Online polls, Sky TV, pundits in general will often cite Eric Cantona as the best foreign import to play in the premier League. This, of course, is not the case, it was Dennis Bergkamp.
Cantona was at Old trafford for 5 years following time at Leeds united , where he won the 1st Division this meant he won 5 titles and 2 FA cups to go along with individual honours in the shape of PFA player of the year and FWA player of the year. Of course Cantona was part of an already successful Man Utd team, whom he let down badly by attacking a hare brained supporter at Crystal Palace leading to a lengthy ban. His pseudo philosophical pronouncements were all smoke and mirrors but he was a top notch footballer; a hell of a player. Internationally he did nothing during this period neither did he make any dent in European competition save for allowing himself to be wound up at Galatasary.
V Man Utd
Dennnis Bergkamp arrived at an Arsenal in transition and played alongside the last remnants of the Graham era's lesser lights, he then became an integral part of the new Wenger era and had his swansong as part of the Invincibles. He was at Arsenal for 11 years scoring 82 goals and numerous assists ; a good number of which were (to use an oft used superlative) Brilliant. He reached a Champions League Final and EUFA Cup Final with the Gunners. He won 3 titles at Arsenal and 4 FA Cups. While at Arsenal he was EUFA cup top scorer in 1994, PFA and FWA player of the year. He played in EURO 96 & 200, World Cup 94 & 98
WORLD CLASSWhat Bergkamp was that Cantona was not, is a player who, while playing in England, lit up the International stage. He was a catalyst for top class Foreign players to come to England and was technically superior to Cantona. In fairness Cantona had a more flamboyant persona, but for me Dennis is Arsenal's greatest ever player, Cantona is some way down his Clubs pecking order. Dennis had longevity and an International & European status, Cantona was more a Sports personality, Dennis a pure footballer.
That goal V NEWCASTLEAgain I am not undervaluing Cantona's ability, far from it, it's just that when I hear the supposed experts say categorically that Cantona was the greatest Foreign import I believe that they are wrong. That honour goes to the Arsenal number 10.
And off the field a quiet family man who loved to garden. The last of the great inspirational players in the modern game. No hissy fits, drugs, prostitutes, car crashes, drunken exits from bars, et al. Mind you he was Dutch.