Soccer stars such as Shinji Kagawa, Son Heung-min, and Yuto Nagatomo have been taking key positions in some of the world’s most powerful clubs – and amassing massive pay packages in the process.
1. Shinji Kagawa is a midfielder for Borussia Dortmund. Shinji Kagawa is perhaps the most well-known Asian player in Europe, thanks to his numerous successes at Manchester United between 2012 and 2014. Kagawa scored his first hat-trick for United in 2013, making him the first Asian player to do so in the Premier League. He became the first Japanese player to win a Premier League title the same year.
2. Son Heung-min – Tottenham Hotspur
South Korean captain Son Heung-min is one of Europe’s most high-profile Asian players, especially after Tottenham Hotspur broke records to sign him in 2015.
3. Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) 3rd Okazaki, the second Japanese player on our list, joined Premier League side Leicester City from German club FSV Mainz 05 in 2015 for a fee believed to be in the region of US$9.1 million.
4. Southampton’s Maya Yoshida On our list, Maya Yoshida is the highest-paid defensive player. The center-back joined Southampton on a three-year contract in 2012, the year the Saints returned to the Premier League, for a fee thought to be in the region of US3.9 million.
5. Yuto Nagatomo– Nagatomo, the second Japanese defender on our list of Asian football heroes, signed for Inter Milan in 2011 after a loan spell the previous year, becoming the club’s first East Asian player. Before joining Galatasaray on loan in January 2018, he made almost 200 appearances for Inter Milan. The following year, during the summer transfer window, he made a move permanent. The 31-year-old agreed to a two-year contract.
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