13 Outstanding African Players Who Are Premier League Winners

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Africa has a special connection with English football and a significant number of players come from the continent. According to Statista, about 7.0% of the players in the league were from African countries. Some played for the biggest clubs and won numerous trophies including the Premier League. From Didier Drogba to Yaya Touré, we list African Premier League winners.

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Lauren Mayer 

Lauren Arsenal’s highlight. Video Credit: souster98

Lauren Mayer isn’t talked about enough but he’s one of the African Premier League winners. He joined Arsenal from Spanish side Mallorca, where he made 63 appearances and scored 4 goals. The right-back signed for the Gunners in 2000 and played there for seven years. 

The Cameroonian made 159 appearances and won the league twice under former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Lauren was part of the team that went unbeaten in the 2003/2004 season.

Nwankwo Kanu 

Spotcovery-13 Outstanding African Players Who Are Premier League Winners
Retired Nigerian footballer Nwankwo Kanu (center) in a friendly match with Arsenal Masters. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Nigerian international joins our list of Premier League winners. His best years in football came at Arsenal where he spent five years. He joined the team from the Italian side Inter Milan and featured in 119 games

The forward scored 30 goals and won two titles in the 2001/02 campaign and the 2003/04 Invincibles squad. By the time he left the club, Kanu’s career was overshadowed by the emergence of French player Thierry Henry.

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John Obi Mikel  

Spotcovery-13 Outstanding African Players Who Are Premier League Winners
John Obi Mikel playing for Chelsea. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-2.0

John Obi is highly remembered for his time at Premier League side Chelsea. He played under Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho with whom he became a Premier League winner in the 2014/15 campaign. 

His first title came in 2009/10 under Spanish manager Carlo Ancelotti, meaning he won two titles during his stay in England’s top division. Mikel was one of the best defensive midfielders of his time and to date, his name comes up whenever fans talk about the position. 

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Kolo Toure

Kolo Toure’s Arsenal story. Video Credit: talkSPORT

Kolo Toure became a Premier League winner with two different clubs, Arsenal and Manchester City. The Ivory Coast international became an Arsenal player in 2002 and won his first title in 2003/04. 

After 225 games with the North London club, Toure left for Manchester City, where he won his second trophy in the 2011/12 season. Enough isn’t said about the center back, but his contributions to these two teams were immense. After City, he joined Liverpool and almost won a third title in 2014.

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Michael Essien

Highlights of Michael Essien’s career. Video Credit: ballculture

Essien joins our list of Premier League winners as a two-time winner with Chelsea. He left Olympique Lyon in 2005 to play for Jose Mourinho and in his first season, lifted the domestic title. 

The midfielder added another league title in 2009/10 and stayed on for four more years, with a loan spell at Real Madrid in the 2012/13 campaign. His decision to leave Lyon at a time when it was the dominant side in France paid off.

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Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane’s journey in the Premier League is a story of patience and determination. He came into the English top flight through Southampton and was one of the club’s best players during the two years he was there. In 2016, he joined Liverpool and continued his ascendancy in the league, forming a killer partnership with Mohamed Salah and Robert Firmino. 

In 2018/19, Mane was a Golden Boot winner after scoring 22 goals but finished second in the league. The following year, the Senegalese finally lifted the trophy, Liverpool’s first in three decades, to crown his time with the Reds.

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Mohammed Salah

The Egyptian King as he’s fondly known, had unfinished business in the Premier League, after his unforgettable stint at Chelsea between 2014 and 2016, when he made only 13 appearances scoring two goals. Signing for Liverpool in 2017, no one would have expected him to have the kind of success he’s had. 

So far, Salah has played over 200 games for the Reds, winning the Golden Boot three times. He played a pivotal role in the club’s Premier League victory in 2019/20, his only league title. Throughout his time with the team, he’s not played less than 30 games in any season. 

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Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure’s highlights. Video Credit: Teo CRi

Yaya is one of the greatest African players to have graced the Premier League. Manchester City is the only English club he played for. During his eight-year stay, the Ivorian won three Premier League titles and other trophies. 

He’s one of the most dominant midfielders, who was good at providing progressive passes, stability in the midfield and protecting the defense. Toure left Man City unceremoniously under Pep Guardiola but that doesn’t diminish his influence on the side.

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Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez is only the African player to have won the Premier League title with two different clubs. His first came at Leicester City when the team beat odds of 5000-1 to become league champions. Mahrez was influential in the team’s victory, scoring 17 goals and making 11 assists

After his breakthrough season, the Algeria superstar was courted by several clubs and joined Manchester City in 2018. He won four more titles under Pep Guardiola. With five titles, Mahrez is the most decorated African player to have played in the league.

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Didier Drogba

Spotcovery-13 Outstanding African Players Who Are Premier League Winners
Didier Drogba with a Champions League medal. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-2.0

Drogba is also one of the African Premier League winners, having won four titles with Chelsea. The Ivorian had two successful stints at Chelsea, the first coming in 2004 and 2012 and the second in 2014 & 2015. In total, the striker made 254 appearances and scored 104 goals for the Blues, the only team he represented in the league.

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Quinton Fortune

Quinton Manchester United’s career. Video Credit: Now That’s What I Call a Goal

Quinton was part of the successful Manchester United era under Sir Alex Ferguson. He joined the club in 1999 from the Spanish side of Atletico Madrid. The South African played alongside Premier League greats but never played enough to get a winner’s medal. However, the club applied for special dispensation and he finally got one, in recognition of his seven-year service at the Red Devils. 

Daniel Amartey

Daniel Amartey joins our Premier League winners list. He’s one of the least likely players to have won the title, as part of the history-making Leicester City side of 2016. The Ghana-born player stayed with the club until 2023 and now represents Turkish side Besiktas.

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Naby Keita

Naby Keita didn’t live up to expectations during his time at Anfield. He arrived from the German side RB Leipzig with much fanfare but the pressure of playing in the English top-flight got to him. The midfielder made 84 appearances in five years, scoring 7 goals. 

He was part of the 2019 team that won the Premier League and the 2018 side that lifted the Champions League. He returned to Germany and now plays for Werder Bremen.

These are the 13 African Premier League winners. They’ve done the continent proud and fans from all over the world still reminisce about their good old days. They are legends for their clubs and national teams and their contributions go far beyond the field.

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