Egyptian Football Ivorian Football Premier League

Didier Drogba: Still the greatest African to play in the Premier League?

Everybody is ranting and raving about Mo Salah - but have we forgotten his African forefathers too quickly?

With Mo Salah slicing Premier League defences up left, right, and centre, is talk of the Egyptian winger being the best African to grace the Premier League premature?

Now in his second stint in England, Salah has put behind him his Chelsea blues to become red-hot at Liverpool.

His 24 League goals this campaign have helped the Pharaoh star garner many admirers, including Ivorian legend Didier Drogba who stated that he could see Salah become a future Liverpool captain, but are the winger’s more recent achievements being overstated in comparison to Drogba’s older performances?

Reds legend Steve Gerrard is the highest profile pundit to make the bold claim, stating on BT Sport when asked if Salah was the greatest African to play in the Premier League: ”It’s a tough one. Yes, probably.”

“I think you have to wait to see how he finishes the season, but if he continues to get goals and set a record, then you have to say yes.”

It should not be forgotten that Drogba is still the only African player to score 100 goals in the Premier League, picking up two Golden boots and four Premier League trophies across two spells at Stamford Bridge, with the second stint coinciding with Salah’s only season in the capital.

The two clearly left an impression on each other, with Mo Salah texting the Ivorian for advice during a dry spell in front of goal.

Of course, this article is not saying that Salah can’t become Africa’s greatest ever ambassador to the Premier League, but at the moment his two seasons cannot be compared to Drogba’s nine in Chelsea blue.

Drogba proved he could be a consistent goalscorer throughout a season, as well as a focal point to provide assists for team-mates. We haven’t seen enough of Salah in terms of the bigger picture to be able to comment on his consistency – it could be that he is a “one-season wonder,” but his performances in Italy indicate that this isn’t likely to be the case.

Whilst individually Salah is picking up awards, a strong way to ensure his legacy after he has left England is to win trophies with his Liverpool side – and it appears the Reds are still some way away from regularly competing for trophies, let alone winning them.

Leaving London with four titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, four Community Shields and a Champions League trophy, there is no doubt that Drogba cemented his place as a legend of the English game.

However, Liverpool’s attacking prowess is slowly being matched by some more astute defending, and whilst they almost certainly won’t be winning the Premier League this year, they should be very competitive ahead of next season.

On top of all this, Drogba was the archetypal “Big game player” – he loved scoring against North London rivals Arsenal, as well as scoring almost every time he went to Wembley. Drogba is not just a Chelsea legend, a Premier League legend, or an African legend – he is truly one of the best strikers to grace the world.

We can say that with certainty as he enters his last season in the game – but only time will tell, when we look back on Salah’s career, if it will be the same for the Egyptian.

From where we’re standing, however, we can’t see why the skillful attacker can’t give it a good-go at least.


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