Suarez, Firmino, Aguero: Who is the best South American player in Premier League history?

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Eyebrows were raised when Manchester United signed the ageing Edinson Cavani on a free transfer in October, but the striker proved on Sunday that he’s still capable of producing match-winning performances at the highest level.

United were 2-0 down away at Southampton when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent Cavani on in place of Mason Greenwood.

The Uruguayan responded by scoring two goals, including the winner, while also providing an assist for Bruno Fernandes.

Man Utd have a patchy record when it comes to signing South American players, with Carlos Tevez, Rafael and Antonio Valencia among the standout hits.

Other signings from the continent like Radamel Falcao, Kleberson and Alexis Sanchez, however, all struggled at Old Trafford.

Following Cavani’s performance, we thought it would be interesting to rank the Premier League’s greatest ever South American players into five different tiers: ‘Just Decent’, ‘Quality’, ‘Elite’, ‘World Class’ and ‘Best of the Best’.

Note: there’s no room for Cavani and a few others just yet because they haven’t played in the Premier League for long enough.

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Just Decent

Robinho

One of the most unexpected signings of the Premier League era, Robinho sadly flattered to deceive at Manchester City. Did he really want to be there?

Willian

A good winger but often frustrating and inconsistent, Chelsea and Arsenal fans would surely agree.

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David Luiz

Great on his day but extremely erratic.

Oscar

It’s a real shame that he left Chelsea for China at the peak of his career.

Gus Poyet

Scored the odd wondergoal and was decent for both Tottenham and Chelsea.

Hernan Crespo

Managed to hit 10 goals in each of his two seasons in the Premier League with Chelsea, but fans expected more from the Argentine.

Faustino Asprilla

He might be a cult hero in the eyes of Newcastle fans, but the Colombian only managed to score nine goals in 48 league games for the Magpies.

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Juan Sebastian Veron

It’s important to remember that Juan Sebastian Veron produced some brilliant performances for Manchester United and even won the Premier League Player of the Month award in September 2001.

Erik Lamela

Now in his eighth season with Tottenham, Lamela has been a decent signing overall.

Lucas Moura

The Brazilian will forever occupy a special place in the hearts of every Spurs fan after *that* hat-trick away at Ajax in the Champions League.

Salomon Rondon

The Venezuelan striker scored a decent number of goals with both West Brom and Newcastle.

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Julio Arca

A talented midfielder who played for both Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Nicolas Otamendi

The Argentine defender won two Premier League titles with Man City.

Sandro

Sandro, who played for both Tottenham and QPR, was capable of putting in the odd top performance in central midfield.

Sylvinho

The Brazilian was Arsenal’s left-back before Ashley Cole took his place in the starting line-up.

Quality

Ramires

Ramires had some engine on him. Like Oscar, it’s a bit of a shame he left Stamford Bridge for China.

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Edu

Underrated member of Arsenal’s legendary ‘Invincibles’ side.

Nolberto Solano

Solano was a quality footballer who became a firm favourite at Newcastle. The Peruvian was particularly dangerous from set-pieces.

Antonio Valencia

Valencia spent 10 years at Man Utd and even captained the club.

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Lucas Leiva

Lucas gradually won over Liverpool’s fans during his 10-season spell at Anfield and left the club in 2017 with his reputation as a cult hero firmly cemented.

Gabriel Heinze

A top left-back, Gabriel Heinze ruined his chances of becoming a Man Utd great by expressing his desire to join Liverpool before signing for Real Madrid.

Rafael

Always gave his all for Man United, which is why the Old Trafford faithful will love him forever.

Fabricio Coloccini

The Argentine defender probably could have played for a ‘bigger’ club, but he spent eight years with Newcastle.

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Gabriel Jesus

Still only 23, Gabriel Jesus has scored 43 Premier League goals in 104 appearances.

Richarlison

Another 23-year-old Brazilian, Richarlison has the potential to become a major star.

Roque Santa Cruz

Bossed it at Blackburn but struggled at Manchester City.

Elano

Joined Man City when they started getting rich and produced some superb moments, including a wonderful free-kick against Newcastle.

Fred

Looked out of his depth during his first season at Old Trafford but, to his credit, has turned things around since.

Elite

Juninho

Juninho and Middlesbrough was an unlikely match made in heaven.

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Javier Mascherano

Liverpool snapped him up from West Ham, where he struggled to get a game, and what a transfer that proved to be. Mascherano is one of the best defensive midfielders of his generation.

Pablo Zabaleta

The Argentine full-back won two Premier League titles with Man City before a stint at West Ham.

Gilberto Silva

Another member of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ side, Gilberto Silva was a top holding midfielder.

Ederson

Ederson solved Pep Guardiola’s goalkeeper problems at Manchester City.

Fabinho

Won the Champions League with Liverpool in his first season and the Premier League in his second.

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Fernandinho

Fernandinho currently has three Premier League winners’ medals in his collection.

World Class

Philippe Coutinho

Magical to watch during his five-year spell at Liverpool, part of Philippe Coutinho must wish he’d stayed at Anfield.

Alexis Sanchez

The Chilean was shockingly bad at Man Utd but take nothing away from his brilliant three-and-a-half-year spell with Arsenal.

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Carlos Tevez

Part of one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest ever Manchester United sides, Tevez went on to score goals consistently with rivals City.

Alisson

Alisson has been almost flawless since joining Liverpool from AS Roma in 2018.

Roberto Firmino

The £64.8 million-rated forward scored enough goals over the past couple of seasons but has been such an important player for Liverpool since his arrival in the summer of 2015.

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Best of the Best

Luis Suarez

Many of Suarez’s performances in a Liverpool shirt were next level. In 110 league appearances, the Uruguayan netted 69 goals.

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Sergio Aguero

Only three players (Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole) have scored more Premier League goals than Aguero (180). That’s a remarkable record from a remarkable forward.

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And here's our Tiermaker graphic in full...

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