With Muslim players taking the Premier League by storm this year, we’ve compiled the definitive list of the top ten Muslims plying their trade in England’s top tier.
10. Benjamin Mendy, 23 - Manchester City
Might have been higher on the list if long-term injury hadn’t scuppered his strong start to the season. Currently fighting his way back into the City first team, Mendy is sure to be Guardiola’s first-choice left back next season, especially considering he was the most expensive defender in the world at the time of signing.
9. Xherdan Shaqiri, 25 - Stoke City
Stoke may not be the team you usually look to for high-octane attacking dynamoes but in Xherdan Shaqiri they have just that, and he continually proves it on those proverbial cold, rainy nights. The standout player in a struggling team, Shaqiri is not likely to be at Stoke much longer, particularly if they are relegated, and we could see him playing to his full potential with a better crop of players around him next season.
8. İlkay Gündoğan, 26
A top player for Borussia Dortmund, Gündoğan hasn’t quite found his best form at Man City, though he has been a regular for the newly crowned champions which is no mean feat considering the quality they can boast in midfield. Pep Guardiola has a lot of faith in this man, and Pep is rarely wrong, so expect to see better and better things from the German international.
7. Riyad Mahrez, 27 - Leicester City
Mahrez has the talent to be higher up this list, and if this had been written two years ago when he helped lowly Leicester to the most unexpected Premier League victory in history, he would have been. It’s no secret that Riyad wants to move to a bigger club and Leicester’s descent from the top has helped drop him down this list, but when the big moves comes you can be sure we’ll see Mahrez back to his electrifying best.
6. Sadio Mané, 26 - Liverpool
When your team sells Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £400 billion (that’s right, yeah?) you’d usually expect the goals to start drying up. Thanks to players like Sadio Mané (and someone else who may feature on this list) that hasn’t been the case. Mané’s pace and power have been instrumental in driving Liverpool forward and he’s chipping in with his fair share of goals and assists.
5. Moussa Dembélé, 30 - Tottenham
A bit of an unsung hero at Tottenham, Dembélé is one of those players who’s genius is often missed, but if you watch closely you see a player capable of taking complete control of a game. He has power, pace and technique but, above all, the intelligence to know when to drive forward (he’s one of the top dribblers in the league believe it or not) or when to slow things down. For Tottenham, he’s simply irreplaceable.
4. N’Golo Kanté, 26 - Chelsea
Last year’s player of the year, and another player who helped Leicester to their incredible league title, Kanté is the epitome of the hard-working central midfielder. He seems to be able to be everywhere at once and his athleticism and inexhaustible energy were the driving force behind Chelsea’s championship-winning season last year. This year his form may have dropped a little but there seems to be unrest at Chelsea, a team which hasn’t performed a close to the same level they did 12 months ago.
3. Paul Pogba, 25 - Manchester United
It’s tricky to place a man who was bought for £89 million yet has been subject to so much criticism on a list like this, but Pogba’s problems this year haven’t been down to lack of talent. Some say he’s being played out of position or that he doesn’t have the players around him that will help him to shine. Whatever it is he hasn’t quite been the player he was before he left Juventus. When he’s good, though, oh my he is something special.
2. Mesut Özil, 29 - Arsenal
Time and again Arsenal’s main man, Mesut Özil is just sheer class. He may not come up with as many goals as some of the players on this list but he continually lays it on a plate for his teammates to either devour or make a meal of. When he left Real Madrid the Spanish club’s fans were furious at the decision to let him go, and they know a player when they see one. World Cup winner, class act, intense stare.
1. Mohamed Salah, 25 - Liverpool
Surprise, surprise, the man topping our list is the Egyptian King who makes the Kop sing. The Liverpool faithful’s now famous song declares ‘if he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too’ and, since he’s been continually banging them in, the Mosques near Anfield should expect an influx of new worshippers any day now. He’s simply unstoppable right now.
That’s our rundown of the top ten Muslim EPL players. If you disagree then feel free to tweet your disapproval @muslimhandsuk, it’s ok we can still be friends.