Premier League: French Favourites
Can Loic Remy follow in footsteps of Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona & Marcel Desailly in the Premier League
Premier League history is littered with examples of French players who have enjoyed major success on these shores.
Loic Remy will be looking to follow in their footsteps after arriving at QPR, with the former Marseille forward opting for west London ahead of Newcastle after Harry Redknapp lured the 26-year-old to Loftus Road.
The 17-cap international has the potential to be a huge success in England, but will need to hit the ground running if he's to keep his new team in the top division. If he can do that, then who knows what the future might hold.
And so, in honour of Remy's arrival in the capital, GiveMeFootball has decided to pick the best French players at the top Premier League clubs in the modern-era.
Don't agree with our selections? Let us know who you think should have been included at the bottom of the article...
Arsenal – Thierry Henry; Patrick Vieira; Robert Pires
In the Premier League era at Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger has managed to lure the cream of the crop to north London, and Thierry Henry is regarded as the club’s all-time greatest player.
The 123-cap international joined Arsenal in 1999 after an ill-fated spell at Juventus, and during his eight-years with the club he became their record goalscorer. A return on loan last January added two more goals to his total, and cemented his place in Gunners folklore.
Patrick Vieira isn’t a bad second best, with the powerful midfielder spending nine-years at the club after signing from AC Milan. Robert Pires also brought some French flare during his six-year stint.
Chelsea – Claude Makelele; Didier Deschamps; Marcel Desailly
Whilst defensive-midfielder Claude Makelele was often undervalued during his career, the 2003 signing had a position named after him and became a huge hit at Stamford Bridge during his five years at the club. Famously scored a penalty on the day the Blues were handed the Premier League title in 2005.
Chelsea haven’t been bursting with French players in the past, but in Didier Deschamps and Marcel Desailly they possessed two of the nation’s biggest football names. The midfielder spent one season in west London towards the end of his career, whilst the centre back won two trophies in six years at the club.
Manchester City – Sylvain Distin; Samir Nasri
Given the vast finances that have been spent at Manchester City, it’s a credit to Sylvain Distin that his time with the club remains so well regarded. The centre back was at the heart of the club’s defence for five-years after joining in 2002, helping the Citizens cement their place back in the English top flight.
Samir Nasri is a contentious second, but there aren’t many other options available, and the creative midfielder was actually a regular for Roberto Mancini in their title winning campaign last year.
Manchester United – Eric Cantona; Patrice Evra
Much like Henry at Arsenal, there is only one choice when it comes to discussing the best French player at Manchester United.
Eric Cantona left Leeds for the Red Devils in controversial circumstances, but immediately went on to enjoy success with four Premier League titles in five years. It was his swagger and style which helped endear him with the fans, but it sometimes stepped over the mark – notably at Selhurst Park one fateful night.
Patrice Evra has been a superb piece of business for Sir Alex Ferguson since his arrival at Old Trafford in 2006, and whilst some recent performances have been questioned, the 31-year-old could well be the first-choice for years to come.
Tottenham Hotspur – David Ginola
Another player loved in England for his style, David Ginola arrived at Spurs after two good years at Newcastle United. However, his spell at White Hart Lane was even better, winning the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 1998-99, as well as the League Cup trophy.