Loyalty can be hard to find in the Premier League, or almost anywhere in the modern game.
Money has been king, but it truly dominates every aspect of the sport now, meaning it’s become increasingly rare for a footballer to remain at one club for their entire career or even an extended period of time.
Of course, the career of a professional athlete is short and many will chase the bag before they have to retire and figure out what they do for the rest of their lives.
There are, though, a few exceptional cases of players who stay at a club for so long that they become part of the institution’s fabric. All of the names on this list fit that category.
The longest-serving players in the Premier League right now:
5. Hugo Lloris, Spurs – 11 years, 1 month
French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris joined Tottenham Hotspur so long ago that Andre Villas-Boas was still the manager. Now 36, he has made 447 appearances for the Lilywhites, worn the captain’s armband and played in a Champions League final.
The World Cup winner sought to leave the north London outfit during the summer transfer window, but turned down the opportunity to join boyhood club OGC Nice in the final hour of deadline day because he didn’t want to make a rash decision.
4. Joel Ward, Crystal Palace – 11 years, 4 months
Full-back Joel Ward is Portsmouth born and bred, and started his career at Pompey, but he is Crystal Palace through and through. The 33-year-old joined the Eagles in 2012 and immediately helped them win promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs. He’s since made 336 appearances for the south London outfit, including the 2016 FA Cup final.
3. Paul Dummett, Newcastle Utd – 12 years, 30 month
Bet you didn’t even realise Paul Dummett was still at Newcastle, did you? The 32-year-old has been a Magpie his entire life and has only spent two seasons on loan elsewhere, with Gateshead and St. Mirren. In reality, he’s been at St James’ Park for 23 years, during which time he has seen all the highs and very many lows at the club.
2. Lewis Dunk, Brighton – 14 years, 3 months
This is a potentially contentious one, because while Lewis Dunk is considered Mr. Brighton, it’s seldom mentioned that the England international handed in a transfer request in 2015, and even refused to play in a League Cup tie to push through a £15m move to Fulham. The Seagulls, who had just finished 20th in the Championship, refused to sell and the rest is history.
1. Seamus Coleman, Everton – 14 years, 8 months
Everton signed Seamus Coleman for a pittance from Sligo Rovers back in 2009. Although add-ons in the deal mean that the Irishman ultimately cost more than the £60,000 fee Toffees supporters love to sing about, he may be the best value signing in Premier League history.
At his peak the 35-year-old was good enough to play for one of the top sides in England, and he could have gone to Manchester United earlier in his career. Louis van Gaal wanted to sign the right-back for £15m in 2015. However, it’s believed that the Red Devils wanted Coleman to kick up a fuss at Goodison Park and push for an exit – something the player could not do in good conscience.
Little wonder he is so beloved by the Everton faithful.