It’s time to talk about the Top 10 most important Premier League players of all-time who have African blood running through their veins.
Inside the Premier League, there are several African players who deserve the biggest recognition due to their quality and achievements. Making a list of the best African-born players would be the easiest thing to do but we would leave out some important names. We need to include players whose families came from African countries. Only then will we feel like a list of African stars from the Premier League is truly complete. Thus, we give you the Top 10 all-time Premier League stars with African blood running through their veins.
10.- Jay-Jay Okocha – Nigeria
If South America had Ronaldinho as one of the purest and most talented playmakers. African had Jay-Jay Okocha, who mesmerized the Premier League when he played at Bolton Wanderers. In fact, Pele himself chose Jay-Jay as one of the 125 most important footballers in history. We only need to set up a compilation videos of his many great moments and realize he was in a class of his own.
9.- Riyad Mahrez – Algeria
The Algerian star is currently one of the Premier League’s top African players who had his best year when he played at Leicester City. During that time under Claudio Ranieri, he was recognized as the best player of the season. The Foxes won a historic underdog run that granted them the title against the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal. Also, other clubs like Liverpool or Manchester’s clubs weren’t truly in the race. Mahrez offered a clinic of his quality as a winger throughout the entire season. Today, he plays for Guardiola’s City and still proves his quality everyday.
8.- Nwankwo Kanu – Nigeria
During his time in England, Nwankwo Kanu managed to convince Arsene Wenger he was good enough to be part of his Arsenal ‘Invincibles’. He played at Portsmouth and West Brom as well, but his biggest moments came during his spell with the Gunners. Outside of the Premier League is where Kanu achieved his greatest feats. At the start of his career, he was part of that historic Louis Van Gaal AFC Ajax that won the Champions League. As a youngster, he was part of a golden generation of players who went on to mark an era in football during the start of the millennium.
7.- Michael Essien – Ghana
As one of the Ghana’s greatest players ever, Michael Essien reached his true potential under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. Back when Manchester United and Arsenal reached levels of dominance that were impossible to beat. Along came the Blues with Mourinho’s plans to step over the established systems. Essien was a key part in Jose Mourinho’s starting eleven as the box-to-box midfielder who wasn’t scared to get his hands a little dirty.
6.- Yaya Toure – Ivory Coast
Even though his career was spent at FC Barcelona for an important part of his professional career, Toure Yaya reached legend status in the Premier League. With all that knowledge of his La Liga adventure, Yaya came to the Citizens to become one of the club’s most revered stars. The Ivorian midfielder joined one of his compatriots as the country’s most dominant players ever.
5.- N’Golo Kante – Mali
As one of the rarest finds in Premier League history, N’Golo Kante’s story is still being written as we speak. He was also part of that incredible squad that won the Premier League for Leicester City as a major underdog. But Kante’s story was only getting started as he moved to Chelsea and kept collecting titles. He also won the World Cup in 2018 for France but his entire family is from Mali and he keeps making them proud everyday. This is what we mean when we talk about players who have African blood running through their veins.
4.- Patrick Vieira – Senegal
Another French player who has African blood running through his veins, only Patrick was actually born in Senegal. He was later adopted by France and represented the Blues in several tournaments. If you ask any football expert, he will tell you that Vieira is arguably the most important defensive midfielder in Premier League history. Part of the legendary ‘Invincibles’, Patrick marked an era at Arsenal that we might never see again.
3.- Didier Drogba – Ivory Coast
The Ivory Coast legend arrived at Chelsea after Jose Mourinho spotted his talent while playing for Olympique Marseille. As soon as he arrived in England, Drogba hit the ground running and soon became a fan favorite at Stamford Bridge. There are many great seasons from Didier’s professional career that will never be forgotten. In regards to the Premier League, his best year was under Carlo Ancelotti.
2.- Mohamed Salah – Egypt
The Egyptian king is currently one of the best players in the world and he might someday become the number 1 player on this list. Mo Salah’s skills are unreal if you take into account the times we are currently living in. At the final stages of the Messi and Ronaldo era, Mo Salah is the player who resembles both of them the most. In regards to numbers, he is right up there with them in terms of production. Yesterday’s goal against Manchester City confirms he is truly in a different class compared to the rest.
1.- Thierry Henry – French Antilles
Despite being born in France, Thierry Henry’s entire family is from the French Antilles. His father is from Guadeloupe and his mother is from Martinique. Although Henry was born and raised in Les Ulis, a suburb in Paris. But he always felt proud of his African blood to this day. There isn’t much we can say about this incredible player that hasn’t been said already. The only reason he never won the Ballon d’Or is that his best years coincided with Ronaldinho and Zidane’s best years. But in the Premier League, he shares the podium with ‘Kun’ Aguero and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best foreign players in Premier League history.