5 Best Asian Footballers from across the Top Leagues in Europe
Asia is currently one of the biggest markets for the top leagues in Europe. The overtures made by various teams in England and Spain to try and reach out to these fans, several thousand nautical miles away, is now a constant feature, as they realise the potential in the East.
Revenues have steadily been increasing in number (which hasn't gone unnoticed by the teams) as the top leagues try and consolidate their fan-bases in Asia, by having regular fan parks and exhibition matches in the continent during pre-season. The crowd in Beijing got to see Arsenal play Chelsea before the start of the current season. We bet they weren't complaining.
These associations have benefitted both parties significantly and are favourably influencing the movement of Asian players to the top European leagues. Just last year, a trio of Saudi Arabian players moved to Spain to ply their trade in Spain's premier league.
Spanish top flight clubs Villarreal, Leganes and Levante have all brought in recruits on loan from the Arab state until the end of the season, with a further six players either heading to second division outfits or youth teams.
It’s part of an agreement between the football associations of the two countries. Villarreal have signed midfielder Salem Al Dawsari, Levante have captured Fahad Al-Muwallad and Leganes have brought in forward Yahya Al-Shehri. Marwan Othman will also join Leganes’ youth ranks.
Which got us thinking. Who are the 5 best players of Asian descent, forcing the world to take notice?
This is the list we came up with.
#5 Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea)
Ki Sung-Yueng (KI.S.Y) has been a regular in the English premier League for half a decade now and is regarded as one of the more consistent players in his current side Swansea City. The central midfielder has 150 appearances for the Welsh club and is better suited to the defensive side of play.
The South Korean who had a humble beginning to his footballing career with FC Seoul in his native country got his break on the world stage with Celtic in the Scottish League where he put in some decent performances. He caught the eye of the side from Wales and subsequently got his first start in the Premier League with them.
He is a box to box midfielder who is very adept at breaking down the game and providing cover for the defence. The Asian also chips in with his fair share of goals (27) and assists (28) for his sides. He had a brief spell on loan at Sunderland where he impressed and since has become a regular starter for the football club from Swansea.
With significant experience in England's top flight - with the ability to read the game and control the tempo for his team - Ki is right up there as far as Asian players in Europe are concerned.