Top 12 African Players in the Premier League in 2023

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The English Premier League is a top destination for African footballers. The league has up to 500 African footballers and we got to enjoy their talent throughout the 2023 football season. Who are some of the best African players in the premier league? 

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  • Mo Salah
  • Riyad Mahrez
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  • Hakim Ziyech
  • Alex Iwobi
  • Edouard Mendy
  • Jordan Ayew
  • Mohamed Elneny
  • Joel Matip
  • Said Benrahma
  • Jeffrey Schlupp
  • Maxwel Cornet

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1. Mo Salah

Top 12 African Players in the Premier League in 2023
Mohamed Salah celebrates a goal for Liverpool. Image Source: Instagram licenced by CC BY 2.0

 

  • Full name: Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous Ghaly
  • Age: 30 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Egyptian
  • Current team: Liverpool FC
  • Position: Forward

Mo Salah is regarded as the best African player in the premier league. His return to English football has been nothing but incredible. Before he left in 2016, he was part of the Chelsea squad but didn’t get enough game time. He was loaned to Fiorentina and Roma, for whom he later inked a permanent deal.

After a successful stint in Rome, Liverpool signed him in 2017, and the Egyptian set the league alight. He scored his first goal for The Reds against Watford in a 3-3 draw.

He went on and scored a total of 32 goals in the league, 10 in the champions league and one each in the FA Cup and Premier League Asia Trophy. His 44 goals are the highest number of goals scored in a single season by any player in Liverpool’s history.   

Salah was the Premier League Player of the Year, Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year, and the PFA Player of the Year, and he also won the Premier League Golden Boot.

Salah continued scoring goals, although he scored fewer (22) in the 2018 season, it was enough to win him the Premier League Golden Boot. In 2019, he led Liverpool to its first-ever title in the Premier League era and the club’s sixth Champions League trophy.

His contract at Liverpool runs until 2025.

2. Riyad Mahrez

Top 12 African Players in the Premier League in 2023
Riyad Mahrez dribbling a ball. Image Source: Instagram licenced by CC BY 2.0
  • Full name: Riyad Karim Mahrez
  • Age:  32 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Algerian
  • Current team: Manchester City
  • Position: Forward

The Algerian became the most decorated African player in the premier league after winning his fifth EPL title with Manchester City. Mahrez had only grown stronger since 2016 when he got his breakthrough. He won his first league title with Leicester and was named the African and Algerian Footballer of the Year.

He joined Manchester City in 2016 for a club-record fee of £60M. In his first season, he netted 7 goals from 27 appearances. In the subsequent seasons, that figure has fluctuated, with the highest tally being at 11 in the 2020 and 2022 seasons. 

In total, he has made 284 appearances, scored 82 goals, and assisted 61. The Algerian also joined an elite team of African players who won the Champions League title after the Citizens clinched their first title this year.

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3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 

Top 12 African Players in the Premier League in 2023
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates a goal. Image Source: Instagram licenced by CC BY 2.0
  • Full name: Pierre-Emerick Emiliano François Aubameyang
  • Age:  33 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Gabon
  • Current team: Chelsea FC
  • Position: Forward

Aubameyang first arrived in the premier league in 2018 when he signed for Arsenal for a club-record fee of £60m. He played for the Gunners for six seasons. His most prolific years were 2019 and 2020, when he played 36 out of 38 games and scored 22 goals. He won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2019. 

Aubameyang is a talented player but his off-the-field controversies have often derailed him. Former manager Unai Emery named the club captain in 2019 but that was taken away from him in 2021 by current manager Mikel Arteta

He arrived late at a training session which proved to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Eventually, the club terminated his contract and the Gabonese left the club on a free transfer to Barcelona.

He returned to English football in 2022. He’s made only 15 starts and scored one goal.

4. Hakim Ziyech

Top 12 African Players in the Premier League in 2023
Hakim Ziyech playing for Chelsea. Image Source: Instagram licenced by CC BY 2.0
  • Full name: Hakim Ziyech
  • Age: 29 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Moroccan
  • Current team: Chelsea FC
  • Position: Midfielder

Ziyech joined Chelsea in 2020 from Ajax. He has received some quality minutes but the league hasn’t quite enjoyed him, partly due to Chelsea’s problems. Ziyech is known for his crossing and threat on goal.

He was quite busy in his first two seasons, having played a total of 46 games. That dropped to 18 in the 2023 season. In total, he has played 69 games, scored 6 goals and assisted 9.

5. Alex Iwobi

Top 12 African Players in the Premier League in 2023
Alex Iwobi playing for Everton. Image Source: Instagram licenced by CC BY 2.0
  • Full name: Alexander Chuka Iwobi
  • Age: 27  years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Nigeria
  • Current team: Everton FC
  • Position: Forward

Alex Iwobi joined Arsenal when he was still in primary school and went through the ranks at Arsenal. His first-ever involvement with the senior team was in a League Cup game in 2013. Two years later, he penned a long-term contract at the club. 

Iwobi became more involved with the first team, playing 13 games in 2016. His most productive season in a Gunners shirt was in 2019, when he played a total of 35 games.

After seven years with the club, the Nigerian international left for Everton, where he has received more game time and been an integral part of the squad. He’s played a total of 121 games for the Toffees. In general, Iwobi has 221 appearances, 17 goals, and 27 assists in the premier league.

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6. Edouard Mendy

  • Full name: Édouard Osoque Mendy
  • Age: 31 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Senegal
  • Current team: Chelsea FC
  • Position: Goalkeeper

The shot-stopper signed for The Blues in 2020 from French club Rennes. He came in at a time when Spanish goalie Kepa Arrizabalaga was under fire for his mistakes and immediately walked into the starting lineup. 

He’s been Chelsea’s favoured goalkeeper under Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel but injury kept him out. That coupled with the fact that Graham Potter preferred Arrizabalga. 

The Senegalese who was named the FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2021, has played a total of 75 games and kept 31 clean sheets. 

7. Jordan Ayew

  • Full name: Jordan Pierre Ayew
  • Age: 31 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Ghana
  • Current team: Crystal Palace
  • Position: Forward

Jordan Ayew had played in the premier league since 2016, when he joined Aston Villa. He played there for a season and then joined Swansea before he completed a move to Crystal Palace

He’s been there now for six seasons with his first two on loan. The forward is a significant part of the team having played 38 games in the 2023 season. Of his 239 appearances, 196 have been in The Eagles shirt. 

8. Mohamed Elneny

  • Full name: Mohamed Naser Elsayed Elneny
  • Age: 30 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Egypt
  • Current team: Arsenal
  • Position: Midfielder

Elneny has been at Arsenal since 2016. He seems to have disappeared from the radar as his involvement in the team has been minimal. In 2023, he started only 5 games, the least he’s played in an entire season. 

His highest starting rate was in the 2021 season when he made 23 appearances. In total, the Egyptian has played 88 games, scored one and assisted five goals.

He’s won the FA Cup and the FA Community Shield. Additionally, he’s been an EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League runners-up in 2018 and 2019.

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9. Joel Matip

  • Full name: Job Joël André Matip
  • Age: 31 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Cameroon
  • Current team: Liverpool
  • Position: Center Back

Joel Matip completed his move to Liverpool in 2016 from German club Schalke. He is a centre-back but is appreciated for his ability to advance the ball forward. This has helped him to separate himself from other defensive players and won him, admirers.

That said, he has played a significant amount of games under Jurgen Klopp. In the 2021/2022 season, he started 31 games, the most during his Liverpool career. In total, he’s played 140 games, scored 9 goals, assisted 5 goals and has 52 clean sheets.

Matip is a Premier League and a Champions League winner.

10. Said Benrahma

  • Full name: Mohamed Saïd Benrahma
  • Age: 27 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Algeria
  • Current team: Westham United
  • Position: Left Winger/Attacking Midfielder

Benrahma came to the Premier League in 2021 when he joined Brentford in 2021 from the French club. He then went on loan to Westham United and later permanently signed for The Hammers. He’s enjoyed a lot of game time, having played a maximum of 35 games in 2023 with the least number of games played, 30 games. 

11. Jeffrey Schlupp

  • Full name: Jeffrey Schlupp
  • Age: 31 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Ghana
  • Current team: Crystal Palace
  • Position:  Midfielder

Schlupp is a one-time Premier League winner having lifted the title with Leicester in the 2015/2016 season. He stayed at the King Power one more season and then moved to Crystal Palace where he’s now been for seven seasons. 

His pace on the ball and versatility that enables him to play along the left wing is invaluable for the team. In total, he’s played 239 games in the Premier League, scored 20 goals and assisted 12.

12. Maxwel Cornet

  • Full name: Gnaly Albert Maxwel Cornet
  • Age: 26 years old (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: Ivory Coast
  • Current team: Westham United
  • Position: Winger/Full Back

Maxwel Cornet started out his senior career in France before he moved to the Premier League. Burnley was his first club in 2021/22, after which he moved to Westham United the following year. He’s played a total of 40 games, scored 9, and assisted one.

If you want to enjoy these players, make sure you watch the English Premier League. Some of the players listed play week in and week out and to see the best of Africa, follow them. 

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