“Jesus Christ, what a disgusting heap of shyte” was probably your first thought when you tried to look for a budget striker this season. Unlike in previous campaigns, where there was some value to be found amongst the cheap forwards, this season has provided us nothing of the sort.
Instead, it looks like we’ve been given sweet FA. But what about if you’re only planning to line up with two, or even one striker for a majority of the campaign? You’re going to want an attacker on your bench who would be able to provide you with solid appearance points and maybe an attacking return or two.
There are 25 forwards who are priced £5.5m or below this season, and I’ve trawled through and ranked the litter to tell you which players could prove to be diamonds in the rough, and which ones are just as terrible as they appear on first glance. It’s not pretty, but it’s honest work.
25th – Albian Ajeti [WHU – £5.5m]
Did fuck all for West Ham (nine FPL points in 132 minutes played since January) and has now left for Celtic. Scored on his SPL debut with a scrappy tap-in. Good for him, I suppose?
24th – Jordan Hugill [WHU – £5.5m]
A product of the ‘Glen Hoddle Academy’ (which actually exists) and known for having the worst announcement video of all time when he signed for West Ham. Loaned out for the whole season to QPR and scored 13 goals, which isn’t terrible, but he is the definition of a Championship striker, proven by the fact he’s just been sold to Norwich. The Hammers really need an autopsy on their striker transfer dealings.
23rd – Yoshinori Muto [NEW – £5.0m]
I forgot this guy existed until just now. Did you know he cost nearly £10m?! Imagine what else you could buy for £10m… Played nine minutes post-lockdown and is fourth-choice behind the likes of Dwight Gayle, Andy Carroll and Joelinton in a side that plays with a sole striker. Disgustingly overpriced at £5.0m. If he plays more than 100 minutes this season, I’ll eat my priest robe.
22nd – Léo Bonatini [WOL – £5.0m]
Loaned out to Vitoria Guimaraes for the whole of last season, scoring six times in 19 apps. His biggest claim to fame was probably his eight-minute cameo v Arsenal in the Europa League. Left out of the VG squad for the last six games of the season. Wolves probably want to offload him sooner rather than later.
21st – Leonardo Campana [WOL – £5.0m]
A free transfer from Barcelona in January sounds intriguing until you realise it’s the Ecuadorian Serie A side called Barcelona – whose badge looks like it was reproduced by Aldi (some copyright lawyers should definitely look into that). Made the bench twice, both times post-lockdown, since he signed and hasn’t played a minute. Why is he £5.0m?
20th – Florin Andone [BHA – £5.0m]
Scored on the opening day of the 2019/20 season v Watford and it’s all been downhill since then. Went on loan to Galatasary at the end of August, scored twice in one game in October, and injured his cruciate ligament two times throughout his loan spell. Hasn’t played a full game since November and he’s probably out for a while.
19th – Connor Wickham [CRY – £4.5m]
Played 90 minutes of Premier League football in 2019/20, getting a goal and an assist in that time. If he started every game, he’d easily have 38 goals and 38 assists judging by his form, and we’d be looking at Hereford’s answer to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo combined. If only he could displace Benteke and Ayew, eh? Scored twice on loan for Sheffield Wednesday in the second half of the season. Was a beast for me in FIFA 20 career mode as well, forming a pretty tasty striking partnership with Joshua Murphy at Sunderland. Alas, a bit of a car crash in real life.
18th – Kenneth Zohore [WBA – £5.0m]
Remember this guy at Cardiff? Nope, me neither, but West Brom saw fit to pay £8m for his services ahead of the 2019/20 season. Scored a couple of times in the Championship but couldn’t really get a game ahead of the likes of Charlie Austin and Hal Robson-Kanu. Scored twice in a PL2 game though, which could make him a great shout for FPL2 (if that’s a thing).
17th – Divock Origi [LIV – £5.5m]
Do you love a super sub? Do you love wasting a Liverpool slot? Origi’s your guy!
16th – Keinan Davis [AVL – £4.5m]
Played in every game since the restart, but failed to do anything of any importance. One goal in 820 mins of football last season doesn’t sound great. Moving from a midfielder to a forward certainly hasn’t helped his appeal. He’s apparently off to Preston North End on loan, and most Villa fans seem to think that’s a good thing.
15th – Andy Carroll [NEW – £5.5m]
Did you know Andy Carroll got four assists in December 2019?! I could barely believe it myself. Didn’t score any goals last season, mind. Hasn’t started a match in 2020 and picked up three separate injuries across the campaign. Pure nostalgia pick if you went for it, but will get minutes if fit and Steve Bruce needs some decent hold-up play to slow down the tempo.
14th – Indiana Vassilev [AVL – £4.5m]
Probably the 2nd most promising £4.5m striker at 19-years-old. Promoted to the full Aston Villa squad after four goals in as many appearances at the end of last season in the PL2. Didn’t really get any minutes for the first-team, but one to potentially monitor considering his versatility. Operates mainly as a CF but can play LW or CAM.
13th – Matej Vydra [BUR – £5.0m]
Remember that crazy run of two goals in two games for Vydra in February? He’s been living off that hype ever since, appearing in every game since the restart. With Ashley Barnes coming back though, he’s the fourth-choice striker.
12th – Callum Robinson [SHU – £5.5m]
Barely did anything in the first half of the season with Sheff Utd. Then went on loan to WBA and didn’t do anything there either. He did score one and assist one in the final game of the season v QPR to send WBA up though – a rare 90 minutes. Operated mainly as a LW for WBA, a position SHU don’t really need due to their gun-ho flying full-back system they have going on. How is he this high on the list? I barely know myself.
11th – Glenn Murray [BHA – £5.0m]
A goal and an assist in 786 PL minutes in 2019/20 isn’t good reading for Murray, who’s now 36 and in need of a good ol’ retirement rest. Not the same player he once was a few seasons ago. The good thing is that Graham Potter loves rotation so much he might just throw him in every now and then ahead of Connolly and Maupay.
10th – Michael Obafemi [SOU – £5.0m]
Looks pretty promising if he’s given the chance to shine. Scored that last-minute equaliser v Man Utd and has a good future ahead of him it seems. Annoyingly, the emergence of Che Adams and the reliability of Shane Long means he’s fourth-choice, but at 20-years-old, he’s got plenty of time to prove himself as a possible starter.
9th – Rhian Brewster [LIV – £4.5m]
11 goals in 22 appearances for Swansea in the second half of the season showed that Brewster is probably ready for the big time. Needs a loan move and fast. Leeds would be a perfect fit if they don’t go for the Rodrigo deal. Until then he’s pretty useless and takes up a Liverpool spot.
8th – Christian Benteke [CRY – £5.5m]
He starts a lot of games but just can’t be bothered to score in them. It boggles the mind how he still has a place in the squad but Alexander Sørloth was shipped out on loan and has since tore it up for Trabzonspor in the Turkish Super Lig. Two goals from an xG of 4.63 over the season show that the potential is there to score goals, he’d just prefer not to.
7th – Shane Long [SOU – £5.5m]
Looks like he’s lost his place to Che Adams, which is a shame because he wasn’t in terrible form prior to lockdown. Could sneak a goal off the bench every now and then, he certainly has it in his locker.
6th – Aaron Connolly [BHA – £5.5m]
The unpredictability of Graham Potter means Connolly is a pick for the ballsy amongst us. Five starts out of a possible nine since the restart indicates he’s very much a first-team player and will get game time if Brighton play with a front two, but Maupay is preferred to lead the line as a solo striker. Trossard, Gross, and Mac Allister can also play up top, which means there’s a lot more competition for a striker spot than you might expect.
5th – Hal Robson-Kanu [WBA – £5.5m]
Sent off in his first game of the 2019/20 Championship season, but did have a nice little run between October and December where he scored six in nine games. Clearly second-choice striker behind Charlie Austin, who’s at the same price. Who remembers his Euro 2016 performances for Wales though? The nostalgia alone means he’s tempting.
4th – David McGoldrick [SHU – £5.5m]
Everyone went nuts when he scored his brace against Chelsea, and for good reason. Those were his first league goals since April 2019. Seems to be pretty important to the way Sheff Utd play, and has under-performed his xG MASSIVELY this season (8.72 – the highest xG out of anyone in the squad). If he can learn how to finish, he could be worth a cheeky punt.
3rd – Charlie Austin [WBA – £5.5m]
Last played 90 minutes in the league in October 2019, which shows you that he’s either not trusted to start or finish a game on a regular basis. Scored six goals in six games around November/December time, so he can still put in a pretty banging run when he needs to. Also a proven Premier League striker.
2nd – Patrick Bamford [LEE – £5.5m]
16 goals and four assists in the 2019/20 season sounds good initially, but Bamford is far too prone to dry runs. Four league goals in 2020 demonstrates this. Still, if Leeds can’t find themselves a striker before the start of the season, I wouldn’t mind taking a punt on Bamford, but it does look like Rodrigo will be signing for them soon. With the amount of sceptics he has however, I’m sure he’d be dying to prove them wrong.
1st – Bobby Decordova-Reid [FUL – £5.5m]
An ever-present for Fulham during the 2019/20 campaign. He’s been stationed at LW, CAM, CF, and even CM, and his versatility means that he should usually be making the line-up. Could’ve actually made it into a decent amount of teams if he had been priced 0.5m cheaper. Doesn’t quite have the attacking pedigree (six goals and five assists last campaign) to be of interest to a lot of managers, and being a reverse OOP isn’t ideal, but considering the options available, he’s my pick for the best value forward. A banging start to the season is completely possible.
It’s probably the worst top 25 you’ve ever seen, but hopefully this will help out in one way or another if you need a third striker.