By Niloufar Momeni
For the third year in a row, here at Football Tribe Asia, we will track 100 Asian football players playing in the European continent. From Japan, South Korea and North Korea and China, all the way to Iran, Jordan, and Uzbekistan, Asian players have moved to Europe to advance their football career at football hubs of Europe.
During the Summer transfer, fifteen Asian players were either loaned out or were demoted to second-tier European leagues, which are not tracked in our tracking system.
At the same time, seven Asian players moved to top European leagues during the Summer transfer period. Footballers also moved to European leagues such as Poland, Greece, and Austria, but these are not considered the elite European leagues.
At Football Tribe Asia, we only focused on performances of 47 Asian players who currently play in top European leagues of England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, Russia and Portugal as per UEFA Coefficient ranking of top leagues.
The criteria are to select players who play in the top division of leagues above.
Tracking all 47 players, in August – the first month of the football season – here are top five Asian players in elite football leagues based on performance and ratings. Players’ ranking includes considerations such as the number of goals scored, assists, their Pass Accuracy Ratio (percent) and their ratings*.
Sorted by the highest Rating.
*Source of Ratings: whoscored.com
5. Mathew Leckie (Australia/Hertha Berlin)
The 26-year old Australian had another strong start to the season. Featuring in five games for Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, Mathew scored two goals and earned the “Man of the Match” recognition for his strong performance against Bayer Leverkusen. With a passing accuracy of 67%, his rating stood at 7.22 out of 10.
4. Ritsu Doan (Japan/FC Groningen)
The youngest Asian player in this list, the 19-year old Japanese midfielder has just made his first league appearance for FC Groningen in the famed Eredivisie. Doan featured in two games, providing one assist that led to the winning goal against Twente.
Along with passing accuracy of 76%, he showcased his talent and remarkable rating in his debut season to be among top five Asian players of the month in Europe. His rating stood at 7.27 out of 10 in September.
3. Kenneth Dougall (Australia/Sparta Rotterdam)
Another Asian player currently plying his trade in the Eredivisie, the defensive midfielder was featured in three games for Sparta Rotterdam, one of which was his stellar performance against Twente, earning him “Man of the Match” recognition. With a passing accuracy of 81%, his rating stood at 7.33 out of 10 in September.
2. Hiroki Sakai (Japan/Marseille)
The 27-year old Japanese defender was one of best performers among other Asian players in September. He was featured in four games in the French domestic league and provided one assist. Along with passing accuracy of 81%, his rating stood at 7.5 out of 10 in September.
1. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Iran/AZ Alkmaar)
The 24-year old Iranian attacking midfielder had enjoyed a strong kick-off to the new season so far. He was also the best performing Asian player in Europe last month. In September, Jahanbakhsh was featured in two games in September and provided one assist in AZ Alkmaar’s victory over Sparta Rotterdam. With a passing accuracy of 70%, his rating stood at 7.52 out of 10.
Full ranking of the top 10 Asian players in European leagues in September
- Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Iran/AZ Alkmaar) 7.52
- Hiroki Sakai (Japan/Marseille) 7.5
- Kenneth Dougall (Australia/Sparta Rotterdam) 7.33
- Ritsu Doan (Japan/FC Groningen) 7.27
- Matthew Leckie (Australia/Hertha Berlin) 7.22
- Yoshinori Muto (Japan/Mainz 05) 7.06
- Maya Yoshida (Japan/Southampton) 7.04
- Yuki Kobayashi (Japan/SC Heerenveen) 7.02
- Milad Mohammadi (Iran/FK Akhmat) 7.0
- Makoto Hasebe (Japan/Eintracht Frankfurt) 6.95