Stars on the move: Top 9 African transfers
As the transfer window heats up towards deadline day on August 31, the B&FT Weekend summaries all the big transfer deals involving the continent’s biggest names so far. Unlike the previous transfer windows, this is the final chance for football league clubs to complete loan deals after FIFA's new rules put an end to the loan window last year.
Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)
Mohammed Salah’s move to Liverpool from AS Roma is so far the biggest transfer involving an African player.
The 25-year-old Egyptian winger/forward, bought by Liverpool for fee of £36.9 million on a five-year deal, scored 15 goals and had 11 assists in 31 Italian Serie A games last season.
Blessed with pace and trickery, Salah would partner fellow African Sadio Mane in what could be the most lethal forward winger partnership in the English Premier League this coming season.
Christian Atsu (Newcastle United)
At long last, Ghana’s Christian Atsu been able to secure a move away from Chelsea after several loan spells across Europe. The attacking winger has signed permanently with Newcastle after having spent last season at the club on loan from Chelsea, and helping the club to win promotion to the EPL.
The 25-year-old Ghanaian, made 32 appearances for Newcastle in the Championship last season, scoring five times and assisting three other goals as Rafael Benitez’s side won the Championship title to gain promotion.
The attacking midfielder whose transfer fee is understood to be in the region of £6.5million joined Chelsea in 2013 from FC Porto, but never had an opportunity to kick a ball at Stamford Bridge, and have had to spend the last four years on loan at different clubs.
Franck Kessie (AC Milan)
Kessie, 20 years old, was probably the most talked African player coming into this summer transfer window. On the back of an impressive showing last season, Kessie was linked with transfer to almost every top club in Europe.
The Atalanta and Ivorian central midfielder however, joined Italian rivals AC Milan at the beginning of last month on a two-year loan deal with the obligation to buy.
Kessie who is known for his good technical abilities, will be expected to form a core pillar of AC Mila’s resurgence project, after the team was acquired by new owners from Asia last season.
Bertrand Traore, (Lyon)
Another African player to have left English champions Chelsea is Burkinabe’s young striker Bertrand Traore. The 21-year joined French club Lyon for a fee in region of £9 million after three years at Chelsea.
Traore spent last season at Ajax where he impressed by helping the team to the finals of the Europa League where Ajax lost out to Manchester United as well as a second place finish in the Dutch Eredivise.
His move to France is to give him more playing time and opportunity to establish himself as one of the continent’s best.
Henry Onyekuru (Everton but loaned to Anderlecht)
One of African’s breakout stars from last season was Nigeria’s Onyekuru who emerged as joint top goal scorers in the Belgian league for Eupen.
His performance last season had him linked with a move to Arsenal and a number of clubs across Europe, before finally deciding to join Everton FC, who has since loaned him back to Belgium with Anderlecht.
The 20-year-old striker who scored 22 goals last year cost Everton around £7 million, as the club see him as one for the future.
Prejuce Nakoulma (Nantes)
Nakoulma might not be one of the continent’s biggest names in Europe, but his performance at the last two African Cup of Nations with Burkina Faso has earned him a reputation as one of the paciest and hardworking attackers on the continent.
The 30-year-old, known for his strength is expected to help bolster Nantes’s attack for next year, as they aim to do better in the upcoming 2017/2018 season.
Richmond Boakye (Red Star Belgrade)
Another African star who has made the move is Ghanaian striker Richmond Boakye, who joined Serbian side Red Star Belgrade after having spent last season on loan there.
Boakye’s tally of 16 goals last season was enough to convince the Serbian powerhouse to sign him permanently after his contract at Latina, Italy expired last month.
During his early years, Boakye, now 24 years old was regarded as one of Ghana’s brightest prospects but has over the years failed to live up to the billing. His best performance came last season and those hopes of him rising up to become a key member of the Black Stars have been reborn.
Ryan Mendes (Kayserispor)
Cape Verdean speedster Ryan Mendes is another African player to have sealed a move so far. Mendes, 27 years, joins Turkish side Kayserispor from Lille in France.
Asamoah Gyan (Kayserispor)
Ghana’s captain Asamoah Gyan has also added to the increasing list of African players in the Turkish top-flight.
The 31-year-old striker has signed a two-year deal with Turkish club Kayserispor as at this past Wednesday, after seeing through his contract with Chinese side Shanghai SIPG.
Gyan, who is currently Ghana’s all-time top goal scorer on 51, joined the struggling side who have finished just one place above the relegation zone in the Turkish top flight for the last two seasons. He is therefore expected to help improve the team’s position in the upcoming season.
Apart from the confirmed deals, a lot of transfers involving African players are expected in the coming days. Leicester City’s Ryad Mahrez is been linked with a move from the King Power Stadium, with Arsenal or Barcelona likely to be his destination.
Juventus Kwadwo Asamoah could also move but that transfer is understood to be dependent on Alex Sandro reported move English champions Chelsea, while Senegalese attacker Keita Balde Diao might also leave Lazio before the end of the transfer window.
What is certain about the ongoing transfer window is that there is going to be lots of movement involving some of the continents biggest names with some records set to be broken. Already, Africa’s most expensive player record of £34 million previously held Sadio Mane has been surpassed by his new Liverpool team-mate Mohammed Salah.