1. Shinji Kagawa – Borussia Dortmund

Shinji Kagawa is perhaps one of the most famous of all the Asian players in Europe after numerous successes at Manchester United between 2012 and 2014. In 2013 Kagawa scored his first hat-trick for United, making him the first Asian player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League. The same year he became the first Japanese player to win a Premier League title.

Kagawa moved to the Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund in 2014 for an undisclosed fee. He recently extended his contract until 2020, making his the highest wages demanded by an Asian player; he is rumoured to earn £130,000 (US$168,850) a week.

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I’m excited to be back on track!! ⚽️#bvb#sk23#さぁこれからや

A post shared by Shinji Kagawa 香川真司 (@sk23.10) on Apr 20, 2018 at 1:21am PDT

2. Son Heung-min – Tottenham Hotspur

Captain of South Korea Son Heung-min is one of the most high-profile Asian players in Europe – especially after Tottenham Hotspur broke records to sign him in 2015.

The 26-year-old signed with the Premier League team after moving from Bayer Leverkusen for US$28.6 million on a five-year contract. At the time of signing, this made him the most expensive Asian player in football history, in terms of transfer fees earning about US$104,000 a week.

He briefly dated pop singer Bang Min-ah from the K-pop group Girl’s Day when his football career started to take off in Germany between 2010 and 2015. He has since been romantically linked with actress Yoo So-young.

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Good Day what a Win ⚽️⚽️#COYS #X17 #heretocreate

A post shared by Son HeungMin(손흥민) (@hm_son7) on Mar 11, 2018 at 12:15pm PDT

3. Shinji Okazaki – Leicester City

The second Japanese player to make our list, Okazaki moved to Premier League side Leicester City in 2015 for a fee believed to be in the region of US$9.1 million, from German side FSV Mainz 05.

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The same season Leicester City, which had been promoted to the Premier League after a 10-year absence in 2014, shocked rivals and delighted fans as they went on to win the trophy, making Okazaki the second Asian player ever to win a Premier League. His performances in the 2015-16 season earned him an Asian International Player of the Year award. Okazaki is also a top national goal scorer for Japan and third all-time in team history with 50 international goals.

The 32-year-old reportedly earns US$97,500 a week at the British club and his current release clause is reported to be around US$19.75 million. He bought himself a US$136,500 BMW after Leicester won its Premier League title in 2016 and has an endorsement deal with shoe brand Mizono.

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#OnThisDay last year, Shinji Okazaki helped #lcfc to a 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Liverpool!

A post shared by Leicester City (@lcfc) on Sep 19, 2018 at 6:42am PDT

4. Maya Yoshida – Southampton

Maya Yoshida is the highest-paid defensive player on our list. The centre back joined Southampton in 2012, the year the Saints made their return to top flight football, on a three-year contract for a fee thought to be in the region of US3.9 million.

A year later Yoshida extended his contract to 2018 and is rumoured to earn US$91,000 a week at the Hampshire club.

The 30-year-old from Nagasaki, Japan, played every single minute during the group stages of the 2018 Fifa world cup until Japan were eventually knocked out by Belgium after losing 3-2 in the last 16.

5. Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray)

The second Japanese defender on our list of Asian football stars, Nagatomo joined Italian giants Inter Milan in 2011 after a loan spell the previous year, becoming the first East Asian player to sign with the famous club.

He made over 200 appearances for Inter Milan before joining Galatasaray on a loan spell in January 2018. He made the move permanent later that year during the summer transfer window. The 31-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year deal.

Nagatomo is married to Japanese actress Airi Taira. He proposed to Taira at the San Siro Stadium in Milan in February 2016.

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6. Massimo Luongo – Queens Park Rangers (QPR)

Massimo Luongo is one to keep your eye on. Nicknamed “the magic man” at the London club, he is thought to be one of their most valuable assets. Originally from Australia, Massimo got his first taste of top flight British football at Tottenham Hotspur after impressing the London club on trial in 2011. The then 19-year-old only played a handful of first team matches for Spurs before he was sent on loan and later sold to Swindon Town in 2013.

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He signed a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee reported to be US$4.55 million with championship team QPR in 2015 after turning down an offer from then Premier League team Aston Villa. He reportedly earns US$84,500 a week at QPR.

Last year he extended his contract, keeping the midfielder at Loftus Road until mid-2020. The 24-year-old also revealed turning down large sums of money from clubs in China. opting instead to prove himself in England. With an estimated market value of US$7.8 million, and his former coach Ian Holloway saying he is good enough to play for likes of Manchester City or Barcelona, this is one career trajectory to watch.

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