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Top African players in Premier League history

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

Since Premier League's formation in 1992, the continent of Africa has provided the Premier League with plenty of soccer players, and many have earned both team titles and personal awards. 

Throughout the last 28 years, the English Premier League has been equipped with some of Africa's greatest players. Footballers from all over the continent have displayed their talents and mesmerized football fans over the previous years. This rundown features some of the top African players in EPL history.  

Over the years, African football may shockingly have delivered only one winner of the Ballon d'Or, yet that phenomenon is not a great representation of the continent that in the modern age has developed football. 

Many of the greatest footballers in Africa have preferred to spend their prime years in the Premier League, and Here is a look at the list of top African players in Premier League history. For talented soccer players around the world looking to fulfill their ambitions, the Premier League has long been regarded as the dreamland.

Top African players in Premier League history

Here is a look at the list of top African players in Premier League history after providing the list of the best German and French players in EPL history.

Bruce Grobbelaar

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Bruce David Grobbelaar
  • Date of birth: Oct 6, 1957
  • Place of birth: Durban  South Africa
  • Age: 63
  • Height: 1,85 m
  • Citizenship: Zimbabwe
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Current club: Retired

By 1992, as the Premier League started, Grobbelaar had passed his prime, but the goalie played in the freshly top flight for a couple of campaigns. He played 34 league matches for Liverpool between 1992 and 1994. He then played for Southampton, featuring in the EPL 32 times over two campaigns. Grobbelaar was a great goalkeeper in his day.

In one of Liverpool's best sides of all time, he was the main player, winning six league trophies and three domestic cups whilst at Anfield yet the highlight of his career came in the final of the 1984 European Cup. Grobbelaar is regarded as one of the top African players in Premier League history.

Lucas Radebe

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Lucas Valeriu Radebe
  • Date of birth: Apr 12, 1969
  • Place of birth: Soweto, Gauteng  South Africa
  • Age: 51
  • Height: 1,86 m
  • Citizenship: South Africa
  • Position: Defender - Centre-Back
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

Among the most iconic characters in the Premier League era of Leeds United, in the nineties and early 2000s, Lucas Radebe became a major fan favorite for over ten years of devoted performance at Elland Road. 

A cool and dominant player, the South African defender was among the top footballers in the best Leeds team ever, skippering a young and promising team during the 2000/01 season to the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League. 

At his best form, Radebe was one of the greatest defenders in the division, and turning down chances to leave for major clubs, the player is known as "The Chief" settling into a one-club town's atmosphere and seeking a home in Leeds.

Considering all matches, Radebe played 256 games for the club, and although injuries totally affected his later years the player is considered one of the top African players in Premier League history. Despite their drop to the Championship, he stayed faithful to his side and is known as one of the all-time great African center-backs in the Premier League. 

South African fans recall Radebe as a tall and flashy midfielder who effortlessly moved to the defensive line, stopping every rival challenge with sublime, acrobatic kicks and headers. He could easily control the most deadly attackers.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Pierre-Emerick Emiliano Francois Aubameyang
  • Date of birth: Jun 18, 1989
  • Place of birth: Laval  France
  • Age: 31
  • Height: 1,87 m
  • Citizenship: Gabon
  • Position: Forward - Centre-Forward
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Arsenal FC

One of the current African players to be named as one of the top African players in Premier League history is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He left Dortmund to join Arsenal for a then-club-record fee in 2018. In February, in a 5-1 home win, Aubameyang played his first game for Arsenal against Everton in the EPL, netting the team's fourth goal.

Scoring 10 goals and providing 4 assists he finished the campaign as Arsenal's last goalscorer under Arsene Wenger. In North London, Aubameyang's record is phenomenal: Scoring 74 goals and providing 16 assists in 119 games for the Gunners demonstrates the importance of the Gabon international for his side as he remains one of Europe's deadly finishers. 

Kolo Toure

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Kolo Habib Toure
  • Date of birth: Mar 19, 1981
  • Place of birth: Bouake  Cote d'Ivoire
  • Age: 39
  • Height: 1,78 m
  • Citizenship: Cote d'Ivoire
  • Position: Defender - Centre-Back
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

Toure was a key figure in Arsenal's undefeated campaign, playing 55 games in all tournaments as Arsenal went on to finish the Premier League season unbeaten. Along with Riyad Mahrez, he is one of only two Africans to lift the Premier League trophy with two different teams and is regarded as one of the top African players in Premier League history.

The center-back went on to play for the Citizens after appearing more than 300 times for Arsenal, where he earned his second EPL championship before joining Liverpool in 2013.

He was a member of the golden age of the Ivory Coast, alongside Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho, and Didier Drogba who helped the country to succeed in 2015 at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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John Obi Mikel

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: John Michael Nchekwube Obinna
  • Date of birth: Apr 22, 1987
  • Place of birth: Jos  Nigeria
  • Age: 33
  • Height: 1,88 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Midfielder - Defensive Midfield
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Stoke City

Mikel joined Chelsea for £16m in 2006 and remained with the club for over 10 years. The investment was worth it as Mikel continued to play for Chelsea for more than 350 matches and was part of the team that won the UCL in 2012.

The Nigerian midfielder could be known as one of the top African players in Premier League history after winning two Premier League trophies, 4 FA Cup titles, a Europa League, and some League Cups. He returned to Premier League joining Stoke City in 2020.

Lauren

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Full name: Laureano Bisan-Etame Mayer
  • Date of birth: Jan 19, 1977
  • Place of birth: Londi Kribi  Cameroon
  • Age: 43
  • Height: 1,82 m
  • Citizenship: Cameroon
  • Position: Defender - Right-Back
  • Foot: both
  • Current club: Retired

Lauren was like Kolo Toure, a vital player in the iconic "Invincibles" squad of the Gunners that dominated the Premier League during the 2003-04 campaign without a single loss and is widely known as one of the top African players in EPL history. 

In the squad that ended up playing all the league matches unbeaten, the player was a great right-back and will be known for decades, as one of the most successful first teams in EPL history. In the following season, he was included in the PFA Team of the Year. 

He captured the Premier League championship with Arsenal two different times and was also there for Portsmouth's 2008 FA Cup win.

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Jay-Jay Okocha

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Augustine Azuka Okocha
  • Date of birth: Aug 14, 1973
  • Place of birth: Enugu Nigeria
  • Age: 46
  • Height:  1.73 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Midfielder - Attacking Midfield
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

He joined Bolton from Paris Saint-Germain in 2002 as a free agent and spent four seasons with Sam Allardyce's team. A squad that also possessed stars such as Ivan Campo and Youri Djorkaeff turned the team from drop potential to European competitors finishing for four straight campaigns in the top 8 and making the last 32 of the UEFA Cup.  

Okocha impressed Bolton fans with plenty of glamorous reminders. A fast, creative, and highly skilled playmaker, typically played as an AMF and is rated by some experts as the greatest Nigerian footballer of all time and one of the all-time best African footballers who played in Premier League.

Nwankwo Kanu

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Nwankwo Christian Nwosu Kanu
  • Date of birth: Aug 1, 1976
  • Place of birth: Owerri Nigeria
  • Age: 43
  • Height: 1,97 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Forward - Centre-Forward
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

Kanu suffered three disappointing campaigns at Inter following three straight Eredivisie title-winning seasons with Ajax. A £4.15m transfer from Inter to Arsenal in 1999 happened to be an amazing price as the Nigerian striker played 197 matches winning two Premier League trophies and two FA Cup titles. 

He enabled Portsmouth to secure the 2008 FA Cup after leaving West Brom. However, his greatest individual performance was against Chelsea where he scored a hat-trick in 15 minutes that enabled Arsenal to convert a 2-0 loss into a notable win. 
Kanu was a brilliant striker with physical prowess, fast feet, and fine ball control.

His technical abilities and dribbling along with his creativity and use of feints made him an unstoppable striker on the pitch. Kanu was additionally known for his ability to read the game. He could score goals and provide assists for his teammates. While he was mostly used as a forward, his versatility also equipped him to play as a second striker or even in an offensive play-making position.

Even though his stature guaranteed him a powerful presence in the air, considering his size, he was more skilled at netting goals with his feet than with his head. He additionally was famous for his courage and willingness to carry the ball with his back to the net. In addition, during his tenure with Arsenal, his ability to score significant goals while coming off the bench granted him recognition as a "super-sub".

He is one of the all-time best African footballers who played in Premier League and one of the best Nigerian players ever.

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Emmanuel Adebayor

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor
  • Date of birth: Feb 26, 1984
  • Place of birth: Lome  Togo
  • Age: 36
  • Height: 1,92 m
  • Citizenship: Togo
  • Position: Forward - Centre-Forward
  • Foot: right

Adebayor experienced his greatest campaign with Arsenal in 2007/08, after transferring from Monaco in 2006. He netted 30 goals in all matches. After his controversial 2009 move to Manchester City, particularly after celebrating a goal against his previous team, the player turned into a hate figure among Gunners. 

following a stint on loan at Real Madrid, Adebayor managed to join Tottenham. The striker enjoyed a reasonably good spell at White Hart Lane and netted 42 goals in 113 games, ahead of joining Crystal Palace. With 97, he recorded the second-best tally for an African footballer in the Premier League history.

He is a tall and strong center forward who is able to make good runs behind the defensive line. In the media, he was also given the moniker "Baby Kanu" because of his style of play. Adebayor was also recognized for his speed, power, and agility, along with his potential to create space for his teammates.

Riyad Mahrez

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: رياض محرز
  • Date of birth: Feb 21, 1991
  • Place of birth: Sarcelles  France
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 1,79 m
  • Citizenship: Algeria
  • Position: Forward - Right Winger
  • Foot: left
  • Current club: Manchester City

Mahrez was a significant part of the greatest stun in Premier League history, helping Leicester City win the trophy in 2015/16 and turning into the primary Algerian to win a Premier League title. The PFA Player of the Year honor was commendable acknowledgment for netting 17 goals in 37 matches. 

The player's shape affected the accompanying season yet he was once more one of the Foxes' vital players in 2017/18, preceding joining the Citizens the next summer. The attacker had to have an influence in his presentation year at the Etihad Arena yet won another EPL title, and he's made a fabulous beginning to the 2019/20 year. 

He typically plays as a winger, a role which permits him to cut inside and make attempts to shoot with his more grounded foot or cross the ball into the box; notwithstanding, he is a flexible striker, who is fit for playing anyplace over the forefront, both in the center or on one or the other sides.

Mahrez is another current player to be considered one of the greatest African footballers in premier league history.

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Sadio Mane

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Date of birth: Apr 10, 1992
  • Place of birth: Sedhiou  Senegal
  • Age: 28
  • Height: 1,74 m
  • Citizenship: Senegal
  • Position: Forward - Left Winger
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Liverpool FC

Mane, the joint-top scorer of the EPL in 2018/19, has grown over and over since entering Southampton after leaving Salzburg in the summer of 2014. The player joined the Reds after two years on the south coast. The Senegalese netted the fastest hat-trick in the Premier League ever against Aston Villa.

Under Jurgen Klopp, Mane maintained his excellent form, capturing the Player of the Year trophy having scored 13 goals during 2016/17 in 27 league games. Along with Salah and Firmino, he is now a member of an amazing trio in the frontline, and many Liverpool supporters regard him as one of the greatest African footballers in premier league history.

Mane is portrayed by Fabinho as a perfect player who plays with "high intensity and concentration levels". Mane is a flexible striker and a talented footballer, whose key characteristics are his scoring ability, pace, and dribbling skills along with creativity, stamina, endurance, power, and agility.

Michael Essien

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Michael Kojo Essien
  • Date of birth: Dec 3, 1982
  • Place of birth: Accra  Ghana
  • Age: 37
  • Height: 1,78 m
  • Citizenship: Ghana
  • Position: Midfielder - Defensive Midfield
  • Foot: right

If your nearby pub test brings up this question: "Who was the first African to win Chelsea's Footballer of the Year award and won the club's Goal of the Season prize two times in three years?", all of the pub would jot down "Didier Drogba". But it wasn't. The correct answer is Essien, who was Chelsea’s record-making when he joined from Lyon for £24.4m in 2005, won both individual prizes in 2007, winning the goal award again two years after that.

His journey in England reached its end when injuries started to cause significant damage, however, in nine enormously perfect campaigns, Essien supported Chelsea to win two league trophies, four FA Cups, and the UCL. Not only one of the English League's best African players, but one of its greatest midfielders.

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Mohamed Salah

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: محمد صلاح
  • Date of birth: Jun 15, 1992
  • Place of birth: Nagrig, Basyoun  Egypt
  • Age: 28
  • Height: 1,75 m
  • Citizenship: Egypt
  • Position: Forward - Right Winger
  • Foot: left
  • Current club: Liverpool FC

It's reasonable to assume that Mohamed Salah's initial Premier League stint didn't go to expectations. The player was signed from Basel in January 2014, played just 13 games in the league for Chelsea before experiencing Serie A with Fiorentina and Roma. Three great campaigns persuaded Liverpool to purchase him for £37 million, an unbelievable bargain. 

Mohamed Salah ranks as Egypt's most prolific soccer player who helped the Reds to lift the Champions League and Premier League titles over the past two campaigns. Since joining Liverpool, the player has netted goals prolifically to make a name for himself as one of the deadly strikers ever in the Premier League. 

Salah mixes intense passing ability with clinical finishing, earning consecutive Golden Boots in his first two campaigns Under Jurgen Klopp. In 165 games after coming to Merseyside, he has scored 104 goals and provided 42 assists to be another current player who is widely regarded as one of the best African players in Premier League history.

Yaya Toure

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Gnegneri Yaya Toure
  • Date of birth: May 13, 1983
  • Place of birth: Sekoura Bouake  Cote d'Ivoire
  • Age: 37
  • Height: 1,88 m
  • Citizenship: Cote d'Ivoire
  • Position: Midfielder - Central Midfield
  • Foot: right
In 2010, Toure decided to join Manchester City to play along with his brother kolo who was already part of the team, scoring 8  goals and 8  assists during his very first campaign in England. He spent the rest of his career Scoring 59 goals and also scoring vital goals during the City's FA Cup run in 2011 and 2012 which supporting the club greatly so that they eventually got to win a title for the first time in 35 years.
 
His greatest performance was during the 2013/2014 season, where he managed to net 24 goals, leading City to a second Premier League trophy. Winning the third title in the 2017/2018 season, He was no longer considered a prominent player, nevertheless, he is known to be one of the best African players in Premier League history.

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Didier Drogba

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Name in home country: Didier Yves Drogba Tebily
  • Date of birth: Mar 11, 1978
  • Place of birth: Abidjan  Cote d'Ivoire
  • Age: 42
  • Height: 1,89 m
  • Citizenship: Cote d'Ivoire
  • Position: Forward - Centre-Forward
  • Foot: both
  • Current club: Retired

At the start, Drogba struggled when transferred from Marseille for £24m in summer 2004, but he was regarded as one the all-time best players and one of the best African players in Premier League history by the time he left Chelsea after his first spell. He scored 157 goals in 341 games and in 2012 he did an incredible job as the Blues beat Bayern Munich, earning them their first-ever Champions League trophy.

The player went back to west London for a campaign held in the years 2014 and 2015, where he won another Premier League trophy to add to his collection, consisting of four FA Cups and three League Cups. Drogba is unquestionably a defining center forward whose name would go down in Premier League history.

He combined strength and grace to be recognized as one of the few one-man forward lines whose presence helped to create midfield dominance.

Didier Drogba is ranked among the greatest Premier League players and undoubtedly one of the best talents Africa has ever had, a man from the ivory coast who happened to be one of football's recent bloomers and a striker whose name is forever carved in Chelsea history. He is considered one of the top African players in Premier League history.

Top African players in Premier League history

Before he grew in status as the spearhead of a Blues team seeking to compete on all fronts, in English football, Drogba signed for the west London side and won successive league titles during his first two seasons.

Scoring 10 goals in the final 10 appearances throughout his entire club career, Drogba was able to set a marvelous record in cup finals, making him the greatest big-game player of the modern era. This effort included the vital equalizer when Chelsea emerged as the first London side, winning the Champions League in 2012, which was part of a record of 164

goals for the Blues over two spells. Shortly after inspiring the club to European glory, Drogba eventually received the title he deserved, Chelsea's greatest player ever, for he had already obtained four league titles, seven domestic cups, and two Premier League Golden Boot accolades and is regarded as one of the Premier League's best ever African players.

Yakubu

Top African players in Premier League history
  • Date of birth: Nov 22, 1982
  • Place of birth: Benin City  Nigeria
  • Age: 37
  • Height: 1,83 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Forward - Centre-Forward
  • Current club: Retired

Over the last year, the Nigerian forward didn't do well when playing in England, where he failed to score a single goal for Coventry in 2017, however, he made such a good appearance as a premier league striker for Portsmouth and Middlesbrough in the mid-2000s that made him without a doubt, one of the Premier League's best ever African players.

The Nigerian player often obliged when his fans shook the stadium shouting "feed the yak and he will score". After a while, he became a fans' favorite at both clubs, bagging 36 goals for Pompey and then moving to the riverside for £7.5m which led to 35 strikes for Boro.

He also reached the 2006 UEFA Cup Final playing for Boro. In 2007, Everton, for the first time was willing to pay Yakubu £11.25m to play for them. A rich first season produced 21 goals, but after that, he was hampered due to several injuries. His golden period was close to an end with a loan at Leicester, then a fine 17-goal season at Blackburn. He left the Premier League with a record of 95 goals.

 

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