Real Madrid and Barcelona may be the best teams with two of the greatest players ever in Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but the English Premier League is the best division in the world.
Though they have struggled to compete in Europe’s elite competition, with Chelsea being the last English team to triumph in the Champions League in 2012, the Premier League remains the most electrifying and attractive league. With this in mind, What makes an exciting league? The answer to this question is none other than the players.
Over the years, we’ve seen a fair share of audacious and failed signings in the Premier League. But this list is about players that have played in the Premier league and are still active. Indeed, some of the players on this list were once top-drawers in their prime. The point isn’t to bash them for not staying in the best league, but to refresh football fanatics memories of ex Premier League players still pursuing their dreams elsewhere.
Here are fifteen ex Premier League that are still active.
15. Johan Djourou
The Swiss international Johan Djourou spent 10 seasons with Arsenal before his departure in 2014, with loan moves to Birmingham City in 2007-08, Hannover 96 in 2013 and Hamburger SV in 2013-14 bookending his time in London. He would eventually sign permanently with Hamburger SV after a season-long loan spell in 2014.
During his time with the Gunners, the Ivorian-born center-back made 144 appearances in Arsenal’s back-line and defensive midfield, but primarily in the heart of the back four where he was reliable and an imposing figure.
After the loan departure of Philippe Senderos to Serie A giants AC Milan and Kolo Toure’s move Manchester City, Djourou was eager to fight for his place and become a regular in Arsene Wenger starting Xl. However, a knee injury caused Johan to miss eight months and fell in the pecking order, which would later derail his Arsenal career.
When asked about Djourou’s qualities, Arsene Wenger revealed, “Johan was a midfielder and that’s why he likes to come out and play with the ball but he is as well tall, strong in the air and quick. He has all the assets to become a very good centre back.”
14. Tim Cahill
Known for his outstanding heading ability and excessive vertical leap, Tim Cahill has made a career scoring numerous goals with his head.
Former Everton manager, David Moyes signed the Australian international in the summer of 2004 for a reported fee of £1.5 million. Cahill, who’s trademark celebration is punching the corner flag would later go on to become an icon of Merseyside where he spent eight illustrious years scoring 68 goals in 255 games.
Before departing to the New York Red Bulls in 2012, Cahill was the second highest Premier League scorer in Everton’s history. Cahill signed for an Australian league club Melbourne City on August 11th, 2016, after brief stints with Chinese clubs, Shanghai Shenhua and Hangzhou Greentown.
13. Carlton Cole
Carlton Cole forced his way into Chelsea’s first team in 2001-02 season after scoring an astonishing 37 goals for the Blues youth and reserve team. He would later make his debut in April 2002, in a 3-0 win over Everton, when he was just 18-years-old.
Standing at 6’3″, Cole’s uncanny ability to turn and beat defenders with his incredible pace alongside his finishing prowess made him a household name. Comparison to a Chelsea legend, Peter Osgood, was the highest praise the former England international would ever achieve in his career.
After bouncing around Premier clubs for several years, the ex Hammers joined United Soccer Club Sacramento Republic on August 9th, 2016.
12. Tim Howard
Tim Howard started his glorious career for New York/New Jersey Metrostars, where he flourished and became USA first choice keeper.
He’d then move to Manchester, but after falling behind the legendary Edwin Van der Sar in the pecking order at Manchester United, Howard joined Everton in the summer of 2006 on season-long loan. Howard’s impressive display forced Everton’s hands to make the deal permanent and signed the US international to a rewarding four-year deal for an undisclosed fee in 2007.
In ten seasons with Everton, Howard made an inspiring 415 appearances while captaining the side when Phil Jagielka and Leon Osman were unavailable.
When Howard lost his starting place to Spaniard Joel Robles, Colorado Rapids picked up the keeper, where he’s currently silencing doubters.
11. John Arne Riise
John Arne Riise had no trouble adapting to the English game after spending three seasons at Monaco, where he established himself as an attacking left-back threat.
Liverpool inked the Norwegian stud in the summer of 2001 for £4 million and he made a constant impact by helping the Reds win the Charity Shield and the European Super Cup. Although he was an attacking threat, Riise’s defensive skills were exploited once opposing teams discovered his style of play, which led to his Liverpool exit in 2008. He’d continue playing for top clubs like Roma and Fulham until 2014, before bouncing around to smaller teams and retiring in 2016.
However, on August 18th, 2016, Riise came out of a brief retirement to join Indian Super League club Chennaiyin F.C.