The ongoing summer window has seen a flurry of activity involving African players and we sample the most noteworthy
By: KickerGH Staff
With just weeks to the start of the 2016/17 English Premier League season, clubs are all but rounding off their shopping for the summer. African talent, not surprisingly, have moved around for some heavy prices and, although there remains a full month of activity ahead, the likelihood of more mega deals involving players who originate from this side of the world seems rather improbable. With that assumption in mind, we present biggest and best of those wrapped up thus far.
SADIO MANE (£34m)
Shrewd Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool, isn’t a man known to waste money, so for the bespectacled German to splash £34m on bringing Sadio Mane from Southampton — breaking the African transfer record in the process — surely says a lot about the Senegalese’s quality and the promise he holds. A fine run for the Saints, during which Mane reached the quarter-of-a-century mark with respect to goals in just two seasons (including three which added up to produce the Premier League’s fastest-ever hat-trick), was enough to convince Klopp to cop Mane for the Kop, without doubt to serve as a chief cornerstone for the former Mainz 05 boss’ rebuilding project.
ERIC BAILLY (£30m)
Jose Mourinho may be unabashed in his admiration of defensive talent, but even the 53-year-old’s biggest fans were a bit stunned when, as his first signing as Manchester United gaffer, Mourinho got Ivorian youngster Eric Bailly, parting with £30m for him. And while the anticipated marquee signings have followed — Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are already in, while Paul Pogba could join them soon on reportedly the biggest fee in transfer history — the admittedly promising centre-back’s success, or lack thereof, at Old Trafford would have a huge say regarding Mourinho’s legacy given the faith reposed in him.
AHMED MUSA (£16m)
With every fresh major signing made by England’s biggest clubs this summer, it appears increasingly unlikely that Leicester City will be able to stage a successful defence of last season’s Premier League title steal. That doesn’t mean, though, that the Foxes would give it up without trying, to which end they have outdone themselves in securing the arrival of highly-rated Nigerian forward Ahmed Musa from CSKA Moscow. Alongside Jamie Vardy upfront, and want-away Riyad Mahrez (if he stays) behind the pair, Leicester should have just about enough firepower to last the course of 2016/17 with a good fight.
ISAAC SUCCESS (£12.5m)
Success, 20, has always been destined for great things, ever since excelling alongside Manchester City youngster Kelechi Iheanacho at youth level with Nigeria. He may have taken the slightly harder path to the top, but moving straight from lowly La Liga side Granada to Premier League campaigners Watford — and for a fee the English side have never prior paid for a footballer — is quite a leap. The winger’s precocious talent should see him rub shoulders easily with England’s finest.
VICTOR WANYAMA (£11m)
Another of Southampton’s big losses this summer — manager Ronald Koeman has also departed for rivals Everton, by the way — Wanyama reunited with Mauricio Pochettino, the man whose tenure brought him to St. Mary’s, at Tottenham Hotspur last month. And though the £11m fee may be a little less than what Southampton themselves paid for the Kenya international when purchasing him from Celtic three summers ago, Wanyama wouldn’t mind as it proved just enough to get him on the books of the 2015/16 Premier League season’s third-best club.