The Premier League has announced plans to launch an official Hall of Fame, with the first two inductees set to be named at a ceremony later this month.
The news has been greeted with a raft of opinions from football fans on who should be included, with supporters of each representative side pleading cases for their respective club heroes.
Only retired players can be considered for induction, whilst only a player’s Premier League career will be considered when deciding on which players receive the individual honour.
We’ve decided to profile some candidates who could be recognised, here is one player from each ‘big six’ club deserving of a place in the Premier League’s Hall of Fame:
Arsenal – Thierry Henry
Regarded by many as the greatest player in Premier League history, Henry is amongst the favourites to be inducted in the initial intake of Hall of Fame stars.
Henry would arrive in English football following an underwhelming spell at Juventus, before developing into a star of the world game under Arsene Wenger and proving to be the inspiration behind the Gunners’ greatest successes of the Premier League era.
The Frenchman would win two league titles and two FA Cups in north London, becoming Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer in the process, later being voted as the best player in the club’s history and is celebrated with a statue outside the club’s Emirates Stadium home.
His individual hours include a record four Premier League Golden Boots as the division’s top scorer, whilst three times being crowned FWA Footballer of the Year and twice PFA Player’s Player of the Year.
Chelsea – John Terry
One of just four defenders to have been named as the PFA Player of the Year, Terry is – in the eyes of many – the best centre-back of the Premier League era.
Terry would come through the academy ranks prior to Roman Abramovich’s transformation of the west London side, before proving to be an inspirational figure behind the most successful period in the club’s history.
The former England international would lead Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea to a drought-breaking Premier League title in 2005, forming part of a defence that conceded just 15 goals all season, the division’s best ever defensive record.
Another league title would come the following campaign as the Blues made it back-to-back wins, Terry lifting English football’s top flight on five occasions throughout a career that saw him win 15 major honours and make 492 Premier League appearances.
Liverpool – Steven Gerrard
A generational talent who would become symbolic for Liverpool during an era of much mediocrity, Gerrard was the local lad who became the face of the Merseyside club throughout his career.
The complete midfielder, Gerrard would become a ‘Roy of the Rovers’ figure at Anfield, captaining the side from the tender age of just 23 and inspiring the Reds to much of their greatest successes of the modern era.
Few players have ever seemed quite as individually influential to their team’s hopes, Gerrard developing a penchant for making a difference when it mattered most.
His loyalty to his boyhood club ultimately cost him the chance to win further silverware, though there can be no denying his status amongst the Premier League’s all-time greats despite his lack of a winner’s medal.
Name as PFA Players’ Player and Football Writer’s Footballer of the Year during his career, his eight inclusions in the PFA Team of the Year is a divisional record.
Manchester City – Vincent Kompany
Ok, we’re bending the rules slightly with this one as Kompany continues his playing career as player/manager of Anderlecht, but City’s modern successes mean their stand-out candidates are all currently playing or in the twilights of their careers.
The Mancunian side may have played 11 Premier League seasons prior to Sheikh Mansour’s takeover, but with an eighth-placed finish their best return before their significant investment, the club are lacking contenders for a divisional Hall of Fame pre-2008.
We’re putting forward the case of Belgian centre-back Kompany as City’s leading contender upon his eligibility, the club’s former captain having proved one of the most inspirational top-flight leaders of modern times.
The imposing centre-back would help the club to four Premier League titles, memorably scoring a hugely important stunner against Leicester during last season’s title run-in as Man City claimed English football’s first ever domestic treble.
Both David Silva and Sergio Aguero – the highest foreign scorer in league history – are also strong contenders to be included upon their eventual retirements, the duo and Kompany key figures in City’s emergence as a Premier League powerhouse.
Manchester United – Ryan Giggs
The most decorated footballer in the history of the English game, there are perhaps fewer players more deserving of a place in the Premier League’s Hall of Fame than record winner Giggs.
The Manchester United legend would be a constant as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side dominated English football for two decades, winning a barely believable 13 Premier League titles in addition to four FA Cups and two Champions Leagues.
Giggs would make 632 Premier League appearances – second only to Gareth Barry – whilst he is one of just three players alongside Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard to have provided more than 100 goals and assists.
His record of 162 Premier League assists is the most in Premier League history, a huge 51 more than second-placed Cesc Fabregas.
Tottenham – David Ginola
Ginola’s time in English football may have lacked the silverware won by some of the other contenders on this list, yet that can’t diminish the impact the flamboyant Frenchman had on these shores.
Part of Newcastle’s great entertainers team of the mid-nineties before later joining Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton, Ginola possessed a sublime first touch and an ambidextrous ability to ghost past players with effortless ease.
Whilst team success would provide just a solitary League Cup in north London, he earned individual recognition and acclaim during a memorable spell at Spurs, being crowned as PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year in 1999.
Ginola’s recognition by his fellow professionals and the football media was all the more remarkable given Spurs’ 11th-placed finish in the Premier League, the winger being named as the division’s best player ahead of Manchester United’s treble-winning stars.
The ‘show us your medals’ argument will be championed by some, though that should not detract from a fabulous footballer at his very best.