Over the previous four decades, Africa has produced a plethora of outstanding football players. Many of those stars used to play on the offensive side of the field. However, defenders and goalkeepers from Africa are increasingly earning a name for themselves in various competitions throughout the world. Only one African player has won the prestigious Ballon d'Or trophy, which makes us wonder why. Samuel Eto'o, George Weah, Didier Drogba, Roger Milla, and Yaya Toure are just a few iconic African players who have graced the football pitch. Nonetheless, African footballers are among Europe's most well-known players at the time. On that point, these are the top nine most valuable African players in the world right now.
9. Victor Osimhen €50 million.
Victor Osimhen, the only unproven player on this list, is widely regarded as one of Africa's most potential talents. He has already made an impression for Napoli, the club he joined last season, scoring two goals in all competitions. He has been a member of the Nigerian national team since 2017, making ten appearances and scoring five goals. All of his national team goals have come in the last two years. He has the potential to join the likes of Rashidi Yekini, Nwankwo Kanu, and Jay-Jay Okocha as prolific goal scorers from Nigeria, which is why he is currently valued at €50 million.
8. Wilfred Ndidi €45 million.
Wilfred Ndidi, one of the Premier League's most underappreciated players, was a vital piece in Leicester City's Europa League qualification last season. The Nigerian is currently one of Europe's finest defensive midfielders, averaging 3.5 tackles per game, 2.2 interceptions per 90 minutes, and more than two aerials won every game. Last season, the Foxes have scored around 50% of their points in games where he has been absent, compared to 75% when he has been present. His €20 million transfer cost to Genk in 2017 now appears to be a steal. He's worth €45 million right now, and that figure is only going to rise.
7. Thomas Partey €50 million.
Thomas Partey, the lone Ghanaian footballer in the top 9 most valuable African players, is another player who has moved to a new club this season. The 27-year-old was recruited by Arsenal at the start of last season, and his €50 million release clause at Atletico Madrid was triggered. Lucas Torreira made a season-long loan move in the opposite direction. Injuries have prevented him from demonstrating his real talent in the Premier League during his first season. As a result, his transfer value has been stable since October, and he is currently valued at €50 million.k1
6. Hakim Ziyech €45 million
Morocco is currently fielding a highly good group, particularly in the attacking department. Hakim Ziyech, a dynamic midfielder is one of the team's brightest stars.With the likes of Matthijs De Ligt, Donny Van de Beek, and Frenkie De Jong, the talented forward created a reputation for himself with the exciting Ajax group. In the 2018-19 Champions League season, that young team defeated Real Madrid and Juventus to reach the semi-finals. His continuous efforts won him a transfer to Chelsea in February 2020, where he joined earlier last season. His transfer worth has risen from €40 million to €45 million in just six months since joining Chelsea.
5. Wilfred Zaha €50 million.
Wilfred Zaha's inclusion on this list may surprise some Premier League fans. The Crystal Palace midfielder represented England in the U-19 and U-21 levels, and even made a few friendlies for the senior squad, but in 2017 he transferred his allegiance to Ivory Coast, his natal country. The former Manchester United forward is one of the best in the English Premier League, consistently ranking towards the top of lists of players with the most dribbles each season. He is one of only ten Premier League players to receive a five-star FIFA 21 skills rating. He is physically at his prime at the age of 28, and it is time for him to go on to a bigger squad to realize his true potential. Potential suitors will be hesitant of investing in the player, who is presently valued at €50 million, due to a history of injuries.
4. Sadio Mane $42 million
The transfer of the reigning African Player of the Year from Southampton cost Liverpool $42 million. Since joining Liverpool, the Senegalese has established himself as one of the best wingers in the world, forming a lethal strike combo with colleague Mohamed Salah.
3. Riyad Mahrez $72 million
Following Leicester City's Premier League title-winning season in 2016, it appeared like Mahrez might leave the King Power Stadium. Leicester were unwilling to sell their star player for less than the asking amount, with rivals such as Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City vying for his signing. As a result, the Algerian skipped training in order to force a move to Manchester City in 2018. At the time, his $72 million transfer made him the most expensive African footballer.
2. Nicolas Pepe $89 million
Nicolas Pepe has 35 goals in 74 games for Ligue 1 team Lille, therefore it was time to make a move for him. Arsenal, the Premier League's biggest club, stepped in for the Ivorian, agreeing to pay $89 million for him, making him the most expensive African player at the time.
1. Hakimi Achraf $70.9
In order to generate nearly €100 million in transfer fees, Achraf Hakimi required exactly 370 days. His move from Inter Milan to PSG not only makes him the most expensive transfer of 2021, but it also makes him the first African footballer to swap teams for a cost of more than €100 million. In terms of international comparison, he is the 37th player to earn more than €100 million.
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