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Five of the best Uruguayan’s to play in the Premier League

Could Edinson Cavani be heading to the Premier League?

The Paris Saint-Germain star has handed in a transfer request at the Ligue 1 side, the Uruguayan international having decided on a new challenge after a frustrating period in the French capital of late.


Cavani’s decision has alerted the attention of a whole host of English football’s elite, with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham all being linked with a player whose 198 goals since joining from Napoli have made the forward the greatest goalscorer in PSG’s history.

Should the 32-year-old make the switch across the channel, he will join a list of his fellow countrymen to have made an impact at Premier League level.

Uruguay have long punched above their weight as a powerhouse of South American football, with several of the nations stars having impressed on these shores.

Here are five of the best Uruguayan’s in Premier League history…

Gus Poyet

Chelsea 1997-2001, Tottenham 2001-2004

The second Uruguayan to play in the Premier League, Poyet would certainly make more of an impression than compatriot Adrian Paz who enjoyed a largely forgettable spell at Ipswich Town in the mid-nineties.

The goalscoring midfielder arrived at Stamford Bridge on a free transfer from Real Zaragoza in 1997 in what would prove to be a shrewd signing from Chelsea, Poyet quickly establishing himself as a favourite despite a cruciate ligament injury impacting the majority of his debut season.

Part of a Chelsea side who would become cup specialists around the turn of the millennium, Poyet would held the club to Cup Winner’s Cup success at the end of that first campaign before scoring the winner against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in 1998.

Poyet would score 32 goals in all competitions over the next two seasons, including both goals in an FA Cup semi-final against Newcastle as Chelsea went on to lift the trophy at Wembley.

After 145 appearances and 49 goals, he would cross the London divide to join Tottenham, making 98 appearances and scoring 23 goals for the club despite an injury-hit three-year spell at White Hart Lane.

Diego Forlan

Manchester United, 2002-2005

It’s fair to say that Forlan’s career in English football did not go entirely to plan, especially given the heights he reached as one of Europe’s deadliest forwards after leaving Manchester United in 2004.

Hopes were high following Sir Alex Ferguson’s capture of the forward from Independiente, but despite his evident work-rate and application Forlan struggled to make the predicted impression at Old Trafford.

Despite his struggles Forlan would emerge as a cult hero, however, a two-goal salvo at Liverpool securing his place in the club’s folklore whilst supporters warmed to his relentless endeavour, though he would score just ten league goals over two seasons.

Having left for La Liga, Forlan would truly begin to show his talents, scoring prolifically during spells at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.

He would win the Pichichi Trophy as Spain’s top scorer and the European Golden Shoe twice each, before being named as the best player at the 2010 World Cup after firing Uruguay to the semi-finals.

English football never saw the best of Forlan, but he is remembered fondly on the Old Trafford terraces.

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Luis Suarez

Liverpool, 2011-2014

Arguably Uruguay’s greatest ever footballing export, Suarez would sign for Liverpool from Ajax as a replacement for outgoing fan’s favourite Fernando Torres and quickly establish himself as the club’s latest hero.

Despite scoring on his debut, Suarez would initially struggle to replicate the prolific form he had showed in the Eredivisie but once the goals began to flow – they would not stop.

23 Premier League goals in 2012/13 was a sign of things to come, before the Uruguayan produced one of the Premier League’s finest individual seasons ever the following year.

Suarez would score 31 goals in just 33 appearances as Liverpool narrowly missed out on the title, his performances seeing him scoop a host of individual accolades including a PFA Player’s Player and FWA Footballer of the Year double and the Premier League’s Golden Boot.

Rarely far from the headlines, a series of controversial incidents dented his reputation somewhat, Suarez eventually joining Barcelona in a £75m deal in 2014.

Since moving to Spain he has continued to star, scoring 191 goals in official competitions to become the club’s fourth-highest goalscorer of all-time, in addition to winning four La Liga titles, four Copa del Rey trophies and the Champions League amongst a wealth of honours.

Gaston Ramirez

Southampton 2012-2016, Hull City 2014-2015 (loan)

Despite being linked with a host of leading clubs following some impressive performances in Serie A with Bologna, Ramirez would sign for Southampton for a fee of £12m in 2012 in what was seen as a coup for the South Coast club, breaking the club’s transfer record in the process.

A technical and creative midfielder capable of operating in a variety of positions, Ramirez would enjoy a solid debut season at St Mary’s, scoring five Premier League goals as the club finished their first season back in the top flight comfortably clear of relegation troubles.

From there, however, his fortunes would decline. A loss of form and injury problems restricted his impact, and after just one goal the following season he was allowed to join divisional rivals Hull City on loan.

Injuries again ensured his impact was minimal as the Tigers were relegated from the top flight, and after returning to Southampton he was deemed surplus to requirements, joining Championship side Middlesbrough on an initial loan deal and enjoying a renaissance before securing a permanent deal.

Now 29, he is currently back in Italy playing for Sampdoria.

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Lucas Torreira

Arsenal, 2018-present

Currently the only Uruguayan plying their trade in the Premier League, the diminutive Torreira has become somewhat of a fan’s favourite at Arsenal due to his combative style and tenacious tackling ability.

Signed from Sampdoria in the summer of 2018, Torreira was bought by former Gunners’ boss Unai Emery to bring a bite in midfield that had been lacking under previous regimes.

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The 23-year-old would make 50 appearances in all competitions during his debut season in north Lodnon, helping the club to the final of the Europa League where they were beaten by Premier League rivals Chelsea in Baku.

Having been utilised in an unfamiliar number 10 role he has since returned to his preferred deeper position under Mikel Arteta, bringing stability to a side often lacking cohesion in recent times.

Links with a return to Italy persist, though he remains an important cog in a transitional phase at the Emirates at present.

Read – Five of the most boring title races in Premier League history

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