The Match of the Day podcast is back this weekend looking at the Premier League’s most influential imports from Europe. In order to provide a Chelsea twist to the list, we’ve come up with a 12-man shortlist and are asking you to vote for the final ordering.
With no match highlights to screen and analyse, Match of the Day regulars Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright have instead been compiling ranked lists of the Premier League’s standout performers.
Previous episodes have focused on top goalscorers and the best goalkeepers, while the latest edition turns attention to the signings from Europe who have revolutionised the English game.
Chelsea have benefited hugely from continental imports over the years and were famously the first in the Premier League to field a team consisting entirely of foreign players on Boxing Day in 1999. Three of our shortlisted dozen started for the Blues in that game at the Dell, including Tore Andre Flo, scorer of both goals in a 2-1 victory.
The process of whittling down over 100 Europeans to have featured in the Premier League for the club has not been easy so we’ve used some stipulations to help out. The list only includes those who are no longer current Chelsea players and, in keeping with the import theme, only includes those who arrived at Stamford Bridge directly from abroad having not played in England beforehand.
That rules out the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Dan Petrescu and Cesc Fabregas, who would all have been in strong contention otherwise.
Our subjective shortlist is therefore based on the players who have been most influential to Chelsea in the Premier League era. Such influence cannot merely be measured by appearances, goals, trophies and length of service, but also by the impact made in terms of revolutionising the club on and off the field.
Gianluca Vialli and Arjen Robben (and others) can both count themselves unfortunate to narrowly miss out – the latter as a back-to-back title winner and the former as a man who won silverware as a player and a manager in SW6 – though the strength of our final 12 will hopefully indicate just how tough the competition was.
Your job is to rank the final shortlist using our up-voting system. You can make up to six selections based on your opinion on our most influential foreign imports. The poll will then rank the players in order based on the collective results.