Premier League 'African stars XI': Liverpool and Chelsea legends feature

Chelsea's Didier Drogba celebrates with the FA Cup trophy after winning the Final

There have been a fair share of African imports to the Premier League, with Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, Leicester City, Leeds, Everton and Bolton Wanderers favourites picked as the very best.

Leicester's Riyad Mahrez in action with Celtic's Emilio IzaguirreLeicester's Riyad Mahrez in action with Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre

It's become common practice now for Premier League sides to scout the African continent for talent, and we as fans are lucky in the sense that some of the best ever African footballers have plied their trade in England's top flight.

But what would an all time Premier League African XI look like? With some positions a lot easier to fill than others and adopting a 4-2-3-1 formation, here goes.

Goalkeeper - Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe - Liverpool, Southampton) 

Arguably the best ever African goalkeeper, Grobbelaar was 13 years into his career before he made his first Premier League appearance for Liverpool. A key member of past Liverpool sides having won six First Division titles, three FA Cups and a European Cup, Grobbelaar was still a valuable asset in his later years, and after his Anfield departure, he enjoyed a Premier League spell with Southampton. 

Right Back - Lauren (Cameroon - Arsenal, Portsmouth)

A vital cog in Arsenal's Invincible machine, Lauren was a superb right back for the Gunners, and also did a solid job at Portsmouth later on in his career. Lauren suffered with injuries after arriving at Highbury in 2000, but eventually became first choice right back and helped Arsenal to win two Premier League titles and three FA Cups. He then won the FA Cup again with Portsmouth in 2008. 

Liverpool's Kolo Toure tackles Sevilla's Kevin GameiroLiverpool's Kolo Toure tackles Sevilla's Kevin Gameiro

Centre Back - Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast - Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool)

One of Arsene Wenger's best ever signings, Kolo Toure only called time on his 14-year Premier League career in the summer of 2016, after joining Scottish giants Celtic. Having arriving at Arsenal in 2002, Toure took to English football like the proverbial duck to water, and would go on to win two FA Cups and the Premier League at Arsenal, becoming an Invincible in the process. Toure then went to Manchester City in 2009, winning the title and the FA Cup there, before signing for Liverpool in 2013.

Centre Back - Lucas Radebe (South Africa - Leeds United)

'The Chief' as he was nicknamed by Leeds United fans, Radebe goes down as one of the club's best ever centre backs. After arriving in 1994, Radebe would go on to make 198 Premier League appearances for the Whites, resisting tempting offers from elsewhere, yet would never win any honours at Elland Road. However, in 1998, he was the club's Player of the Year.

Left Back - Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon - Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers)

Not the best player in this list by any stretch, but Assou-Ekotto was a dependable and highly useful outlet for Tottenham Hotspur, and ultimately enjoyed a nine-year spell at White Hart Lane. On his day, the left back was as good as any in the division - as proved when he nullified Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2009 League Cup final - and also had a Premier League season on loan at Queens Park Rangers.  

Manchester City's Yaya Toure in actionManchester City's Yaya Toure in action

Central Midfielder - Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast - Manchester City)

What's there to say about Yaya Toure that hasn't already been said? An absolute colossus in midfield who seems to be able to do everything, the brother of Kolo is one of the best ever Premier League foreign imports, and his importance to Manchester City hasn't waned one bit since arriving in 2010. The 33-year-old has won the Premier League and League Cup twice for City, as well as the FA Cup in 2011. 

Central Midfielder - Michael Essien (Ghana - Chelsea)

Before Yaya Toure made a name for himself on English shores, he was initially compared with Chelsea's Michael Essien. An outstanding box-to-box midfielder with a thunderous shot and excellent defensive awareness, Essien was adored at Stamford Bridge. At Chelsea, the Ghanaian won two league titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, and also picked up a winners medal for Chelsea's 2012 Champions League exploits. Who knows how good he could have been but for injuries.

Right Wing - Steven Pienaar (South Africa - Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland)

An incredibly underrated player, Pienaar is still playing in the Premier League, and has been since 2007. One of Everton's better players under David Moyes' reign, the winger could beat a man, deliver a cross and had an eye for goal as well. A move to Tottenham Hotspur didn't quite work out for him, but a return to Everton brought back the form that saw him become a fan favourite. Pienaar reunited with Moyes this season, and is now at Sunderland. 

Jay-Jay OkochaJay-Jay Okocha

Attacking Midfielder - Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria - Bolton Wanderers)

A one-man showboat reel, some of the tricks Okocha was capable of pulling off were frankly outrageous beyond words - as were some of his goals for Bolton Wanderers, whose fans have never seen anything like Okocha since. A free transfer in 2002, Okocha overcame injuries to establish himself as one of the division's best players at the time, despite playing for a Bolton side who were never going to challenge for the title. 

Left Wing - Riyad Mahrez (Algeria - Leicester City)

The first Algerian to win a Premier League title, Mahrez is one of Leicester City's 5000-1 heroes, and performed out of his skin in the 2015-16 season. Mahrez's dazzling form last season saw him linked with Europe's elite, with the left winger capable of delivering a ball with insane precision, as well as proving more than capable in front of goal. His form this season has stuttered, but he still arguably remains Leicester's best player. 

Striker - Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast - Chelsea)

Chelsea alone have had two of the best African footballers - let alone strikers - of all time in George Weah and Samuel Eto'o in the past, but they were both blown out of the water by the incredible Didier Drogba. A powerhouse centre forward with pace, Drogba was the complete forward and a total nightmare for defenders. Drogba remains Chelsea's top scoring foreign striker, and won four league titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and the Champions League at Stamford Bridge.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch