Over the years, Everton has always been viewed as the smaller club in Merseyside. While they haven’t had the same success as their neighbors, they have managed to sign some of the best players the Premier league has ever seen, especially from Africa.
Considering some of the best footballing talents come from Africa, it is no surprise that Everton managed to sign a few of the greats.
Even though Everton has faced turmoil recently, such as replacing Frank Lampard and being poor in the league this season, at one point in history, they had one of the best African defenders in the world.
Joseph Yobo was a brick wall at the back, and not only did he have the strength needed to stop attackers, but he wasn’t too shabby in front of goal either. He spent ten years at Everton and gave them the ten best years of his career.
Aniel Amokachi was a striker who played for Everton for two seasons. While he didn’t spend a lot of time a the club, he gave them some of the best performances of his career. The big Nigerian striker scored ten times for the club and created many more goals.
While many believe he was past his prime by the time he got to Everton, as he had scored over 80 goals in just as many appearances for his previous club, he is still widely regarded as one of the best Nigerians to play in the Premier League.
You really can’t talk about African giants without mentioning Yakubu. The striker from Benin City, Nigeria, played 82 games for the Toffees and scored 25 goals in the process. While he was never “prolific,” he made goal-scoring look easy, and he was incredibly consistent.
He played for another eight years after his time at Everton, most notably playing for Blackburn and Leicester, where he scored almost 30 goals in 50 appearances.
Carrying on the trend of signing Nigerian superstars, Everton signed Victor Anichebe in 2006, after he had been in their youth system since 2003. He played over 130 games for the club, scoring a little under 20 goals.
Once again, while he wasn’t prolific, he was strong on the ball, could find a telling pass and was able to read his opponents and make runs whenever he wanted to.
Steven Pienaar is not only regarded as one of the best African players to play for Everton, but he is also arguably one of the best African players in Premier League history. The South African midfielder joined Everton on loan in 2007 and signed for them a little while later; he then went to Spurs for a season but ended up back at Everton between 2012 and 2016.
He was famed for his ability with the ball at his feet, with many comparing him to the great Maradona at times. While many may have forgotten his name, there were few better than him when he was in form.
Ibrahima Bakayoko was one of those players who many thought was great, but injury hampered his success. He was only at Everton for one season, and while he only played a little over 20 games, you could see his massive potential.
Bakayoko is regarded by many as a player who would have been great in the Premier League but simply entered it at the wrong time; if he had joined Everton a season sooner or later, who knows what would have happened.
While he wasn’t at his best when he joined Everton, it would be a lie to say Samuel Eto’o didn’t have an impact on the team. The Cameroonian is easily one of the best players ever, which is backed up by his remarkable records at both Barcelona and Inter Milan.
At Everton, he didn’t play many games, but the experience and skill he brought to the squad had an impact beyond just scoring goals.
While Abdoulaye Doucoure isn’t in the twilight of his career, he has been playing like a seasoned veteran for a few seasons now. The Malian international rose to fame during his time at Watford, where he played over 120 games and scored 17 goals.
While he hasn’t found the same success quite yet at Everton, we know the talent and ability are there, and it is only a matter of time before it shines through again.
Finally, Idrissa Gueye is another Everton player who has proven his worth before at the club. Even though he left in 2019 to join Paris Saint-Germain, he is back at the club and proving why PSG wanted him to begin with.
He is very strong in the midfield, and while he sometimes may need help, he is more than capable of being the bridge between the defense and midfield that stops the opposition from scoring.