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Top 10 Nigerian Footballers in the Premier League history

Top 10 Nigerian Footballers in the Premier League history

Joe Aribo becomes the newest Super Eagles star to be gracing the English Premier League after completing his 10m move from Rangers to Southampton.

A lot of Nigerian players have played a huge part in the beautiful history of the English Premier League.

They won the league title, created unique history and a few were part of some historic Premier League teams.

In this article, SportsRation takes a look at some of the Nigerian players who are top 10 to have graced the most competitive league in the world.

10. Celestine Babayaro (179 appearances between 1996-2007 for Chelsea and Newcastle)

Celestine Babayaro in action for Chelsea

Celestine Babayaro played for Chelsea and Newcastle during his 9-year spell in the English top flight league. He was the player who assisted Didier Drogba’s first-ever goal for Chelsea.

Babayaro left Chelsea for Newcastle after seeing limited playing time thereby missing out on the winners’ medal in the 2004-05 season.

9. Peter Odemwingie (129 appearances for three clubs between 2010-2016)

Odemwingie celebrating his hattrick for West Brom

Peter Odemwingie played for three different Premier League clubs, West Brom from 2010-2013 where he scored 30 goals in 87 games.

He also played for Cardiff City season in 2014 and scored just 1 goal in 15 games. Peter played for Stoke City from 2014-2016 during his time with the Porters he scored 5 goals in 27 games.

Peter Odemwingie played for 6 good seasons in the Premier League where he amassed 129 caps for three clubs and scored a total of 36 goals.

He didn’t win a Premier League title but he was the player of the month on three occasions: September 2010, April 2011, and February 2012.

8. Shola Ameobi (260 appearances for two clubs between 2002 to 2015)

Shola Ameobi a member of the Super Eagles team to the 2014 World Cup was one of the greatest players to have graced the Premier League.

He was a Newcastle and Premier legend having played a total of 256 games in the English top-flight league. Shola Ameobi for 12 seasons from 2002- 2014 (except 2010 when Newcastle played in the championship).

Ameobi also played games for Crystal Palace in the 2014-2015 season.

He scored 37 goals in 256 games – he didn’t score any goal for Crystal Palace in the league.

7. Austin Okocha (116 appearances between 2002-2006)

BOLTON, UNITED KINGDOM: Bolton striker Jay Okocha gets to the ball ahead of Arsenal defender Sol Campbell as El Hadji Diouf obvserves at the Reebok Stadium Bolton 15 January 2005. UK OUT ONLY nO TELCOS, WEBSITES SUBJECT TO DESCRIPTION OF LICENCE WITH FAPL AT WWW.FAPLWEB.COM (Photo credit should read MARTYN HARRISON/AFP via Getty Images)

Austin Okocha lit up the Premier League during his four-year spell at Bolton Wanderers. The Nigerian superstar embarrassed many superstar players during his time in the Premier League.

The likes of Paul Scholes, Patrick Vieira, Steven Gerrard, and Roy Keane were shown levels by the Nigerian magician. He scored a total of 11 goals in 116 Premier League games.

Austin Okocha didn’t win the Premier League title with Bolton but he won many individual awards such as:

BBC African Footballer of the Year: 2003, 2004
BBC Goal of the Month: April 2003
Premier League Player of the Month: November 2003

6. Efan Ekoku

Efan Ekoku in action for (Norwich City)

The six-cap Super Eagle is one of only three Nigerians with 50+ goals in the Premier League. For a fact, he was the first Nigerian to play in the Premier League.

He made his debut in the competition with Norwich in 1993 – a year after the establishment of the rebranded league. Notably, he’s the first player ever to score more than three goals in a Premier League match with his four-goal performance against Everton in September 1993 earning him the famous record.

5. Victor Moses (220 appearances between 2009-2019 for Wigan, Chelsea, Liverpool, West Ham, and Stoke)

Victor Moses played for five different clubs in the Premier League during his 10 years in the league. The Nigerian attacker was a key member of the Chelsea team when they won the title in 2016/2017.

Moses played a total of 220 games and scored 20 goals in the process.

4. Joseph Yobo (228 appearances between 2002-2014 for Everton and Norwich)

Joseph Yobo was Mr. consistent for Everton under David Moyes.

The Nigerian put himself in the history book when he became only one of 7 players in the entire league who played every minute of every game throughout the 2006–07 season.

Joseph Yobo was the captain and one of the key members during the glory era for Everton in the 2000s where they played European football and went to a few cup finals.

3. Yakubu Aiyegbeni ( 250 appearances between 2004-2012)

Yakubu Aiyegbeni, the Yak with his customary celebration

Yakubu Aiyegbeni is often remembered by a few for his miss at the 2010 FIFA World Cup but a lot who followed his career know how talented he was.

The Yak as he was fondly called during his time in England was one of the top five African strikers to ever play in the English Premier League.

Yakubu played 250 Premier Leagues and scored 95 goals during his spells with Portsmouth, Middlesborough, Everton, and Blackburn.

Only Mo Salah (120 goals, Sadio Mane 111, Didier Drogba 104, and Emmanuel Adebayor 97 have more goals than Yakubu Aiyegbeni in the Premier League.

2. John Mikel Obi (249 appearances for Chelsea between 2006-2017)

John Mikel Obi during his 11 years spell at Chelsea played a total of 249 games and scored one goal.

He has one of the best win/losses ratio in the Premier League with 149 wins, 41 losses 59 draws. He also won two Premier League titles in the 2009/10 and 2014/15 seasons.

There is also a narrative doing the round about John Mikel Obi being a bench warmer at Chelsea largely due to him playing a few games from the bench towards the later part of his career.

Mikel Obi started 183 and played 66 games from the bench – this means he started 73% of his Premier League games and played only 27% from the bench.

See the breakdown of Mikel Obi Premier League Appearances and Games Start per season:

2006-07: 22 10
2007-08: 29 21
2008-09: 34-33
2009-10: 25-21
2010-11: 28-28
2011-12 22-15
2012-13 22-19
2013-14 24-11
2014-15 18-6
2015-16 25-19

1. Kanu Nwankwo (273 appearances for Arsenal, West Brom, and Portsmouth between 1998-2010)

Kanu celebrating one of his goals

No doubt the greatest Nigerian player to ever play in the Premier League, Kanu Nwankwo played a total of 273 games for (Arsenal, West Brom, and Portsmouth) and scored 54 goals.

He won two Premier League titles with Arsenal in the 2001-02 and 2003-04 seasons. His 2003-04 Premier League title remains the only golden title in the Premier League as his team went invincible (undefeated).

Papilo had many highlights from his time in England but his hat-trick against Chelsea will always be a talking point.