In recent days, a number of publications – including The Daily Mail – have discussed West Ham’s rather dark striker history under current owners David Gold and David Sullivan. Indeed, since the Daves took over in east London in January 2010, the Hammers have signed a staggering 32 strikers, producing a miserly collective return of just 125 goals in 642 games.
On the surface, that’s a pretty abysmal record, especially considering West Ham have spent some of that time in the Championship. But how do the Irons stack up against other Premier League clubs? FootballFanCast have decided to put the numbers to the test – starting with Liverpool.
Liverpool’s overall striker history is arguably the most intriguing in the Premier League. Whether chasing down European titles or fending off mid-table mediocrity, the Reds have nearly always boasted a world-class frontman. From Kenny Dalglish to Luis Suarez, the Anfield outfit are pretty much synonymous with them; inevitably, however, not every striker signing has managed to fill the boots of the aforementioned duo.
From the 14 strikers to have arrived at the club since January 2010, only six have gone on to reach double figures for the Reds, only two have finished up as the club’s top scorer for a single campaign and two failed to find the net at senior level – whilst Iago Aspas is the solitary member of the one-goal club.
On average, each striker signing has cost Liverpool £13.3million, has gone on to make 45 appearances and score 16 goals, leading to a strike-rate of one-in-three. Perhaps most curiously, each goal has set Liverpool back roughly £850k. Now we’ve discussed the exact middle of the spectrum, it’s time to look at either end of it – two emphatic hits and two unforgettable flops.
Who else but King Luis? The Uruguayan wasn’t even Liverpool’s biggest expenditure of the January 2011 transfer window but etched his name into Anfield folklore with a spate of talismanic campaigns, including his ultimate which took the Reds within a hair’s breadth of the title in 2013/14.
That heralded a £75million move to Barcelona, where the South American has continued to excel – even outscoring Lionel Messi last season. Indeed, racism scandals and cannibalistic tendencies aside, Liverpool got excellent value from their £23million acquisition – 82 goals, three top-scorer campaigns, a runner-up finish, Champions League qualification and a £52million return on their original investment.
Liverpool fans must have known this was coming; the aforementioned greater expenditure than Luis Suarez from January 2011. Indeed, whilst the Uruguayan went on to join the Reds’ also aforementioned world-class striker alumni, the clunky, clumsy and often injured Andy Carroll didn’t enjoy such luck.
A decent half-season in the Premier League with Newcastle convinced the Merseysiders to shell out £35million after selling Fernando Torres to Chelsea, but Big Andy’s battering ram approach produced just eleven goals in 58 appearances for the Reds, costing them just shy of £3.2million each.
Clearly a poor fit for Liverpool’s historic philosophy and clearly below the level of quality associated with the Reds, the England international was soon offloaded to West Ham at a £20million loss. Ouch.
He may be struggling under Jurgen Klopp and he may have missed a staggering 457 days of his Anfield career due to a raft of never-ending injury problems, but there’s no doubt Liverpool have got more than their money’s worth from Daniel Sturridge.
Disgruntled in the wide forward role he couldn’t shake at Chelsea, Brendan Rodgers brought the England international to Merseyside at a cost of just £12million in January 2013. 18 months later, he’d already scored 31 league goals for the Reds, working in close tandem with Luis Suarez as they chased down that ever-illusive Premier League title.
Of course, the rest of Sturridge’s Liverpool spell hasn’t been quite so spectacular and it could well come to an abrupt end this summer. But at just £181k per goal, he’s the most cost-effective signing from the 14 in question – and the Reds are certain to make a huge profit if he does leave at the end of the season.
Replacing Luis Suarez with a child trapped in a top-class striker’s body was always a big gamble on Brendan Rodgers’ part – an unnecessary vanity project in the eyes of many. And after just a few weeks, as the former Manchester City striker’s Premier League drought continued, it quickly became apparent that he was a terrible fit for a side who had thrived on the tenacity and energy of Suarez the campaign previous.
A few months down the line and Balotelli was already rotting in the reserves. A few months after that, he was loaned back to former club AC Milan, where he failed to score a goal in open play from 20 appearances, and twelve months after that, he was allowed to leave Anfield on a free transfer. The controversial Italian is now at Nice banging in goals for fun with ten already this season – albeit, a tally somewhat besmirched by two red cards.