The brand new Premier League football season resumes in August, with Asian star Son Heung-Min taking center stage for Tottenham Hotspur. However, Son is just one of many talented Asian players to grace the Premier League over the years. Take a look through our top five favorite Asian footballers to play in the league and reminisce about this scintillating talent from the largest continent on earth.
Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United, QPR)
An undeniable Premier League legend, Park Ju-Sung was a huge part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s success story at Manchester United. Fans will want to gloss over the South Korean’s season at QPR, and with good reason – his United success blocks all of that out.
Park won a staggering four league titles with Manchester United and was lauded by fans, players and the manager alike for his work ethic and stamina – earning his nickname of ‘Three Lungs.’
Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)
With 130 Premier League appearances, 42 goals and 19 assists, Tottenham and South Korea forward Son Heung-Min is the highest-scoring Asian player in the history of the competition.
Son is adored by his homeland and has become the most expensive player ever from his continent. At just 27, he has incredible potential to set more records during his career.
After his 12 goals in 31 appearances across the 2018/19 season, ‘Sonny’ will be wanting to build on that for Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s men are currently 16/1 with bookmaker William Hill, making them third favourites to win the league in 2019/20. How much can Son influence Spurs’ title chase?
Ali Al-Habsi (Bolton, Wigan)
The only player from Western Asia on this list and the first Omani player to play in Europe, Ali Al-Habsi didn’t even decide to be a goalkeeper until he was 17.
Al-Habsi spent 12 years of his career in England. During his Premier League days he featured for Wigan and Bolton, then afterward moved over to the Championship to play for Brighton and Reading. It was during his time with Wigan that the goalkeeper experienced the most success.
Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City)
This former Leicester City striker is by no means a prolific goalscorer, and while Okazaki no longer plays in the Premier League (he has recently signed for Málaga CF in the second division of Spanish football), he embodied the spirit of Leicester’s famous title campaign.
Hardworking, dedicated, and determined – all attributes, both Okazaki and Leicester possessed during that iconic season. The dedicated player performed in all but two of Leicester’s league matches during this season and scored five goals.
Sun Jihai (Manchester City, Crystal Palace)
Paving the way for footballers from his country, Sun Jihai was one of the first Chinese players to ever appear on the Premier League stage. In fact, he was the first Chinese player to score in the top flight of English football.
He first joined the league in 1998 for Crystal Palace where he spent four years before joining Manchester City for six. It was during his time at City in 2002 that he scored his first goal – a headed effort against Birmingham.