The football season has been hugely disrupted due to the coronavirus. It is now be returning but things on the pitch are still far from normal. The same cannot be said for the boardroom though and there are plenty of African players who look set to dominate headlines around the world when the transfer window eventually opens. Here we look at five of the big names that could be on the move.
Number 5 – Kelechi Iheanacho
Nigerian centre forward Iheanacho was very highly rated when he made his first team breakthrough at Man City. He notched his first senior goals at the age of just 18 and went on to add a league cup to his trophy cabinet.
When he jumped ship to Leicester it seemed a real coup for the Foxes but Iheanacho, who is still only 23, has struggled to impose himself on the team with Jamie Vardy the preferred starter.
His career has run stale and it now looks like the youngster will be shown the door. He might even have lost his place in Nigeria national team, as brilliant younger stars like Victor Osimhen and veteran Ighalo (we are getting there!) are on their peak form.
Where Iheanacho goes we don’t know, but his 2019/20 record of a goal involvement every 78 minutes (eight goals and four assists) will mean finding a new club won’t be a problem.
Number 4 – Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
There are two sentences that summarise Aubameyang’s situation. Aubameyang is world class. Arsenal are not. For that reason, it feels inevitable that the Gabon international will move on. The Gunners shelled out £57m to bring Aubameyang to the Emirates and whilst the sharpshooter has delivered on his part of the bargain with 61 goals and 13 assists in 98 games, the club have failed him with a lack of direction and lacklustre performances.
If Barcelona come calling as has been rumoured, then surely Aubameyang will wave goodbye to his time in London.
Number 3 – Thomas Partey
From a potential Arsenal outgoing to an incoming signing that seems like it ticks all the right boxes for Mikel Arteta’s side. Ghanaian Partey has played a pivotal role at Atletico Madrid since breaking through.
His hard working, combative and never quit attitude will be an instant improvement to Arsenal’s midfield. A figure of £42m – his reported release fee – is a modest amount to pay for a man who could transform your side.
Number 2 – Kalidou Koulibaly
What big club hasn’t been linked with Senegal skipper Koulibaly? The Napoli centre half is unquestionably one of the best centre backs in world football right now. He’s as hard as nails, with a physique that could be impressive even in the NFL betting scene and he dominates in the air and is a calming influence on the ball.
A suggested fee of £90m is hardly insignificant but if you look at the impact Virgil Van Dijk has had on Liverpool since his move from Southampton then you quickly realise it could be worth every penny. Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG and English trio Liverpool, Man City and Man United have all been linked.
Number 1 – Odion Ighalo
Yep, that’s right. Leading the queue is our very own Super Eagle Odion Ighalo. Ighalo made tsunami sized waves in January as Manchester United made a surprise loan move for the former Watford striker. His career at the elite level had looked over with the attacker plying his trade in China.
His loan deal in England has now been extended until the end of the prolonged Premier League season. With United rebuilding an experienced head – particularly one who has proven they can contribute on the field – he will be most welcome at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer aims to stop Liverpool turning the tide on what has been one of English football’s most lopsided rivalries over the past 25 years. Surely Super Eagles fans are backing up Ighalo, and maybe we can see in the near future Ighalo and Osimhen tearing apart in the next World Cup (and Iheanacho, if he gets his career back on track!).
There you have it, five African players who we expect to be on the move in the summer transfer window. Who else are you tipping to get a big move this summer?