As the fans around the world tune in to enjoy the live action of English Premier League in every weekend, it is the same in Asia, a continent that has become an increasingly important source of revenue for the league. But at the moment, however, there is a dearth of Asian players in England’s top flight. You have Son Heung-min at Tottenham, Ki Sung-yueng at Swansea City, Shinji Okazaki at Leicester City, Crystal Palace’s Lee Chung-yong and Moya Yoshida at Southampton. Here we have tried to pick out top 5 Asian players in Premier League this season.
Son Heung-min (Tottenham)
Tottenham signed the South Korean winger from Bayer Leverkusen last summer, and he has so far enjoyed an impressive debut season in the top flight of English football.
The 23-year-old attacker is already a fan favourite at White Hart Lane, but Son believes he still has a lot to offer Mauricio Pochettino’s team. He has been so far used in a rotational role at Tottenham, and while forced to compete with the likes of Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela for a place in the starting eleven. Son has given Spurs certainly a different option going forward, and his work-rate always meant that he slotted in naturally with Pochettino’s preferred style of play.
The energetic forward has made 34 appearances for Tottenham so far, scoring on five occasions with 5 assists on his name.
Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City)
Okazaki was brought to Leicester City from Mainz last summer, but he has quickly adapted to the hardship of Premier League. The Japanese international might not have scored frequently, but his efforts have consistently provided the perfect foil for Jamie Vardy. Many say that his importance to Leicester has often been overlooked throughout this season. the 29-year-old centre-forward has so far scored 5 goals with 2 assists from his 30 appearances in all competitions this season.
According to Ranierie’s style of play, the front two start dropping too deep, which means as soon as you win back the ball, you cannot break quickly. Normally teams end up losing the ball and play almost all the match on the back foot and eventually concede. But Leicester get the distances between the blocks of players exceptionally right. Vardy always stays right up on the centre halves, not allowing them to squeeze space and Okazaki manages the spaces between Vardy and the midfield perfectly.
Maya Yoshida (Southampton)
Yoshida joined Southampton shortly after they began their first Premier League season following a seven year absence. He actually received some criticism for his early performances, and some fans even questioned his ability to look solid at the top level but last season it was a sensational one for him. This season, the 27-year-old Japanese centre-back has been fighting hard to make himself regular in the starting line-up as he has played only 19 matches in EPL this season. However he looked much more assured whenever got chance.
Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City)
When the South Korean midfielder arrived at Celtic for a then club-record £5.5m back in 2012, he eventually brought with him a devoted following. As the captain and pin-up of his country, Ki was then inundated with letters, gifts and even South Korean food and drink from his legion of admirers.
Ki is already a stalwart of the South Korean team with 80 caps at just 27-years-old, and he has also established himself in Swansea’s first team – albeit in circumnavigated fashion. He won the League Cup in his first season with the Premier League club but had to spend the next campaign on loan at Sunderland, before returning to the Liberty Stadium in 2014 and winning the Welsh club’s player of the year award. This season the veteran defensive midfielder has played 27 matches with one goal and one assist in all competitions for Swansea.
Lee Chung-yong (Crystal Palace)
Lee Chung-Yong had been a star performer for Bolton Wanderers during his stay at the club but following six years, the South Korean international finally decided it was time for him to move on to greener pastures during the January transfer window in 2015 and Crystal Palace came calling for Lee’s services and Bolton agreed a deal said to be worth £2million to sell the winger. This season the 27-year-old has played 15 matches for Crystal Palace scoring only once.