Top 5 club-level backup strikers in 2021


With Robert Lewandowski in the form of his life, Bayern Munich remain understandably reliant on the Polish striker. However, due to a knee injury to their talisman, the Bavarians had to play their backup forward, Eric Choupo-Moting, in a few crucial games of the season. That included the Champions League quarter-final against PSG, which Bayern lost.

Thus it is safe to say that Lewandowski’s availability could have changed the course of the aforementioned tie. That begs the question: are competent backup strikers as necessary as a decent second-choice goalkeeper for a team, and are they appreciated enough? Yes and no.

Staying on the sidelines for a sizeable chunk of time, these strikers often end up being undervalued. That’s because regardless of how they perform, teams usually choose not to disrupt their original game plan to fit in these players.

Some striker transfers to keep a lookout for this season

Wolfsburg enjoyed a relatively successful outing last season, as per their erratic standards. They finished fourth to qualify for the Champions League after six years in the wilderness. In their bid to build on their triumphant 20/21 season, the forme Bundesliga winners recruited Lukas Nmecha from manchester City to strengthen their options upfront.

In another interesting transfer, the prolific Andre Silva secured a €23 million move to RB Leipzig after a productive season with Eintracht Frankfurt. However, this deal could cue worrying signs for Alexander Sorloth, whose debut campaign in Germany was sub-par, to say the least. That means the Norwegian striker could be relegated to the bench.

On that note, here’s a look at five such talented strikers who are restricted to backup role in their teams:

#5 Olivier Giroud | AC Milan

The Frenchman always seems to deliver.
The Frenchman always seems to deliver.

With one Champions League, one Europa League, one Ligue 1, one FA Community Shield, four FA Cups and a FIFA World Cup win, Olivier Giroud has a decorated resume.

However, despite such accolades, Giroud has never been given the recognition he deserves. The French striker has been consistently undervalued since he moved to Arsenal after a historic title-winning season with Montpellier.

Giroud was pushed further down the pecking order in his last season with Chelsea after the arrival of Thomas Tuchel. In his debut campaign in London, the former PSG boss used a 3-4-2-1 formation in most matches, deploying Timo Werner or Kai Havertz to spearhead his attack. As a result, the seasoned Giroud was restricted to just 17 league appearances, with nine of them coming off the bench.

Nevertheless, whenever called upon, Giroud has seldom failed to impress. He is currently the second-highest goalscorer for France, with just five strikes behind the legendary Thierry Henry.

The 34-year-old recently ended his nine-year stay in London after putting pen to paper for AC Milan. However, with the evergreen Zlatan Ibrahimovic agreeing to a contract extension and Rafael Leao emerging as a hot prospect, Giroud might find himself on the bench yet again.

#4 Kelechi Iheanacho | Leicester City

Kelechi Iheanacho is finally unravelling his true potential.
Kelechi Iheanacho is finally unravelling his true potential.

A highly-rated youngster during his days in Manchester, Kelechi Iheanacho was snapped up by Leicester City in 2017 after enjoying a purple patch with the Cityzens. However, his form took a huge nosedive after signing for the Foxes.

As a consequence, the Nigerian striker’s role at the King Power Stadium was gravely reduced. Furthermore, Jamie Vardy’s exceptional consistency meant that Iheanacho’s €27.7 million move has been a failure of sorts. The 24-year-old forward possesses obvious potential, but could only muster 21 goals in his first three seasons with Leicester. Then came the fourth.

Vardy sustained a groin injury in January and was ruled out for at least three games. With no other recognised striker in the squad, Iheanacho was given a shot at the first team.

The former City striker responded in emphatic fashion, becoming the only Premier League player ever to record a goal every single day of the week. He ended the season with 12 league goals to his name and 26 goal involvements across competitions.

The recent arrival of Zambian striker Patson Daka will provide some healthy competition to Leicester’s forwards. With Vardy already 34, Iheanacho and Daka have the opportunity to carve out bright futures at the East Midlands club.

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