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We all know the well-worn phrase levelled at misfiring strikers: “That lad couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo.” It’s a phrase as brilliant as it is baffling, as majestic as it is meaningless.

And so with the return of the Premier League, we welcome back a host of footballers who couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo. Yet despite so many of their obvious failings in front of goal, strikers remain in high demand.

As usual, spending by English clubs is set to reach a new high despite the early closure of the transfer window

Yet, even the these profligate ones command exorbitant transfer fees. And that gave us an idea to flip the phrase on its head (or arse); given the wealth of attacking plethora the Premier League boasts, who is best hitter of cow’s arses with a banjo in the Premier League?

We took a walk on the surreal side of football, and this is what we we came up with. (Disclaimer: no actual cows were harmed in the writing of this article.)

Charlie Austin (Southampton)

While the injury-plagued Saints striker may be fond of a flutter on the races, his inability to take more than six steps without keeling over with an ACL tear means Austin is going to find it mighty hard to strike any part of a cow with a banjo, let alone its arse. Will probably dislocate a shoulder just reaching for the instrument.

Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)

Let’s face it – the hapless Spanish striker is probably mortally afraid of all farmyard animals. Chickens make his palms sweaty, sheep have him looking nervously over his shoulder and cows would just about have him running for the hills. Wouldn’t even worry about the banjo.

Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City)

If the cow was a lucrative contract from a struggling Premier League side trundling towards the rapidly approaching horizon of financial meltdown, Junior Hoilett would be all over it in an instant. Sadly, it’s a cow, and isn’t Queens Park Rangers.

Leo Bonatini (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

“No, no, I play for Wolves, not Cows,” a confused-looking Bonatini explains, pointing to the badge on his shirt. After a few uncomfortable moments, he adds, “And I do not play an instrument. Sorry.”

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

Do you honestly think the Liverpool forward would go anywhere near a farm? Look at him. Perfectly coiffed hair, teeth brighter than a halogen lamp and a squeaky clean brand image. If anything, he’d get that cow a new set of pearls.

Glen Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion)

Less likely to slap the cow’s arse with a banjo as he is to ask if he can store an unspecified lump sum of cash wrapped in a bin liner in the barn.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Will only be able to smack the cow’s arse if Henrikh Mkhitaryan passes him the banjo. Pierre will not accept the instrument off literally anybody else. And half the time poor Mkhi is frozen to the spot, suffering a PTSD-style flashback to his time at Manchester United.

Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)

Does Callum Wilson really do anything? One of the most unremarkable strikers in the Premier League, we can only speculate that Callum will simply get lost on his drive to the farm and go home to watch Emmerdale.

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

The diminutive Argentine is a nice guy, okay? Nice guys do not go around walloping barnyard animals with country instruments. Sergio would give the cow a little pat on the head and maybe a clump of grass.

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

“You want me to what?” Sir Harrold of Kaneshire enquires as he takes a break from free-kick practice to sidle over to the waiting bovine. Unfortunately for us, he’d drench the poor creature in a tsnuami of spittle, before bellowing, “Three Lions!” and belting a nearby ball over a barn.

Cenk Tosun (Everton)

Everton’s Turkish striker would probably assume being asked to literally hit a cow’s arse with a banjo is another one of Sam Allardyce’s weird initiation tests. He’d shudder at the memory of having to down a gallon of cold Bisto and politely refuse.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Seems like the sort of bloke that would smack a cow with a banjo. Then again, also seems like the sort of bloke who’d swipe the banjo and sell it down the market for a crate of WKD. And then he’d invite the cow to his alcopop party, too. Mad bastard.

Lauren Depoitre (Huddersfield Town)

A man who, without glamour or flair, would definitely whack a cow on the arse with a banjo. Minimal fuss – get the job done and move on.

Chris Wood (Burnley)

If Chris Wood can register a goals tally in the double figures while playing as one half of a double-target-man front line in a rigid four-four-two system, then he can definitely spank a cow’s arse with a banjo.

Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)

“But Alvaro Morata is more intelligent!” the Chelsea fans cry. “You wouldn’t understand the nuances of his game. His off the ball running is sublime.” Aye, and he’s also afraid of geese. Big Rom would smack that cow’s arse into next week and probably play a little ditty on the banjo to boot.

Alexander Sorloth (Crystal Palace)

When you’re Crystal Palace, what do you do when you already have two massive strapping forwards in Wickham and Benteke? Buy a third, of course. The Norseman, Sorloth, looks as though he’d be more comfortable swinging a Viking axe than a banjo. Would definitely give that cow’s arse a thrashing in homage to Odin.

Troy Deeney (Watford)

The man who went on live TV after a game to proudly explain in great detail exactly how much he enjoyed bullying Arsenal’s centre-halves would undoubtedly leather a cow’s arse with a banjo. And any Arsenal centre-halves standing too close.

Salomon Rondon (Newcastle United)

Remember when the hulking forward scooped a wayward DeAndre Yedlin out of the sky without even breaking a sweat? Yeah, Rondon would definitely smack a cow’s arse with a banjo. Right after he powerbombed the poor beast through a trestle table.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham)

Absolutely f*cking mental and built like an Eastern European strongman. Not only would his blow shatter the banjo, it would propel the cow into the next field where it would scatter a flock of sheep like woolly bowling pins – such is the sheer force Mitrovic possesses.

Marko Arnautovic (West Ham United)

We are absolutely certain smacking a cow’s arse with a banjo is a quiet Sunday afternoon out for the renegade Austrian forward. He’s probably gallivanting around a farm now, catapulting horses at children and bare-knuckle boxing irate sheep. Total madman.