5 Colombian players set to light up the Premier League in 23/24

By Tom Ruzyllo August 10, 2023

The seemingly never-ending football calendar sees the return of the English Premier League this weekend, with state-sponsored (alleged) financial dopers Manchester City aiming for an unprecedented fourth straight English league title after securing the Treble last time out.

While last season saw a record seven Colombians registering appearances in the PL, this year that number has dropped slightly, with five securing a place in their respective first-team squads. Centre-back Yerry Mina was released by Everton (who now finds himself in Fiorentina’s defence) and Luis Sinisterra relegated to the Championship with Leeds.

Yerson Mosquera, meanwhile, who was signed by Wolverhampton Wanderers from Atlético Nacional in 2021, has recently had his loan spell with FC Cincinnati extended until the end of the MLS season having secured a regular place in the starting eleven. 

Bogotá Post graphic on Colombians players in the Premier League by Tom Ruzyllo.

This will be the seventh season in succession with at least five Colombian players involved and — while it may not yet qualify as an ‘influx’ of talent — it is still a marked improvement considering that just five Colombians made appearances in the first 20 years of the Premier League.

But who remains to represent the tricolor of Colombia this term — with the hope of leaving a legacy more akin to Faustino Asprilla than James Rodríguez?

1. Steven Alzate – Brighton and Hove Albion

Born in Camden Town to Colombian parents, midfielder Alzate is entering his seventh season on the books of Brighton and returns to the club after a quietly impressive spell on loan in Belgium for Standard Liège last season.

Brighton & Hove Albion are coming off the most successful season in their history thanks to the hugely impressive contributions from a number of young South Americans. The 24-year-old Alzate will be hoping to add his name to this list as he seeks his first competitive minutes under Robert de Zerbi.

With only sporadic appearances in the first team during his tenure, the departure of Argentina’s Alexis Mac Allister, combined with the ongoing transfer saga surrounding Moisés Caicedo offers some new opportunities in the centre of the park. With a Europa League campaign also meaning more matches, Alzate will have a chance to shine.

2. Luis Díaz – Liverpool

The signing of Luis Díaz by Liverpool was the most noteworthy transfer involving a Colombian player since James Rodríguez moved to Real Madrid in 2014. However, after an electric first half-season for the club following a move in January 2022, the winger’s first full campaign was interrupted by a seven-month absence due to a knee injury.

The national team’s talismanic figurehead, there is a heavy weight of expectation on the forward’s shoulders. Up until last year’s injury, his rise had been meteoric but he now faces the uncertainty of recovering from a serious injury. It took less than two weeks in April to get back on the scoresheet, so things look positive.

Lucho has now been handed the vacant and iconic number 7 shirt by Jürgen Klopp — firm evidence of the importance of the role he is expected to play this season. With Liverpool seeking to regain their place in the top four, Díaz will be hoping to emulate former #7 legends Dalglish, Keegan and Suárez and delight the Kop in being a key part of their campaign.

3. Jhon Jader Durán – Aston Villa

The youngest ever international signing in MLS history, teenager Durán joined Aston VIlla in January 2023 from the Chicago Fire and finds himself entering the new season with the task of securing the second striker spot behind Ollie Watkins and incoming Moussa Diaby.

Durán — who failed to score in 12 substitute appearances for Villa last season — has competition from Cameron Archer, who returns to Villa Park having impressed on loan with 12 goals in the Championship for Michael Carrick’s Middlesborough.

Having achieved both his first senior international appearance and goal for Colombia in the last 12 months, Durán will be hoping to emulate compatriot and Villa cult hero Juan Pablo Ángel in making an impact for the Midlands club.

4. Jefferson Lerma – Crystal Palace

After five seasons with Bournemouth since joining for a club record £30 million (COP$150bn) in 2018, defensive midfielder Lerma has made the switch to Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace on a free transfer for 23/24.

Since leaving Atlético Huila, Lerma has spent most of his career in England after a three-year spell in Spain with Levante. The Vallecaucano clearly likes the English league, although it seems far removed from his birthplace of El Cerrito.

The hope for the Eagles will be that 28-year-old Lerma, who has appeared 35 times for Los Cafeteros, will build an effective partnership at the base of midfield with Cheick Doucouré that will allow exciting talents Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise the freedom to press forward.

5. Davinson Sánchez – Tottenham Hotspur

Entering his seventh consecutive season with the club, centre-back Sánchez has an outside chance of becoming the most experienced Colombia player in Premier League history should he be able to consolidate his position in the Spurs backline.

However, following an embarrassing performance that saw him substituted in a 3-2 loss to Bournemouth in April after having come on just 23 minutes before, Sanchez’s relationship with the Spurs fan base remains on rocky ground. At the time of writing, the transfer rumour mill considers a move to Spartak Moscow a possibility.

But there is hope — a notable performance in a pre-season friendly against Barcelona on 8 August has some now thinking that there might be a role to play for him in the perennially-transitioning Spurs under gruff new Aussie manager Ange Postecoglou who favours four at the back.