Top 10 French Players who have played in the Premier League
10. Emmanuel Petit (Arsenal 97-2000, Chelsea 2001-2004)
Only fitting that a player who scored a goal in a World Cup final should also grace the list among the ten best french players to play in the Premier League. Petit makes the grade above Laurent Blanc, Deschamps, Barthez due to his contribution while in England. Petit formed one of the best midfields ever seen in the Premier League era alongside Patrick Viera and while he is best remembered for his time with Arsenal he did play a part in Chelsea's revelotion before injury brough his career to a close. Petit will alwasy be fondly rememberd in North London and was a stylish player in his day.
9. Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton, Chelsea, West Brom)
With Nicolas Anelka's talent never realised one can only wonder how far up this list he would have finished had he stayed with Arsenal and been allowed to fully develop under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger. Le Sulk as he was nicknamed by the English media moved from club to club callling Arsenal, PSG, Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester and Fenerbahce home before settling in England with Bolton and moving to Chelsea where he played his best club football and snagged the Golden Boot award in 2008/2009. Anelka finished his career with 2 Premier League titles, 3 FA CUps, A Champions League title and a Serie A title.
8. Patrice Evra (Manchester United 2005-2014)
One of the best signings of Sir Alex Ferguson's long and distinguished career. Evra arrived at Old Trafford given the job of replacing the much loved Gabriel Heinze and after a nightmare debut against Manchester City things just got better and better and better for Evra. Evra won five titles, 3 league cups and a Champions League while at Manchester United and is still plying his trade well at Juventus where he helped them to a Serie A title and Champions League final last season. Evra is among the best leftbacks ever to play in the Premier League and definitely deserves inclusion in this list.
7. Robert Pires (Arsenal 2000-2006 Aston Villa 2010-2011)
Pires was a gifted winger who arrived at Arsenal in 2000 and was an inspiration during a period of dominance for the Gunners. Pires brilliance was often overlooked in a team of quality with Viera, Henry, and Bergkamp often garnering more headlines but it was the ease with which Pires played the game that was beautiful to watch. Pires looked like he always had time and often appeared to float down the wing while in full flight. Recently Pires was him voted the 6th best player to ever play for Arsenal in a fan poll. Pires finished his career with a World Cup and European Championship winners medal for France along with 2 Premier League titles and 3 Fa Cups while at Arsenal.
6. David Ginola(Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Everton 1995-2002)
Gifted winger who dazzled all who seem him play. David Ginola was a fall guy for France's epic failure losing out to Bulgaria in qualifying for the 94 World Cup and the media pressure prove Ginola to a move to England. A move that delighted all who watched the wing wizard between 95 and 2002. GInola was a brilliant footballer, his first touch was immaculate and he could create something from nothing. Ginola may be among the best players never to win a league title in England and is definitely worthy of a place in the top 10 French players of all time. Ginola's winning the PFA Player of the year award in 98/99 was an amazing achievement considering the Manchester United went on to win the treble that year. David Ginola was a special talent and the Premier League was lucky to witness his brilliance for seven years.
5. Marcel Desailly (Chelsea 1998 -2004)
Possibly the best french defender of all time Desailly played in the Premier League from 98-2004 with Chelsea and won a FA Cup medal. Desailly was immense for France in both 98 and 2000 during their dominance of the International stage and was equally as dominant for Chelsea during his time in England. Desailly was the first player to win back to back Champions League winners medals with difference clubs when doing so with Marselle in 93 and then Milan in 94.
4. Eric Cantona (ManchesterUnited 92-97, Leeds 92)
A player that possibly defines Manchester United's early succes in the Premier League was Cantona. Oft referred to a languid and even lazy Cantona was an enigma. Sir Alex Ferguson prized him away from Leeds United in November 92 for a snip at £1.2million. Cantona went on to wear the famous number 7 shirt at Old Trafford and was the key man for Manchester United as they won four league titles in his five seasons at the club. The only season that Manchester United did not win the title was the year of his controversial kung fu kick where he was banned for kicking a fan in the stands. Eric Cantona is remembered to this day at Manchester United as one of their greatest ever players.
3. Patrick Viera (Arsenal 1996-2005, Manchester City 2010-2011)
One of the best midfielders to ever play in the Premier League Viera was a key component in Arsene Wenger's "Invincibles" a team that went the entire 2003-2004 season unbeaten and Viera was the captain. Viera won a World Cup, European Championship, 3 Premier League titles , 5 FA Cups and 3 Serie A titles and was one of the most dominant midfielders in the Premier League while playing. The rivalry between Viera and Roy Keane was a fascinating duel and one that made both players better in this writers opinion.
2. Claude Makelele (Chelsea 2003-2008)
Perhaps a controversial decision to have Makelele so high up this list but Claude was a player that defined a role to such a degree that pundits often refer to the defensive midfield position as "the makelele position". When asked about the sale of Makelele to Chelsea in 2003 Zinedine Zidane was quoted as saying why add another coat of gold paint (the signing of David Beckham) when you have lost the entire engine in reference to Makelele. Jose Mourhino was quick to build his team around Makelele on his arrival in Chelsea and he has become something of a cult hero now. Makelele though was a phenomenal player in his day and finished his club career having won league titles in Spain (2) and England (2) adding a Champions league title, FA CUp, 2 League cups. Makelele was the definition of a rock that a team was built on and Real Madrid's loss in 2003 was Chelsea and the Premier League's gain.
1. Thierry Henry (Arsenal 1999-2007)
One of the best strikers the world has ever seen Thierry Henry comes in at number one in the best french players to play in the Premier League. Arsenal fans will have fond memories of Henry as he led them to two Premier League titles and three Fa Cups and also brought them to a Champions League final in 2006 which they lost to Barcelona. Henry was the most prolific scorer in the history of the Premier League with 174 goals in 254 league appearances. Henry also led France to a World Cup win in 98 and a European Championships in 2000. One of the all time greats he is immortalised outside the Emirates with a statue.