November 30, 2021

‘Drogba was something special’ – Salah certainly not Africa’s Premier League greatest, says Yakubu

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Despite eclipsing the Chelsea legend’s mark, the ex-Nigeria striker does not see the Egyptian as the greatest African to grace the English top-flight

Mohamed Salah has not yet eclipsed Chelsea legend Didier Drogba when it comes to naming the greatest African in Premier League history, according to Nigerian football icon Yakubu Ayegbeni.

The Egypt international’s hat-trick in Liverpool’s 5-0 decimation of Manchester United saw him overtake the Ivorian to become the highest-scoring African player in the Premier League with 107 goals.

His treble against the Red Devils at Old Trafford saw him match Fred Howe’s record that has stood for 85 years.

Regardless, the former Everton and Middlesbrough goal machine does not see the rationale for considering the 29-year-old as the best African to have graced the English top-flight – although the ‘Yak’ marvelled at the ex-AS Roma star’s exploits in Jurgen Klopp’s squad so far.

“You cannot say Salah is the greatest African to play in the Premier League. Drogba was something special because he was scoring for fun,” Ayegbeni told Goal.

“However, you have to give Salah the credit for breaking the big legend’s record, which makes him one of the greatest Africans in the English top-flight, but for now, he is certainly not the greatest.”

Having impressed at Swiss top-flight side FC Basel, the two-time African Player of the Year joined Chelsea on January 23, 2014, for a fee reported to be in the region of £11 million.

Notwithstanding, he failed to break into the Blues’ first-team – leading to loan spells in Italy before his return to England in 2017.

Ayegbeni explained why the Reds star struggled in London and how that experience has moulded him into a goalscoring machine.

“When he came to Chelsea, he was quite young and was unable was shine because the Blues had several top stars at that time,” he continued.

“That was why he left for Fiorentina before moving to AS Roma. He did well in Italy, and he was signed by Liverpool.

“I think what is working for him now is that he understands the Premier League better than before. Also, his experiences outside England have been valuable for him.

“All the same, we have to applaud the Egyptian for his fine form because it is not easy to play the way he is doing that right now – which is incredible.”

With nine goals in his last seven league matches, the Ballon d’Or nominee would be hoping to continue his inspiring form in front of goal when the Anfield giants square up against Brighton and Hove Albion on October 30.