7 Best Asian Footballers Right Now

 
 
N'Golo Kante of Chelsea is challenged by Shinji Okazaki of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on January 13, 2018 in...

There are a lot of talented players in Asia right now, such as Omar Abdulrahman in the UAE, Wu Lei in China and Lee Jae-sung in South Korea.

Over in Europe, Reza Ghoochannejhad was the second top scorer in Holland last season, Yuto Nagatomo is on-loan at Turkish league leaders Galatasaray and Tom Rogic has won plenty of plaudits and trophies over the last few years at Celtic.

Clearly, there are no shortage of options, and for the purposes of this seven, we are classing any nation that is part of the Asian Football Confederation as Asian.

Here are our 7 best Asian footballers right now:

7. Shinji Okazaki (Japan)

A Premier League winner only a couple of seasons ago, Shinji Okazaki was an important player for Claudio Ranieri, helping Leicester City win a shock Premier League title in his first season at the King Power. A really hard working and versatile footballer, Okazaki is a tireless runner who won’t let defenders off the hook. Now aged 31, Okazaki has won 108 caps and scored 50 goals for his native Japan, who qualified for this summer's World Cup finals in Russia. After a bright start to the season, Okazaki has failed to score in 2018, but he just squeaks into our seven.

6. Yoshinori Muto (Japan)

Yoshinori Muto of Japan reacts after missing a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Singapore and Japan at National Stadium on November 12, 2015 in Singapore.Yoshinori Muto of Japan reacts after missing a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Singapore and Japan at National Stadium on November 12, 2015 in Singapore.

In sixth place is another industrious and versatile Japanese international. Mainz star Yoshinori Muto is a player who is equally capable of playing up top on his own or out on the left, and wherever he’s deputised, he plays with a real hunger and appetite for the game. A clinical finisher, Muto made his name with FC Tokyo, where he averaged better than a goal every other game. Chelsea made a bid for him in 2015, but like so many bright Asian talents, he ended up in the Bundesliga. Muto has bagged 9 goals in 23 outings for Mainz so far this season.

5. Gotoku Sakai (Japan)

This seven isn’t just made up of Japanese players, I promise you, but it is a third consecutive Japanese international who comes in at fifth. Born in New York City, Gotoku is one of two Japanese right-backs by the name of Sakai playing in Europe, the other being Marseille full-back Hiroki Sakai. Gotoku is the pick of the duo though, as a committed and tough tackling offensive right-back with a dangerous cross. He too plays his football in the Bundesliga, currently for Hamburg and previously for Stuttgart.

4. Aaron Mooy (Australia)

Aaron Mooy of Huddersfield Town walks out for the warm up prior to the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Swansea City at John Smith's Stadium on March 10, 2018 in...Aaron Mooy of Huddersfield Town walks out for the warm up prior to the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Swansea City at John Smith's Stadium on March 10, 2018 in...

Whilst Australia is variously stated as being a part of a continent by the same name, Australasia or Oceania, in footballing terms at least, it is part of the AFC. From Brighton shot stopper Matthew Ryan to Tim Cahill - who is seemingly timeless on the international stage - the Socceroos have a handful of good players, but Aaron Mooy is the pick of the bunch. An intelligent central midfielder with fine technique, an eye for a pass and a dangerous long shot, Mooy was the linchpin as Huddersfield won promotion from the Championship last season. He has been their standout player once more in the Premier League this season, with 4 goals and 3 assists from his 30 appearances.

3. Koo Ja-cheol (South Korea)

The third best Asian footballer in the world right now is Koo Ja-cheol. A really classy attacking midfielder, Koo has been playing in the Bundesliga since joining Wolfsburg in 2011. Now at 10th placed side Augsburg, Koo is arguably the club’s best player. With slick passing, good close control and a thunderous long shot, Koo is a constant threat to the opposition. Aged 29, he has won 65 caps and scored 19 goals for the South Korean national team.

2. Shinji Kagawa (Japan)

The fourth and final Japanese player in this seven, Shinji Kagawa’s career seemed to stumble after his 2012 move to Manchester United. He failed to make the desired impact at Old Trafford, and despite a return to Dortmund, he struggled to recapture his 2011/12 season form. That has all changed since Peter Stoger was appointed Dortmund manager last December though, and Kagawa has been in fine form for Germany’s third placed side since then. An attacking midfielder with plenty of talent, poise and trickery, Kagawa has won 89 caps and scored 29 goals for Japan.

1. Son Heung-min (South Korea)

Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on April 1, 2018 in London, England.Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on April 1, 2018 in London, England.

Where Kagawa failed to make a real impression in the Premier League, Son Heung-min has certainly succeeded. The Tottenham Hotspur forward is arguably one of the most underrated players in the division, and he has hit 18 goals in all competitions this season. Son has a better goals to minute ratio than Romelu Lukaku, Leroy Sane and Spurs teammates Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. Happiest on the left wing, Son is equally capable on the right and has even proved himself as a very decent deputy for Harry Kane up front on occasion. He has pace, technique, clever movement and a ruthless finish. There’s no doubt in our mind that Son Heung-min is the best Asian footballer in the world right now. Still only 25 years old, he has scored 20 goals from 63 caps for South Korea, and is the all time record Asian scorer in the Premier League.

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