Vetting the Premier League’s 20 star Muslim players

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As the Premier League kicks off this weekend after the long awaited three months break, players of all races will be raring to go.

England’s top division has a large proportion of Muslims. Here are 20 Muslim players and how they are going to influence the League this year:

20. Mohamed Diame

Currently playing in the center-midfield for West Ham United, Diame first came to the league in August 2009 when Wigan signed the 26-year-old.

The Senegalese international played 103 games for the club and scored seven in his three seasons with the club.
At the end of the 2011/12 season, West Ham United signed him on a three year deal.

Last season he played 33 league games and scored 3, helping the Hammers to finish 10th in the Premier League

19. Ahmed Elmohammedy

In the summer of 2010, Elmohamady joined Steve Bruce’s Sunderland for £2 million ($3 million).

In his first season Elmohamady appeared 36 times for Sunderland playing on the right of the midfield.

However, when Martin O’Neil took over, the Egyptian found chances on the pitch few and far between.

In August 2012 Elmohamady went to Hull Tigers on loan and was reunited with his former manager Bruce.

During last season he helped take Hull back up to the Premier League after they finished second in the Championship, and was voted Hull’s Fan’s Player of the Year.

The 25-year-old recently signed a three year deal with the club and with him and a few other new signings, the Tigers are looking to avoid relegation.

18.Youssouf Mulumbu

On the last day of the January transfer window 2009, Mulumbu joined West Bromwich Albion on loan from the French team Paris Saint Germain.

During the Congolese’s debut season, Mulumbu was injured throughout the majority and didn’t play until mid-April.

However, at the end of his first season, he was signed to West Brom for £175,000 ($257,000) and he was named Clubs Player and Fans Player of the year after two years.

On March 30th 2013, Mulumbu was sent off during the dying moments of West Brom’s 3-1 loss to West Ham United.

Mulumbu had picked up the ball and kicked it at opposing player Gary O’Neil who had just fouled him.

Despite this, Mulumbu had a good season, taking West Brom to 8th place in the Premier League.

17. Maroune Chamkh

Recently signed to Crystal Palace to try and score goals, Maroune Chamakh first came to the Premier League in May 2010 to play for Arsenal.

The striker said to the Independent, “I have no problem fasting during Ramadan, it becomes normal.”

“The day before a game and on match days I do not fast, but I’ll make up for lost days later.”

He currently holds the record for scoring Arsenal’s fastest ever league goal, just 37 seconds, against the Wolves.

After an impressive first few months, Chamakh had scored ten goals; however by the end of the season, he only managed to score 11 goals in 44 appearances.

16. Leon Osman

Leon Osman, 32, has played his entire career for Everton, he has appeared in 345 games, accumulated between 11 separate Premier League seasons.

The midfielder also has two England International caps under his belt.

With Roberto Martinez now at the helm of Goodison Park, the ageing Osman will have to prove his worth once again this season.

15. Check Tiote

Tioté joined Newcastle in August 2010, for an initial price of £3.5 million ($5.25 million).

On his debut for the club versus Everton, he completed all 42 of his attempted passes, made two interceptions, successfully made all 5 of his tackles and had one shot on target.

14. Abou Diaby

Diaby is a French midfielder who currently plays for Arsenal, he joined in the January transfer window of the 2005/06 season after turning down London rivals Chelsea.

Throughout his time at Arsenal, seven and a half seasons, the 27-year-old has been riddled with injury, but he has racked up 178 appearances for the London club and managed to score 19 goals.

13. Arouna Kone

On the 14th August, 2012, Koné signed a three year deal with Roberto Martinez’s Wigan for €3.5 million ($4.7 million).

This year he will appear in the Premier League, as Martinez took the player with him to his new team of Everton.

Martinez usually only plays with one striker, so Koné will battle it out with Nikica Jelavić for a lone position.

12. Younes Kaboul

The French international signed for Tottenham Hotspur (nicknamed the Spurs) in July 2007 for an alleged fee of about £8 million ($12 million).

However, a year later he signed a four year deal at Portsmouth as the club sold him for £6 million ($9 million).

In two seasons with Portsmouth he played 50 games and scored 5 goals.

The Spurs quickly rebought him for around £9.5 million ($14.25 million), he has since gone on to appear 74 times for the club and win the League Cup in 2008.

Last year, after some injuries, he only managed to appear once for the London club.

11. Mousa Dembele

Another Spurs player, he signed to Fulham on a three year deal for around £5 million ($7.5 million).

A bargain when after two seasons, 75 games and seven goals, they sold him to his current club, Spurs, for £15 million ($22.5 million).

This year, his spot on the field looks in jeopardy with new Brazilian midfielder Paulinho joining the London-based club.

10. Kolo Toure

One of the longer serving Premier League Muslims, the first of the two Touré brothers joined in February 2002 for a fee of £150,000 ($250,000).

The center back was quoted commenting on fasting: “It doesn’t affect me physically, it makes me stronger. You can do it when you believe so strongly in something.

“A normal human can be without water longer then one day.”

During his time at Arsenal, he played 325 games, scored 14 goals, accumulated 12 assists and even captained the side for a period of time.

At the end of the 2007/08 season, Mark Hugh’s Manchester City bought him for £14 million ($21 million), and he was automatically made Captain.

On March 3, 2011, the Ivorian center back failed a drugs test and was banned for 6 months.

This summer he moved to Liverpool hoping to become a regular on the field.

During his time in the Premier League, he has become the most concurrently decorated Muslim player, with two Premiership titles, three FA Cups and one Community Shield.

9. Papiss Cisse

The Senegalese followed his fellow Muslim international striker, Demba Ba, to Newcastle in January 2012.

Newcastle signed the striker for around £9 million ($13.5 million), a cost that proved worthy as during his first 14 games he scored 13 goals, his last being a curled volley hit with backspin which ended up being voted goal of the season by the BBC.

This summer, controversy revolved around the Muslim striker and his Muslim team mate, Cheick Tioté, who were looking to refuse to wear the club shirts due to the new sponsorship from Wonga.com, a loans company.

The two players were angered with Newcastle over the deal with the payday loan company Wonga, which the striker said conflicted with his Muslim beliefs.

However Cissé did wear the shirt in the end in a pre-season friendly against St Mirren, revealing he consulted Islamic teachers before deciding to pull on the team's new shirt.

Cissé this year will be hoping to get back to his scoring ways, on par with his first season with the club.

8. Adel Taarabt

The Moroccan attacking midfielder first came to the Premier League in 2007 when he joined Tottenham, however he played only nine games, so he was loaned to Queens Park Rangers (QPR).

The Championship club re-loaned him after the first season and Taarabt made a name for himself.

He played 41 games and scored 7 goals throughout the campaign.

The 24-year-old was dubbed with scoring the Championships finest ever goal, as against Preston North End, he took a kick from his keeper on his chest inside his half. Proceeding onwards, he dribbled 20 yards past three players and scored a 25 yard curled shot.

Taarabt then signed for QPR for a fee of around £1 million ($1.5 million).

He was given Championship player of the year as he appeared in 44 games and scored 19 goals.

However, he lost form in the Premier League as he played 28 and only managed to score 2 goals for the London Club.

Last year, however, under Harry Redknapp, he managed to score what was received as a wonder goal against Fulham; a mazy dribble that was rounded off with a shot from the outside of the boot.

QPR rounded of the year with relegation, so Taarabt left for football team Fulham on loan.

The Moroccan Muslim was quoted saying, “being a Muslim had a big impact on my professional life.”

“As Muslims, we don’t drink alcohol, we don’t smoke, so essentially we become healthier more professional footballers because of our lifestyle.

“Before every game I perform Salah, without it I don’t feel confident. I make sure I pray after every match too to give thanks and be grateful for the strength and stamina God granted me with.”

7. Demba Ba

Ba moved to West Ham United from Hoffenhaim in January 2011, where he finished top goal scorer for the club with seven goals in 12 games.

However, at the end of the season, the club was relegated and in June 2011, Newcastle signed him on a three year deal.

During his time at Newcastle, the Senegalese striker scored 29 times in 58 games untill Chelsea bought him for around £7 million ($10.5 million) in January 2013.

With the London club however, he only managed to score 2 in 14 games.

Ba celebrates by getting on his hands and knees and doing Sujud.

6. Edinburgh Dzeko

The Bosnian Diamond, as he is known in his home country, came to Manchester City from the German League in January 2011 for £27 million ($40.5 million).

He holds the accolade of being the first City player to score the ‘perfect hat-trick,’ four goals in one game, against the Spurs.

Džeko has won the Premier League, FA Cup and Community shield, so this year he’ll be looking to beat Chelsea and Manchester United to the top spot of the League come May.

5. Bacary Sagna

The 30-year-old right back first joined the Premier League in July 2007, when he moved from Auxerre for what is believed to be around €9 million ($12 million).

Overall the Frenchman has played a total of 236 games for Arsenal whilst scoring 4 goals.

4. Samir Nasri

The Frenchman of Algerian decent, who currently plays for Manchester City, joined Arsenal in 2008 on a four year contract for around £14 million ($21 million).

During his three years at Arsenal, he played 127 times and scored 27 goals, won PFA’s Fan's Player of the Month on three occasions and in 2010 was named French player of the year.

City in 2011 purchased the midfielder's services with a bid of around £25 million (37.5 million).

Nasri has played 83 games and scored 11 goals with City and won the Premier League and Community Shield.

3. Hatem Ben Afra

The last French Muslim in this list, Ben Arfa joined Newcastle at the beginning of the 2010 season initially on loan, come January however, the attacking midfielder was signed.

2. Maroune Fellaini

In September 2008, Fellaini turned down the chance to play for Manchester United and opted instead for Everton for a reported £15 million ($22.5 million).

In December 2012, Fellaini received a three match ban after head butting player Ryan Shawcross in a Premier League fixture against Stoke.

1. Yaya Toure

Yaya Touré, the Ivorian Center midfielder, who joined Manchester City for £24 million ($36 million) from Barcelona, once turned down the Man of the Match bottle of champagne after a game against Newcastle to keep up with religious beliefs.

Yaya has played 134 games for City and scored 28 goals.

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