Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund and Poland) 16 games, 10 goals *
The hunt for Robert Lewandowski’s signature continues as the Polish forward is yet to agree an extension at BVB. Many believe that rumoured interest from Manchester United is merely a smokescreen used to push up his potential wages, but there is no denying the ability of Dortmund’s centre-forward. He has been a certain source of goals since his arrival at the club and would be an excellent acquisition for a host of top clubs.
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham and England) 22 games, 10 goals *
Many doubted the ability of Defoe to lead the line on his own, but this season has shown than not only he is a superb finisher, he is also a far more rounded player than in previous years. Major injury troubles have severely hit the team’s ability to field a consistent line-up, but both and home and abroad Defoe has helped to minimise the impact of the disruption. With many of those injured stars now returning, Andre Villas-Boas will hope Defoe fine form can support a top four finish.
Wilfried Bony (Vitesse Arnhem and Ivory Coast) 18 games, 16 goals *
Bony’s bright start to the season will lead many clubs to curse a missed opportunity. Liverpool had the striker on trial over five years ago but passed on the chance to sign him, prompting a move to Sparta Prague. That gave the Ivorian a period to acclimatise to European football and by the end of his time in the Czech Republic he looked to have progressed. Given Vitesse’s modest finances he looks certain to join either a larger Eredivisie team or leave the league come the summer.
Jackson Martinez (Porto and Colombia) 13 games, 12 goals *
No team can rival the consistency with which Porto unearth gems in South America. The Dragons are famed for the quality of their scouting and Martinez, a player they have tracked for a number of years, is further proof of the keen eyes of their talent spotters. The Colombian striker has settled superbly in Portugal and, in the absence of the departed Hulk, has carried the team’s attacking efforts.
Burak Yilmaz (Galatasaray and Turkey) 15 games, 9 goals *
Having dominated the Turkish league at Trabzonspor last season the next frontier for Burak to conquer was naturally the international game. Gala sneaked into the knockout stages thanks primarily to the six goals that their new signing delivered and now face a far from daunting tie with Schalke. The powerful centre-forward has already made a name for himself in the Champions League, but could take a step to the next level if he maintains his scoring touch in Europe.
Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao and Spain) 18 games, 11 goals *
Athletic’s poor autumn form was largely due to their pitiful efforts in front of goal. Were it not for the finishing of Aduriz the Basques would likely be propping up the Primera Division’s table. The contractual complications with Fernando Llorente have certainly hurt Bilbao’s prospects but Aduriz has proven a more than capable stand in, emulating his more illustrious teammate’s prowess in the air and leading the line with great courage.
Miroslav Klose (Lazio and Germany) 19 games, 10 goals *
The veteran German striker has been playing some of the best football of his career since his move to Rome. Despite his excellence at international level Klose has always possessed a rather underwhelming club record, but Lazio appear to have got the best out of their front man and his potency in front of goal has been a key factor in their unexpected title push.
Graziano Pelle (Feyenoord and Italy) 14 games, 14 goals *
Feyenoord are making a habit of excellent loan signings. Last year they took Manchester City’s John Guidetti to De Kuip, and this season brought in Pelle before shrewdly striking a permanent deal for the Italian striker. Tall and rangy he has set the Eredivisie on fire this campaign and his exceptional form has been the key factor in the club’s title challenge. While Feyenoord have made his deal “permanent” it would be no surprise to see an ambitious Serie A club look to take him back to Italy.