The list of top 100 best foreign EPL players featured former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha, former Nigeria captain and Arsenal striker, Nwankwo Kanu and erstwhile Super Eagles forward, Yakubu Aiyegbeni.
Best Foreign EPL Players – Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha
Austin Okocha, was ranked 33rd on the list by FourFourTwo – a celebrated football magazine. The attacking midfielder, who represented Bolton Wanderers for four seasons, was one of the foreign players, who added glamour to the EPL during his playing days in England.
The magazine said: “Okocha almost single-handedly rescued Bolton from relegation trouble in his first season, netting crucial long-range goals and dazzling the Premier League with a string of outrageous skills and showboats that embarrassed a host of opponents.
For half a season, he wasn’t far from being the best player in the league – even at Bolton.”
During his heydays at Bolton, Okocha won the BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2003 and 2004 and claimed the Premier League Player of the Month in November 2003.
Best Foreign EPL Players – Yakubu Aiyegbeni
Yakubu Aiyegbeni placed at the 76th spot had stints at Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers. He scored over 100 goals in the Premier League.
Yakubu’s hopscotching career – which encompassed stints at Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn, and nigh on 100 goals – often had him painted of something as a hired gun. But for those inclined to see things another way, such mid-table journeymanship has a romantic element to it, too. And besides, even as a hired gun, Yakubu rarely did anything less than a brutally efficient job.
A desperately unfortunate knee ligament injury at Everton interrupted his momentum while he was in arguably the best form of his career, and he returned looking a shell of the player he was, many fearing he’d never recover from his pace having seemingly been expunged overnight. But on he battled, dropping down a division with Leicester before returning in 2011/12 with 17 goals for a doomed, desperate Blackburn side during a heartening last hurrah in the top flight.
Best Foreign EPL Players – Kanu Nwankwo
Placed at the 78th spot is Nwankwo Kanu who played a key role for Arsenal, winning the Premier League title and the FA cup.
He also had a short spell at West Brom before moving to Portsmouth where he netted the Wembley winner to help his team win the FA Cup in 2008.
Kanu’s former Arsenal team-mate Gilberto described him as a magician, adding that “sometimes I’m not sure he knows what he’s going to do next with the ball.”
FourFourTwo described him as a Nigerian with the telescopic legs who was a bewitching force in the Gunners team during the early noughties, often teeing up Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp with mind-boggling dummies and flicks.
Many of his own Arsenal goals were also sublime, including a back-heeled volley at Middlesbrough in 1999 and a stupendous hat-trick at Stamford Bridge in his side’s incredible 3-2 win.
Kanu demonstrated that there was life after Arsenal, too, netting the Wembley winner to help Portsmouth win the FA Cup in 2008.