Africa continues to offer an increasingly prominent number of players to the Premier League as the pool of talent simply keeps burgeoning in the massive continent.
And Chelsea appear to have done particularly well over the years from scouting players from Africa.
TFF takes a look at some of the best to wear the Chelsea shirt.
Geremi – Cameroon
Remember him? He came from Middlesbrough in 2003 and played well over 100 games for Chelsea at right back. He was a dynamic and indefatigable wide man who ploughed the flanks successfully for four seasons.
George Weah – Liberia
What a player he was in his pomp. Weah could reasonably claim to have been one of the best centre forwards the world ever saw. When Serie A was the preeminent league in club football he was at the pinnacle of the sport and TFF always remembers one bewitching run from his now half when he took on almost an entire team and scored for AC Milan.
He scored five goals in 15 games in a short loan spell for Chelsea in 1990-2000.
Celestine Babayaro – Nigeria
The Nigerian left back played for eight seasons at Chelsea and was a mobile and steady defender in the era of imports from around the world.
John Obi Mikel – Nigeria
Was heralded as one of the best young talents in world football when he signed for Chelsea in 2006 from under the noses of Manchester United.
And although he never quite went on to hit the highest notes in the game Obi Mikel has been a stalwart for Chelsea and Nigeria for ten years. He’s played 374 times for Chelsea and 78 times for Nigeria.
Victor Moses – Nigeria
A player who looked as if he would be quickly shipped out from Chelsea after loan spells at other clubs. But he has found a home at Chelsea under Antonio Conte as a wing back and has the engine and dynamism to continue to be a big hit.
Samuel Eto’o – Cameroon
Like George Weah, Samuel Eto’o came to Chelsea towards the end of his glittering career but still made a huge impact.
He hit a brilliant 12 goals in 35 games for Chelsea in the 2013/14 season and looked as sharp as ever for The Blues before playing the following season at Everton.
Saloman Kalou – Ivory Coast
Another steady Eddie for Chelsea who was part of their success in the longer-term between 2006-2012.
Kalou scored 28 goals in 92 games for The Ivory Coast and had successful spells at Lille and Hertha Berlin after playing 250 games with 60 goals and 40 assists for The Blues in a period where Chelsea won four FA Cups and a Premier League title (2009/10).
Michael Essien – Ghana
Comfortably one of Chelsea’s best African signings and just edged out of TFF’s top spot.
At his best there wasn’t a superior midfielder in the entire Premier League. Essien was built like a rock and was also a cultured passer and reader of the game.
The envy of the Premier League, Essien played 256 games and scored 25 goals for Chelsea over the period of eight highly successful years at the club.
Mohamed Salah – Egypt
A talented player who never quite got his feet under the table at Stamford Bridge.
Bertrand Traore – Burkina Faso
Surely has a future at the club.
Chelsea’s Best African Player Yet
Didier Drogba – Ivory Coast
It would be difficult to construct a better Premier League number nine. Drogba at once looked chiseled out of granite and laced with elasticity. He would win duels with even the most beastly Premier League centre backs and he was an athlete of inordinate endurance.
But Drogba’s physical prowess was not even his best quality. Because he was also, technically, one of the best footballers of his day. Such an elegant footballer for one so big and Drogba also possessed wow factor in bucket loads.
He scored 164 goals for Chelsea over two amazing spells at the club and so many of them were spectacular.
Let’s have a look at some of the very best of them right now.
Chelsea have had some great African footballers but few can argue that Drogba was the best yet.