The league has witnessed several incredible footballers come from the continent and achieve success.
The Premier League is arguably the toughest league in the world. It houses top-level talent from across the globe. It has millions of viewers worldwide, which allows the participating clubs to have huge financial might. They use the resources efficiently to identify and bring in players from various different regions of the world. Africa is one of the major sources of talent in the Premier League.
The continent has been serving fabulous footballers all over Europe for many years. African footballers are strong, skillful and have multiple qualities in their gameplay that make them indispensable. In the history of the Premier League, many legendary African footballers have featured for different teams.
Many players from the continent continue to emulate them and keep setting new benchmarks for others to follow. Let’s take a look at the top 10 best African players in the Premier League of all-time.
10. Nwankwo Kanu
Football fans of the current generation might not truly understand the genius of Nwankwo Kanu. The Nigerian forward is fondly remembered for his spell with Arsenal, where he won two Premier League titles. He also featured for West Brom and Portsmouth before retiring in 2012. Kanu played 272 games in the league, scoring 54 goals in the process.
9. Emmanuel Adebayor
Togo’s Emmanuel Adebayor is also an iconic figure from Premier League’s recent history. He featured the majority of his time in the league for Arsenal, in addition to playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and Manchester City. He played over 242 games in the league, scoring 97 goals and providing 44 assists.
8. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the greatest footballers produced by Gabon. He joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2018 for €63.75m. Within a short span of time, the forward became exceedingly important and earned the captaincy of the club. Aubameyang has 68 goals and 16 assists in merely 128 league appearances. However, he is nearing the exit from the Gunners after recent disciplinary issues.
7. Riyad Mahrez
Mahrez took the league by storm by ripping apart teams thanks to his skillful dribbling and immaculate finishing during his Leicester City days. He was a vital piece in the fairytale story of The Foxes winning the Premier League in 2015-16. The Algerian joined Manchester City in 2018 and has won two more league titles in addition to several domestic cups with the club. He received the African Player of the Year in 2016 for his incredible performances.
6. Yaya Toure
One of the best midfielders of his generation and one of the best African players in the Premier League, Toure was a crucial part of Manchester City’s rise to prominence. The midfielder from Ivory Coast came to Manchester from FC Barcelona and helped the club win its first Premier League title in 2011-12. Toure won the league two more times with the club and was four times African Player of the Year winner in succession between 2011-2014. Toure was also part of the Ivory Coast squad that won the 2015 AFCON.
5. Samuel Eto’o
Eto’o was already a proven star and a legend of the game before coming to England. Before joining Chelsea from Anzhi, the Cameroon international player had won multiple major honours with FC Barcelona and Inter Milan in particular. Four times African Player of the Year and two AFCON titles winner, Eto’o played briefly for Chelsea and Everton. He managed to score 12 goals and made six assists in 35 league matches.
4. Sadio Mane
The Senegalese is one of the best African players still actively playing in the Premier League. He is also one of the most underrated players of all time in the league. The forward is a central figure in Liverpool’s squad, playing a huge role in their recent success. Mane helped the team win the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League in 2019-20. He is also only the third African to score more than a century of goals in the league. Mane has 103 goals in 249 league appearances.
3. Michael Essien
Essien is regarded as one of the best central-midfielders and certainly one of the best African players ever in the Premier League. The Ghanaian came to Chelsea from Lyon in France for a club-record fee of €38m. Essien was the whole package, exceptional in defensive duties and had a sensational odd goal in his locker. He won two Premier League titles and one UCL with the Blues in addition to other silverware.
2. Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba is hailed as the best player ever produced by Ivory Coast and his numbers in the Premier League are evidence for his brilliance. He sits second for the moment with 104 goals and was the highest African goalscorer in the Premier League until Mohamed Salah overtook him. Drogba was a powerhouse at Chelsea, winning the Premier League four times along with two Golden Boot awards in the process.
1. Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah’s first stint in the Premier League, which came with Chelsea, was forgettable. However, he set the stage alight in his second stint with Liverpool. Since his arrival at the Merseyside in 2017, the Egyptian has played a key role in the outfit’s Premier League win and UCL win during the 2019-20 season. During that time, he has surpassed Drogba to become the highest goalscoring African in the Premier League of all-time. He currently has 113 goals in the competition with 47 assists in 178 matches.