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Top French players in Premier League history

Sunday08 November 2020 | 23:33
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Here is a look at the list of top French players in Premier League history.

In this article, We look back at some of the successful faces who have had an influence on the Premier League, those who can be known as top French players in EPL history. The 'best of rivals' with a continuous competition spanning decades and decades;

England

and

France

.

Considering the list of top French players in Premier League history, there are French names who football fans in England absolutely love them. France has delivered many top stars to the English Premier League throughout the years.

The history of the

Premier League

is complex and extensive, with some of the most outstanding French soccer players ever appearing in this competition since its beginning in the early 1990s. We also included current players. You may also let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Top French players in Premier League history

Here is a look at the list of top French players in Premier League history.

Hugo Lloris

  • Name in home country

    : Hugo Hadrien Dominique Lloris

  • Date of birth

    : Dec 26, 1986

  • Place of birth

    : Nizza  France

  • Age

    : 33

  • Height

    : 1,88 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Goalkeeper

  • Foot

    : left

  • Current club

    : Tottenham Hotspur

Considering the 

greatest French footballers in premier league history

, in a comparison between the World Cup winners, Hugo Lloris defeats former 

Man United

 goalkeeper Fabian Barthez. 

The latter was a member of the victorious French teams in the 1998 World Cup and 2000 Euro Championship. At the turn of the 21st century and he captured two league championships with Manchester United. He played 92 games for the Red Devils in the Premier League. 

In 2012, Hugo Lloris left  Olympique Lyon to join Tottenham Hotspur and has played over 280 Premier League matches throughout the past 8 years for the North London side. He appeared to be an impressive signing for Spurs and through the last decade, he has been one of the most consistent goalies. 

Since 2015, Lloris is the skipper of 

Spurs

. Lloris is portrayed as a goalie who "boasts lightning reflexes and good decision-making". He commands his box easily and is known particularly for his speed to anticipate opponents and clear the ball while coming off his line.

William Gallas

  • Name in home country

    : William Eric Gallas

  • Date of birth

    : Aug 17, 1977

  • Place of birth

    : Asnieres-sur-Seine  France

  • Age

    : 43

  • Height

    : 1,82 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Defender - Centre-Back

  • Foot

    : right

  • Current club

    : Retired

The only footballer to have featured for any of London's main teams, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham, is William Gallas. He played over ten years in London and started his career at Chelsea in the Premier League, where he achieved lots of medals and he is, therefore, one of the

top French players in EPL history

Gallas was a member of the Blues in the 2005 and 2006 Premier League seasons where he made a strong backline. Sometimes his flexibility would see him switch to the left-back and he still had the potential to score vital goals.

As part of a swap deal, which brought Ashley Cole the other direction, Gallas left Chelsea to join

Arsenal

. He changed his mind to join  Tottenham after four title-less campaigns at the heart of Arsenal's defense. He experienced two seasons full of injuries following a strong initial campaign, as his career entered its last days. 

The championship he captured at Chelsea in 2006 in the Premier League was the last major trophy that he won in his football career. With 25, Gallas recorded a decent number of goals as a defender.

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Marcel Desailly

  • Name in home country

    : Marcel Odenkey Addy-Desailly

  • Date of birth

    : Sep 7, 1968

  • Place of birth

    : Accra  Ghana

  • Age

    : 52

  • Height

    : 1,88 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Defender - Centre-Back

  • Foot

    : right

  • Current club

    : Retired

As he signed with Chelsea, Marcel Desailly had just won the 1998 World Cup, having twice already lifted the Champions League with Marseille and

AC Milan

. He was known at the time to be one of the greatest center-backs in the world. 

It is no accident that at a time when the club was trying to consolidate its position among the strongest side in England, long before the Roman Abramovich time, Desailly's tenure at Chelsea began.

Nicknamed "The Rock," Desailly is regarded as one of the best defenders of his era and one of the top French players in EPL history because of his longevity, stamina, and tough-tackling style of play, and one of the best French center-backs of all time.

He made a name for himself soon due to his leadership style and ability to control the defensive line. He mixed his strength, toughness, and game intelligence, as well as his physical, mental, and defensive skills, with remarkable courage and good technique on the ball.

The Frenchman was able to play as a midfielder as well. Along with defensive ability, by making sudden attacks into the box he was additionally capable to contribute to the offensive line of his side with goals. Desailly was selected as one of the world's best players in 2004 by Pele in the FIFA 100.

Patrice Evra

  • Name in home country

    : Patrice Latyr Evra

  • Date of birth

    : May 15, 1981

  • Place of birth

    : Dakar  Senegal

  • Age

    : 39

  • Height

    : 1,74 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Defender - Left-Back

  • Foot

    : left

  • Current club

    : Retired

Playing his first match for Manchester United, Patrice Evra was memorably replaced at half-time as he was unable to deal with

Man City

's aerial attacks. However, Evra soon made a name for himself to become a preferred option and occasional captain for the Red Devils.

In January 2006, United offered only £5.5 m for the defender and amazingly Evra left the club winning 10 titles eight seasons later and is widely regarded as one of the

all-time best French footballers who played in Premier League

. Evra won the Champions League in the 2007-2008 season along with five Premier League trophies.

Indeed, the Frenchman soon turned into one of the finest defenders to have played in the Premier League ever. Evra was bought as a replacement for Mikael Silvestre. In the winter transfer window history, Evra is one of the greatest transfers ever.

In 8 and a half campaigns at Old Trafford, he played over 270 matches for Manchester United. The player also lifted the League Cup three times. He was also a key figure of the squad that played in three final games of the Champions League.

Bacary Sagna

  • Date of birth

    : Feb 14, 1983

  • Place of birth

    : Sens  France

  • Age

    : 37

  • Height

    : 1,76 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Defender - Right-Back

  • Foot

    : right

  • Current club

    : Without Club

Bacary Sagna was born in Sens, France, to immigrant parents from Senegal. Signed in 2007, Bacary Sagna spent seven campaigns at Arsenal before joining Manchester City in 2014, where he played 54 games over three years.

The Frenchman was one of the most consistent defenders in the league for ten years and is known as one of the all-time best French footballers who played in Premier League. 

His time at Emirates Stadium concluded with a victory in the FA Cup final in his last appearance for the North Londoners. Sagna also won a League Cup in the second season with the Citizens.

David Ginola

  • Date of birth

    : Jan 25, 1967

  • Place of birth

    : Gassin  France

  • Age

    : 53

  • Height

    : 1,86 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Forward - Left Winger

  • Foot

    : left

  • Current club

    : Retired

In 1998/99, David Ginola received the PFA Players' Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year. The same year that the Red Devils secured the treble, which highlights just how writers and pundits considered Ginola. When he joined the Newcastle team in 1995 as his first English club, though he also starred for

Aston Villa

and Everton prior to retirement.

The signing of Ginola from PSG in 1995, one of the most talented footballers of all time to play in the Premier League, correlated with the turn of Newcastle into a powerhouse. David Ginola was a Premier League icon for several campaigns and is considered one of the all-time best French footballers who played in Premier League.

Surprisingly, he won just a single League Cup with Tottenham Hotspur in his whole EPL era. However, the player won four titles with

PSG

in the course of three seasons. Even so, that his skills were not completely appreciated in terms of major trophies at the club and international level, he earned a number of individual achievements. Yet it is the exquisite talent of Ginola, outstanding dribbling ability, and magnificently charismatic off-field behaviors that will identify him.

Claude Makelele

  • Name in home country

    : Claude Makelele Sinda

  • Date of birth

    : Feb 18, 1973

  • Place of birth

    : Kinshasa  Zaire

  • Age

    : 47

  • Height

    : 1,74 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Midfielder - Defensive Midfield

  • Foot

    : right

  • Current club

    : Retired

In the mid-2000s, when

Real Madrid

were at their peak, one of the most important mistakes was possibly the selling of Claude Makelele and struggling to substitute the midfielder. In 2003, Chelsea took full advantage of their signing and he was a key figure to win consecutive trophies.

The Frenchman wasn't a goalscorer, yet he took a penalty at the end of the 2004/05 campaign where he scored the rebound of the first shot. Makelele, known as one of the

Premier League's best ever French players

, transformed the role of the defensive midfielder.

Even though he was capable of stepping forward and play in more aggressive roles, an assertive and hard-working athlete, he typically played in front of the defensive-line of his side. because of his tough tackling, as well as his positional awareness, monitoring and predicting opponents, and time his challenges, he acted mostly as a defensive shield for his more aggressive teammates.

He was primarily famous for his pace, game intelligence, tactical flexibility, maturity, strength, and ball-winning abilities in this role. While he was not the quickest, most creative, or technically gifted footballer on the ball, or especially strong in the air, he was still highly respected throughout his career as a deep-lying playmaker for his team, due to his ability to work as a deep-lying playmaker.

His skills to control the rhythm of his team's midfield play with his quick, efficient style of play enabled him to successfully connect the backline with the attackers after winning back the ball. Makelele's muscular and small size along with his low center of gravity provided him exceptional balance and control in tight spaces on the ball, enabling him to maintain possession over more physical rivals.

Makelele was also praised for his toughness, endurance, discipline, and positive attitude, in addition to his defensive abilities. When writing for The Guardian in 2013, Jonathan Wilson defined Makelele as a kind of player that he characterized as a "destroyer," a player mainly charged with chasing, gaining back possession, and passing the ball. Makelele is regarded as one of the

best French players in Premier League history

.

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Patrick Vieira

  • Name in home country

    : Patrick Donale Vieira

  • Date of birth

    : Jun 23, 1976

  • Place of birth

    : Dakar  Senegal

  • Age

    : 44

  • Height

    : 1,92 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Midfielder - Defensive Midfield

  • Foot

    : right

  • Current club

    : Retired

Between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s, Patrick Vieira was a key figure for Arsenal. Vieira was one of the leaders of Wenger's brilliant team, an inspiring commander on the field for both the Gunners and the France national team. 

His midfield management was fantastic. Vieira is one of the best midfielders ever seen in the Premier League, a footballer who displayed a remarkable combination of strength, pace, technical skills, and competence. At the club level, he won Premier League three times and FA Cup four times with Arsenal.

He also won the World Cup and European Championships with France. Viera was the first signing of Wenger as the manager in Arsenal. He was present beside his coach winning the greatest trophies. On reflection, at £ 3.5 million, Vieira was a steal. He was one of the greatest French footballers in premier league history.

N’Golo Kante

  • Date of birth: Mar 29, 1991

  • Place of birth: Paris  France

  • Age: 29

  • Height: 1,68 m

  • Citizenship: France

  • Position: Midfielder - Central Midfield

  • Foot: right

  • Current club: Chelsea FC

N'Golo Kante didn't take too long to make a substantial effect on English football. From his first appearance in the EPL with Leicester City he proved himself as one of the top players. Kante had become a superstar and one of the best midfielders on the planet at the point when he left

Leicester City

to join Chelsea in 2016.

The Frenchman won the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France as a key member of the squad. Kante, a versatile, dynamic, and composed player, is renowned as a complete midfielder for his work-rate and outstanding ball-winning skills. This is due to his positional awareness, movement, and game intelligence.

His play is regarded as dirty work which involves chasing, retrieving, and recovering ball control to help teammates so they can be placed in scoring spaces. Kante is considered one of the

top French players in Premier League history

.

He was a late starter who had only played one senior match in French football's second division at 21 years of age.  He credits his cool and relaxed attitude to his steady rise in the soccer league pyramid across three stages on the pitch.

Although he is primarily known for his tactical understanding, maturity, defensive skills, tough tackling, and interceptions, he is additionally capable of playmaking and providing excellent counter-attack passes. In consecutive campaigns, he made the highest number of tackles in Europe's major leagues, and Sir Alex Ferguson portrayed him as the Premier League's greatest player in 2016.

Robert Pires

  • Name in home country

    : Robert Emmanuel Pires

  • Date of birth

    : Oct 29, 1973

  • Place of birth

    : Reims  France

  • Age

    : 47

  • Height

    : 1,87 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Midfielder - Left Midfield

  • Foot

    : right

  • Current club

    : Retired

Robert Pires was another Frenchman who flourished under Arsene Wenger in the Premier League, earning the FWA Footballer of the Year award in 2001/02 as Arsenal achieved a double in the domestic league and FA Cup.

When Arsenal captured the Premier League once more in 2003/04, Pires who was renowned for his Gallic flair on the pitch, netted 14 goals. Robert Pires left

Marseille

in 2000 to join Arsenal with a six-year contract. He was known as one of the best French players in Premier League history and one of the best wingers in the EPL.

Pires made the left winger position his own in the wake of his transfer to North London as a substitute for Marc Overmars by establishing a deadly partnership with Thierry Henry and Ashely Cole. A key figure of the astonishing Arsene Wenger team was equally skilled on both feet.

From 2001 to 2004, he was appointed to the PFA Team of the Year for three straight campaigns and was a crucial member of the 2003-04 Invincibles, and is regarded as one of the

top French players in Premier League history

.

For three back to back campaigns, Pires netted 14 goals and finished his successful Arsenal tenure with 62 goals in 6 campaigns. During his time at Highbury, Pires, who was a member of the 1998 World Cup and 2000 Euro-winning teams, won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

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Emmanuel Petit

  • Name in home country

    : Emmanuel Laurent Petit

  • Date of birth

    : Sep 22, 1970

  • Place of birth

    : Dieppe  France

  • Age

    : 50

  • Height

    : 1,85 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Midfielder - Defensive Midfield

  • Foot

    : left

  • Current club

    : Retired

Along with Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit established one of the strongest midfield partnerships in the Premier League ever and was one of the key figures of the extremely efficient Gunners side of Arsene Wenger. Emmanuel Petit is considered one of the top French players in Premier League history.

In their three years at Highbury, Petit and Vieira played brilliantly together, and Petit won the Premier League and FA Cup trophies, just as the World Cup and European Championships, before leaving the Gunners to join

Barcelona

Later, with Chelsea, he experienced a three-year spell yet never won the same titles. In his career, playing for France's national team, Petit capped 63 times and scored six international goals. In the 1998 World Cup, he netted two goals against

Denmark

and

Brazil

.

Nicolas Anelka

  • Name in home country

    : Nicolas Sebastien Anelka

  • Date of birth

    : Mar 14, 1979

  • Place of birth

    : Le Chesnay  France

  • Age

    : 41

  • Height

    : 1,86 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Forward - Centre-Forward

  • Foot

    : right

  • Current club

    : Retired

During his playing time in the EPL, the Frenchman experienced different conditions yet he is one of the

top French players in Premier League history

without a doubt.

Anelka won the league championship with two different clubs and the FA Cup thrice having starred for Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City,

Bolton

, Chelsea, and

West Bromwich Albion

Despite being a disappointing player on occasions, he was also a deadly striker most of the time. Anelka was a key member of the Arsenal team of Arsene Wenger that won the league trophy in 1998 and the Chelsea team of Carlo Ancelotti that captured the League and the FA Cup double.

In 2013, after leaving Shanghai Shenhua, Anelka joined West Bromwich Albion to play in the Premier League once again. West Bromwich Albion was the sixth Premier League team he had played for. He said he wished to finish his career at West Brom in England. However, he left there to join Mumbai City in the wake of only one season.

Eric Cantona

  • Name in home country

    : Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona

  • Date of birth

    : May 24, 1966

  • Place of birth

    : Marseille  France

  • Age

    : 54

  • Height

    : 1,88 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Forward - Second Striker

  • Foot

    : right

  • Current club

    : Retired

Eric Cantona is regarded as one of the Premier League's best ever French players and a cornerstone for the Manchester United team in the mid-1990s, netting vital goals in the title-winning seasons. In his final year as a player, Cantona captained the Old Trafford team to more Premier League success, although his reputation and impact helped ensure an even more promising future.

The time in England for Eric Cantona was a mixture of magnificent football, perplexing quotations, and chaotic moments of insanity. However,  Cantona is, until this day, one of Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest purchases as United manager. He won 4 Premier League titles and two-time FA Cup trophies with Manchester United and is regarded as one of the top French players in Premier League history. 

Considered one of the greatest players of his time, one of the best

Premier League

footballers ever, King Eric was a world-class striker, a big, physically dominant, hard-working, and fearless player. He was an attractive player on the pitch, despite his size and intimidating physique, he had good tactical abilities and control of the ball.

In addition to his eye for goal, strong and precise striking capacity, he was famous for his perception, positioning, awareness, speedy-thinking, and link-up play skills.

Thierry Henry

  • Name in home country

    : Thierry Daniel Henry

  • Date of birth

    : Aug 17, 1977

  • Place of birth

    : Les Ulis  France

  • Age

    : 43

  • Height

    : 1,88 m

  • Citizenship

    : France

  • Position

    : Forward - Centre-Forward

  • Foot

    : both

  • Current club

    : Retired

Following a brief spell in Italy playing sixteen games for Juventus, the former Monaco player joined the Gunners relatively unannounced, yet he left the Emirates as a legendary striker. Considering the list of the Premier League's best ever French players, Thierry Henry is remembered for his excellent goals and outstanding abilities in his time in the Premier League.

In the early 2000s, he also helped Arsene Wenger's Arsenal team to consecutive championships, namely the Invincibles campaign, and three FA Cup wins, just as a final in the Champions League which they lost against Barcelona.

The Frenchman received plenty of individual honors as one of the most elegant players to play in the EPL ever, as he amazed specialists, authors, and fans in the same way.

The all-time top goal scorer of Arsenal, after scoring 228 goals for the club is always there in the discussion about the best Premier League footballer ever. He still holds the record with 4, for most Premier League Golden Boots awards and is widely known as one of the top French players in Premier League history.

 

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