28 goals and 11 assists from 57 appearances across all competitions.

6. Karim Benzema

Retrospectively, it was Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure that thrust Karim Benzema into the limelight as Real Madrid’s beacon of hope, and boy did he deliver on that front. The Frenchman became their talisman and led them to both domestic and continental success, resulting in a Ballon d’Or for his exceptional services. 

Although Benzema has decided to join Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad this summer to see out the final days of his glittering career, there’s no doubt he could have stayed a season or two longer in European football given he’s still performing near his scintillating best. 

5. Robert Lewandowski

After terrorising Bundesliga defenders for over a decade, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski joined Spanish giants Barcelona last summer, and there has been no change in terms of his goal-scoring prowess. 

A complete forward in every sense, Lewandowski’s technical levels and skills are unparalleled. He might not be a physical specimen like Victor Osimhen, have the pace of Kylian Mbappé, or be a freak of nature like Erling Haaland, but the 35-year-old Polish star is still going strong, having proved his doubters along the way wrong many times over. 

4. Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen was one of the key components of a Napoli side that won their first Scudetto since the days of Diego Maradona. 

An incredible athlete who possesses exceptional pace, agility and technical skills that make him a nightmare for defenders to handle, Osimhen exploded into life last season with his cutthroat clinical edge and relentless running in behind. 

Osimhen has certainly emerged as one of the hottest properties in world football in recent times, and it only looks like a matter of time before the Nigeria international signs for one of the biggest clubs in European club football. 

3. Kylian Mbappé

Kylian Mbappé’s rise to stardom was inevitable when he broke through at the age of 17 to help Monaco win the Ligue 1 title in the 2016/17 season. 

Mbappé is a generational talent who’s almost won it all at the age of just 24; it is only the Champions League title that has been eluding him all these years. Already the second-highest all-time goalscorer for Paris Saint-Germain, the Frenchman is set to dominate world football for many years to come.  

2. Harry Kane

Harry Kane, considered one of the finest strikers in world football, has established himself as one of the true modern greats. 

A complete forward who has finally got his long-awaited big move, Kane’s experience and pedigree already make his new club Bayern Munich one of the favourites to win the Champions League. 

There isn’t a pass Kane cannot execute or a goal he cannot score. If not for his lack of silverware, he’d potentially be number one on this list. However, with his recent move, the England skipper has the chance to etch his name in the history books alongside some of the greatest strikers of all time. 

1. Erling Haaland

An absolute freak of nature, Erling Haaland might not be as well-rounded as Harry Kane or have a burst of pace like Kylian Mbappé, but the Norwegian sensation is currently the best in the world at what strikers are supposed to do: score a bucket load of goals. 

His knack for scoring goals from almost impossible angles, coupled with his extraordinary finishing and beast-like physicality, has made a mockery of defenders both in England and continentally. 

In his first campaign with Manchester City, Haaland broke the Premier League all-time record for most goals scored in a season as he played a key role in securing the continental treble for his club. 

There’s a method to his madness. And above all, he’s inevitable. 

Rahul Saha

An engineer taking the road less taken. I love writing, live and breathe football, and am always up for a tactical conversation.

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