When Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took to the field for Arsenal on Saturday night he became the latest star in the Premier League’s worldwide pool of talent. Arsenal’s club-record signing became the second player from Gabon to line up in England’s top-flight, and scored the fourth in a 5-1 romp over Everton.
In the process he became the 290th player outside of the home nations to feature in a Premier League game this season. The Arsenal star follows Southampton midfielder and Gabon team-mate Mario Lemina He was not, though, the first Gabonese player of the 2017-18 season, with that honour falling to Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina.
The Premier League’s rich wealth of talent has been taken from 56 countries across the world, from as close as the Republic of Ireland and France to as far afield as Bermuda and Benin. The most represented countries offer few surprises, with Spain top of the list having provided a whopping 31 players to the Premier League this season.
France trail behind on 25, with Holland on 22 and Belgium 20 – a figure that would have looked very different five years ago, let alone 10. The Republic of Ireland make up the top five with 17 players in the top flight, while Argentina and Germany both have 14 representatives. Behind them are Brazil on 11, including the recently departed Philippe Coutinho.
The biggest surprise in the top 10 comes from the last two countries in it – Senegal and Austria. Success at the 2002 World Cup led to the first influx of Senegalese players to England, spearheaded by Liverpool duo El-Hadji Diouf and Salif Diao.
Now it is the likes of Sadio Mane, Idrissa Gueye and Mame Biram Diouf who prop up the west African nation. and have led them to Russia 2018 this summer. Congo DR is perhaps the most unlikely supplier of Premier League talent, boasting as many players in the division as Italy and European champions Portugal.
Arthur Masuaku, Benik Afobe, Elias Kachunga, Chancel Mbemba, Yannick Bolasie and Beni Baningime are flying the flag for the central African nation. Over the years English football has enoyed a close connection with Scandinavia, and 20 years ago the league was littered with players from the very north of Europe.
It is a far different picture in 2018, with Denmark its most represented country with seven – including Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen. Sweden have only three, led by Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Josh King is the sole Norwegian in the Premier League – a far cry from the 1990s.
Other traditionally popular haunts have fallen on hard times. Dejan Lovren and Nikola Vlasic are the only Croats, Petr Cech the only Czech and Miguel Britos the only Uruguayan. -DAILYMAIL