This is a list of the biggest African players who will almost certainly move on from their present clubs, and we have ranked them by how big and influential these deals would be. Other massive moves will happen, but right now these are the biggest within the game that seem nailed-on. Here’s our concluding part of the series.
5. Ismaila Sarr
Following Watford’s relegation to the Championship, Ismaila Sarrr could return to the Premier League next season with Crystal Palace planning a bumper swoop for the Senegalese winger.
The Sun claims Crystal Palace would splash £40 million on the 22-year-old to fill the boots of Wilfried Zaha (another African), should the Ivory Coast international leave this summer.
It has also been reported that Liverpool might be on his tail with the English Champions looking for a capable back-up for his compatriot, Sadio Mane. In fact, Sarr scored two goals when Watford became the first team to defeat Liverpool this season, and Jurgen Klopp has seen first hand what he could bring to the team.
Sarr’s quality on and off the ball has already earned rave reviews and though lack of experience and consistency at the highest level could be a problem, the winger does have the potential to be one of the best in the league and could be a smart signing for Palace.
Sarr joined Watford for a club-record £30m fee last year and he proved his class in the English top-flight with a return of five goals and four assists in 26 games.
4. Wilfred Ndidi
Last season Wilfred Ndidi again demonstrated that he is one of the finest ball-tacklers in the division, averaging four successful retrievals per match. It puts him second in the overall standings—behind teammate Ricardo Pereira (4.3)—and it is an evidence of the major impact he had for the Foxes as they spent much of the campaign nestled inside the top four.
Indeed, it was telling that there was a significant drop-off in the East Midlanders’ performances when the Nigerian international missed some games, and it doesn’t augur well for his team considering Ndidi has come under a lot of transfer speculation.
The defensive midfielder covers every blade of grass when shielding his Leicester backline, and with the right attacking players around him, he provides the perfect comfort blanket to any defense.
Juventus, Arsenal and Manchester United are among the interested clubs – and it is the Serie A giants that have stirred a reaction amongst supporters of the player himself. Is he destined for bigger and better things this summer? Well, time will tell.
3. Serge Aurier
It remains to be seen if Serge Aurier will still be a Tottenham player come the start of the 2020/21 season. Heavily linked with a move away from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 12 months ago, the Ivorian instead remained in the capital and featured regularly under both Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho.
The Ivorian has been first-choice this season since the departure of Kieran Trippier last summer, leaving him as the only established option at Right-Back. Aurier, who joined Spurs from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, has two more years remaining on his current deal.
As was the case this time last year, Italian giant’s AC Milan are keen on enticing the 27-year-old to the San Siro.
2. Thomas Partey
One African football star who has churned out consistent performances in Europe’s top leagues this season is Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey. The Ghanaian midfielder has put in solid displays for Los Colchoneros, with lots of admirers swirling around the player because of his performances.
London club Arsenal are the major admirers, and they’ve made Partey their transfer priority this summer but the Gunners are struggling to meet Atletico Madrid’s demands.
The Ghana midfielder has a £45 million release clause in his contract, an option that seems difficult for the Emirates Stadium outfit owing to the financial implications caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
It has also been reported that PSG are keen to use their financial muscle to ruin the player’s potential dream to Arsenal. But Partey is said to be unwilling to move to France after telling close friends he would love to sign for the Premier League giants.
Partey’s contributions to his team was so evident in the game against RB Leipzig, and although he did not play, it was so glaring that Atletico missed his burst of energy and vision, with the Spanish team losing 2-1 in that Champions League quarterfinal clash.
Mikel Arteta is said to be keen on having Partey in his squad because of his versatility to play several roles in the middle of the park. However it eventually plays out, there is increasing the possibility that Partey might be on the move this transfer window.
1. Kalidou Koulibaly
Kalidou Koulibaly has for the past few seasons, been regarded as one of the best defenders in Europe, and has seemed a no-brainer pick-up for one of the top sides in one of the other major leagues. Despite all of that, he has remained in the south of Italy with Napoli. Yet this summer, following possibly his weakest season performance-wise, looks the likeliest for the 29-year-old to secure a move away from Naples.
The Senegalese defender is reportedly ‘heading towards the exit’ door, according to the latest claims from Italy – with some outlets claiming a replacement has already been identified by the Serie A club in the form of Lille central defender Gabriel.
It will be interesting to see at what sort of pace things develop in the coming days, especially after Napoli crashed out of the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona on Saturday night. Many identified the relatively underwhelming performance of Koulibaly, although it is highly unlikely that one such performance will turn-off the heads of the lurking clubs.
The two Manchester clubs have been touted to want to sign Koulibaly, but so are other major top clubs who have got major defensive frailty. One thing is almost certain, at 29, Koulibaly will either make a move this summer or will sign his last big contract with Napoli