This season has produced two new members of the Premier League's prestigious 100 Club. Though unfairly maligned by some, Darren Bent's consistent goalscoring saw him achieve a century in the league, with goals stretching from his time at the club of his youth, Ipswich Town, to where his current trials and tribulations take place at Villa Park. He was recently joined by Didier Drogba, the first African to slam home 100 goals in the division. His massive contribution to the Chelsea team has made his membership long overdue, and he finally reached the magic number with his winner against Stoke a few weeks ago. They have given themselves a distinction that puts them up there with Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Emile Heskey.
I know there will be a few people who are angrily slamming their fists onto the screen with rage as I neglect to mention that I only speak of the Premier League (post '92). But to be honest, I care very little. The divide works to seperate one generation from the next quite neatly, and the two new inductees happen to have been a couple of the league's most prolific goalscorers in the last couple of decades. Though in the truly deep and vast history of football they paint themselves as minor figures, they have earned their places in our recognition through a consistent and natural ability to find the back of the net.
So Bent and Drogba have entered this elusive club, but who will be next? Let's have a look at who might be joining him in the future...
Yakubu Aiyegbeni - Goals: 93
With just a few strikes to go, Yakubu only narrowly misses out on being the first African to reach the landmark. Having astonishingly never broken into a run during his time on any football pitch, Yakubu's casual manner still yields him goals. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and as a finisher he's a cool as the North Pole. After being given his English breakthrough at Portsmouth, Yakubu went on to have fruitful spells at both Middlesbrough and Everton. Everton started to give up on him though, and it looked like his career in English football was grinding to a halt. However, Steve Kean gave him a chance to shine at Blackburn, and shine he certainly did. Yakubu is still only 29, and if Rovers can keep themselves in the Premier League, the Yak should find himself in the 100 club soon enough.
Robin van Persie - Goals: 92
Currently considered one of the best players in the world, Robin van Persie is only 8 goals away from earning his much-deserved place in the Premier League 100 club. Few people have ever had their doubts about van Persie's ability. He is technically brilliant and is capable of inch-perfect finishing. However, van Persie has suffered through glass-ankle syndrome time and time again, with every season looking to be his big one before a stifling and irritating injury sets everything back once again. However, this has not happened in the current campaign, and van Persie is revelling in the opportunity with 26 goals already to his name, making this the most prolific season he's had at Arsenal. It's not impossible that van Persie could reach that mark this season, but the likelihood is that we'll see van Persie join the 100 club in the next title race. The only thing that might stop him is if he moves abroad.
Steven Gerrard - Goals: 89
A true midfield master if ever there was one, Gerrard has surprisingly not broken the tally of 100 Premier League goals just yet. He has managed to score in every season since the 1999-2000 in which he established himself as a fundamental cog in the Liverpool machinery. Notably, Gerrard has hit a great number of absolute screamers, with one of the best being his crashing volley against Middlesbrough and annoyingly all the other ones I wanted to mention being in different competitions. However, injuries have certainly hampered Gerrard in his goalscoring plights; especially this recent ailment that set Gerrard back almost an entire year. He's still on a battle to regain full fitness, but with a Merseyside derby hat-trick signalling his return to form, you'd expect the 31-year old to find an extra handful of goals before his years are up.
Louis Saha - Goals: 85
Louis Saha has been like a constant drone. He's always there, making stuff happen, but because your so used to his consistency and subtlety you forget he's there. Saha has always had a few goals in him, no matter where he played and what state he was in. He had a brief spell at Newcastle, but his major Premier League introduction was with newly-promoted Fulham, where he made a huge impression and was quickly snapped up by Manchester United. There, he played the role of a reliable alternative to the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney, plugging away with a fistful of goals every season. Eventually, he was offered a more regular role at Everton which he settled into with immediacy. Despite still being somewhat useful to the club over the past couple of seasons, Saha was dropped for the most part during this campaign until Tottenham gave him a new lease of life with a 6-month contract. Saha is 33, so it seems unlikely he will get many more opportunities in the Premier League. However, if he can impress with this final chance, then maybe he will just grind out the final 15 goals to put him in the 100 club.
Craig Bellamy - Goals: 78
He may be a mouthy Welshman, but there's little doubt Bellamy is an extremely talented footballer. One of the most striking performances I can remember from Bellamy was when he tore the Portsmouth defence apart twice in a 2-2 draw during his Blackburn days. Throughout that game his pace, dribbling and technique were a persistent menace, and Bellamy has always possessed this. He's had spells at plenty of different clubs and spent some time out of the league, which may have hindered his chances to join the 100 club. He's now 32, but playing for Liverpool does a lot to convince us that he could still make it to the landmark with a bit of luck. Given he is employed more as a winger these days though, it makes this one a little more unlikely.
Dimitar Berbatov - Goals: 76
Noted for what some might call a 'lazy' style of play, Berbatov can be absolutely ruthless in the right circumstances. He is so unreliable that you wouldn't trust him to look after a goldfish, but if Berbatov is in the mood then he will score goals like his life depends on it. Having spent a long time in the Bundesliga, Berbatov made his move to Tottenham at the start of the 2006-07 season. He was an instant hit, scoring plenty of goals and oozing class. When he made his big-money move to Manchester United, expectations were high and Berbatov was under a lot of pressure to deliver. In truth, he has never really looked like the £32.5m man United hoped for, but there have been moments of pure genius from Berbatov. He scored a spectacular overhead kick against Liverpool and found the back of the net five times against Blackburn in one match, but still Dimitar is considered back-up for the likes of Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez. It may be that Berbatov requires a move away from United to break the 100 mark, but it's certainly possible that he will achieve this.
Emmanuel Adebayor - Goals: 71
Nobody had batted an eyelid at Adebayor in his first two seasons of English football. A relatively modest start to his life at Arsenal was then suddenly shattered by a remarkable year in which the Togolese striker found the back of the net 24 times in the league. This really introduced the Adebayor we know today as a confident, strong and enigmatic figure that can guarantee goals and perhaps controversy. After his time at Arsenal, Adebayor spearheaded the rise of Manchester City with consistent performances and goals. One of the most iconic moments of this time was when Adebayor, in a rush of blood to the head that must have lasted nearly a full minute, decided to run the length of the pitch to the Arsenal fans having scored against his former club, angering the Gunner-faithful. It typifies him though, and perhaps the biggest threat to Adebayor's chances of joining the 100 club is him falling out with a manager and moving abroad. However, he's still only 27 and has plenty of chance to make up the numbers.
Peter Crouch - Goals: 69
With a very distinctive style of play (and dancing), Peter Crouch has made himself into an unlikely icon for the Premier League. The lanky groovster has scored for six different clubs in the Premier League, with his services being offered to teams as diverse as Liverpool, Stoke, Tottenham and Southampton. Crouch may not be the most skilful player in the world, but his physical make-up suits a particular type of gameplan extremely well. It is this that made him into a key part of both the sides he played for and the England team. Though he is now 31, Crouch's very specific abilities may keep him running for a long time yet. It's a stretch to think he'll get another 31 goals, but it would still be remiss of anyone to write him off.
Fernando Torres - Goals: 68
What can you say about Torres at the moment? His dramatic decline in form is bizarre, and the source of it is practically unidentifiable. Torres went from being an imposing figure that defences feared, to a downtrodden man who was a magnet for ridicule. After three seasons at Liverpool in which he lit up Anfield, Torres was then emasculated by his Spanish strike-partner David Villa at the World Cup, who determinedly outshone Torres. Following this, Torres had changed. It's hard to say why, but clearly after that World Cup Torres was not the same man. His big move to Chelsea six months later did nothing to re-invigorate the Spaniard and he continues to find goalscoring a frustratingly elusive task. If Torres can regain his old form, there's little doubt he will reach 100 goals in the Premier League. Signs that he may be coming back to life were exhibited in his brace against Leicester City in the F.A. Cup. However, this strange patch of form has gone on long enough to suggest that the old Torres may be dead.
Gabriel Agbonlahor - Goals: 53
Agbonlahor gets in this list purely on his relative youth, his consistent goalscoring record and the fact that this brings the list up to ten, which is a nice round number. Despite a disappointing blot on his otherwise impressive tally last season, Agbonlahor is a very complete striker and has a range of abilities that help him to find the back of the net as well as contribute effectively to the team. Examples of this include the perfect hat-trick (left foot, right foot, header) which Agbonlahor scored against Manchester City a few seasons ago, his equally good record of assists and his versatility which allows him to play as a winger. Up until last year, Agbonlahor was regularly putting his seasons' goals up into double figures, and as he's still only 25, it's difficult to see how Agbonlahor will miss the opportunity of becoming a member of the 100 club.