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Five Africans who might move

Posted: 5 August 2014 Time: 13:08

Europe’s leagues will largely recommence in a matter of weeks, but there is still, surely, a great deal of business to be done by the continent’s major clubs before the closure of the transfer window.

There is a long list of African players linked with moves over the coming weeks and, with major clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United and Juventus looking far from finished in the market, expect one of two of these names to move clubs in the coming weeks.

This feature profiles five African players, all of whom featured at the World Cup, and all of whom are sought after by a selection of top European club sides.

Comment below and let us know which of these players you’re expecting to seal a deal before the window closes, and which other players you’d like to see move clubs before the European leagues kick-off.

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Andre Ayew

Ghana’s off-field controversies have, inevitably, dominated the post-Brazil news emanating from the country. This has led to certain positives being lost in the shuffle, not least, the sustained development of Andre Ayew.

The Black Stars playmaker has matured a great deal at Olympique Marseille over the last season; so much as to lead to him being considered in contention for the permanent club captaincy.

He began to relish the responsibility of driving the club’s attack and thrived when given an increased attacking burden. However, with only one year left on his contract, his days at the Stade Velodrome may be numbered.

Since the World Cup, Premier League giants have reportedly been chasing his signature but, as yet, no deal has gone through.

Should the offers come in, would Ayew be better served playing in the Champions League with the Merseysiders or moving to Old Trafford and becoming part of Louis van Gaal’s revolution?

Abdelmoumene Djabou

Few Africans headed to the 2014 World Cup much more unheralded, in Europe at least, than Abdelmoumene Djabou. Playing for Tunisian side Club Africain, this was perhaps inevitable, but even within the context of the Algerian national side, Djabou had often flattered to deceive.

He hasn’t always had the trust of former Algeria manager Vahid Halilhodzic, he didn’t feature in the Desert Foxes opener against Belgium, and had only started four games for the national side since the beginning of 2013.

However, here is a player born to get people excited and to get supporters on their feet. His agility is exceptional and that quality, allied to his impressive ball control, makes Djabou a superb dribbler.

Since the World Cup he has been linked to Turkish giants Trabzonspor (Halilhodzic’s new club), as well as Ligue 1 pair LOSC Lille and Stade Rennais.

Nicolas N’Koulou

Like Andre Ayew, Nicolas N’Koulou’s time at Marseille may well be coming to an end.

Despite his mixed season, here is a centre-back who has long been on the radar of some of Europe’s biggest sides. There aren’t too many defenders who offer steely resiliency as well as elegant poise, but N’Koulou is one (even though there wasn’t too much evidence of these qualities for Cameroon at the World Cup).

Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal have all been linked with the Central African in the past, but it may be that Van Gaal follows up with David Moyes’s reported interest and brings the stopper to United.

Despite his youth (24), he is an experienced player who has already accumulated over 70 appearances each for Marseille and AS Monaco, two of France’s bigger clubs.

Mehdi Benatia

Another centre-back who may well appeal to Van Gaal is Mehdi Benatia.

The Moroccan was one of the stars of AS Roma’s fine Serie A campaign last term and finally received the acclaim that he has been due for years.

While at Udinese, Benatia was already demonstrating the resoluteness, anticipation and excellent tackling that formed the bedrock of Roma’s title push.

All summer he has been linked with Manchester City as the club try and find an upgrade on Martin Demichelis and recruit a defender worthy of partnering Vincent Kompany at the back.

However, the Citizens’ decision to buy Eliaquim Mangala, and Benatia’s affirmation of loyalty to Roma, appear to have put an end to those rumours. That’s not to say that an exceptional deal might not test the resolve of both player and club.

As Van Gaal attempts to replace the gritty consistency of Nemanja Vidic, he could do a lot worse than make a concentrated effort to acquire Benatia.

United tried and failed to sign Noureddine Naybet during his prime with Deportivo la Coruna over a decade ago, might they be a little more successful with his compatriot?

Tottenham Hotspur have also been linked with the player in the last week.

Wilfried Bony

Who can put a price on a proven goalscorer with Premier League experience. Well, we may soon find out.

Despite Swansea’s insistence that their Ivorian striker is not for sale, one senses that a major club or two might put in a mouth-watering offer for the forward before the transfer window draws to a close.

After a slow start to life in South Wales, Bony found his feet in the EPL. 2014 has been a remarkable year for the forward who began to translate his excellent form in Holland to the Premier League. Goals came against Tottenham, both Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Welsh rivals Cardiff City.

How Liverpool would love Bony to recreate his goal-scoring exploits for them this coming season. The Reds’ deal for Loic Remy has fallen apart, is Bony the logical alternative for Brendan Rodgers as he seeks to replace the goals of Luis Suarez? 

By Ed Dove
Twitter: @Eddydove

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