Gone are the days where the transfer market is where you can easily sign top-notch footballers for a relatively decent amount of money, but not anymore as the story of the transfer market has changed dramatically, now the market is for the rich and those who are ready to break the bank to secure the service of footballers.
As such, Africa has contributed immensely to European football through the talent and qualities of its players, as Africans in the game have also been placed among the most valuable and expensive African footballers in the world when they switched teams.
In this piece, Cheapgoals take a look at the most expensive African footballers in history.
Nicolas Pepe – Lille/Arsenal (£70m)
Nicolas is a highly-rated and talented winger who was touted by Europe elite clubs, the Ivorian star, showed how brilliant he was with Lille LOSC before moving down to Arsenal, the 24-year-old, who is left-footed but prefers to play on the right side of a front three, scored 22 goals in the French league before sealing a move to the Emirates.
Pepe completed his move to Arsenal for a club-record fee of €80m plus add-ons, signing from Lille on a five-year contract a deal that outstrips the €67.8m of Mahrez to City and that of Aubameyang to Arsenal for £56m to be the most expensive African footballers in history.
Cedric Bakambu – Villareal/ Beijing Guoan £65.4m ($83m)
DR Congo forward secured a move Chinese Super League in July 2018 after making a huge impact with Spanish outfit Villarreal.
The Congolese superstar was born in France where he made a name with Sochaux. He had a one-year spell with Bursaspor before joining Villarreal, where he scored in 32 goals in 75 appearances, catching the eye of the Chinese moneybags. He made his international debut in 2015 and was on the side that, in spite of his goal, lost on penalties to Madagascar in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations round 16.
On 28 February 2018, the final day of the Chinese transfer window, Bakambu’s protracted transfer from Villarreal to Beijing Sinobo Guoan was finally confirmed with the club paying his €40million (£35.4m) release clause, but Beijing did not announce the Congolese forward’s signing amid confusion over whether they had to pay a 100 percent levy on the transfer
Riyad Mahrez – Leicester City/Manchester City (£59m)
Manchester City walked away from his transfer after being put off by Leicester City due to the valuation of the Algerian, however, he finally made a move down to Etihad following their EPL triumphant to become the Cityzen’s first recruit when he joined on a five-year deal.
Mahrez’s deal represents a huge profit in excess of £59m for Leicester, who signed him from Le Havre for £400,000 in 2014, and he went on to achieved success for the Foxes by winning the most surprising Premier League title under Ranieri at the 2015-16 season, he won the PFA Players Player Award scoring over 48 goals in 179 appearances for Leicester.
His move to City makes him the number two most expensive African player in our list with a sum of €67.8million
Pierre Aubameyang – Dortmund/Arsenal (£55m)
It was a week of negotiations and speculation for the Gunners until they finally snapped up their top target for a total of £60m, Arsenal completed the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund for £55 million-plus £5m in further add-ons.
The Gabonese forward has been a subject of transfer speculation between the Gunners and other club sides in Europe until he opted for Arsenal from Dortmund following his 31 league goals.
Aubameyang did great things for Borussia Dortmund during his stint with them, scored many important goals and he is part of the team that brought the DFB-Pokal to Dortmund in 2017.
Naby Keita – RB Leipzig/Liverpool (£52.75m)
Keita cost Liverpool £52.75m after RB Leipzig finished sixth in the Bundesliga following Liverpool’s agreement to bring him to Anfield at the end of this season during the 2017 summer transfer window, but his price was dependent on Leipzig’s final league position.
Should Leipzig had dropped into seventh, or lower in the Bundesliga, they would have seen Keita’s price reduced further to £48m.
But in 2017, Liverpool did get their man in the summer after a deal had been struck by triggering his £75m release clause in addition to paying an undisclosed premium.
Mo Salah – Roma/Liverpool (£35m)
Liverpool in their quest to sign Salah eclipsed the £35m spent on Andy Carroll in January 2011 to secure the service of Mohammed Salah from AS Roma which is a record transfer fee for the club and the Egyptian forward.
The Anfield outfit completed the £36.9m signing of Salah, following his impressive performances with the Giallorossi, scoring 29 goals in 65 appearances.
Since the Egyptians joined the Kops, he has continued to show an impressive performance which is definitely a value for money that Liverpool invested on him.
Sadio Mane – Southampton/Liverpool (£34m)
The former Southampton player became Africa’s most expensive player ever after joining English club Liverpool in 2016 for a reported fee of £34 million.
In 2014, Mane signed a four-year contract with Premier League side Southampton for £11.8 million but was snapped up thereafter following his prolific season with Saints. Mane’s move to Anfield has been a fruitful relationship since he moved down from Southampton.
Eric Bailly – Villarreal/Manchester United (£30m)
The Ivorian was the first player signed from Villarreal by then manager of the team Jose Mourinho when he joined the Old Trafford outfit.
Eric Bailly joined English former champions in 2016 for a reported transfer fee of £30 million, on a four-year contract after a well-tailored performance for Villarreal.
Since the Ivorian moved down to England, injury hasn’t been fair with him till now.
Wilfried Bony – Swansea/Manchester City (£28m)
Bony’s prolific season with Swansea triggered his move to Manchester City for a record fee of 28 million pounds. Although his move to City wasn’t really a rosy spell as the Ivorian only appeared in 12 games for then-reigning Premier League champions following his move from Swansea City in January.
Bony had been prolific for the Welsh club since joining them from Vitesse in 2013, scoring 34 goals in 73 games in all competitions, but his stint with the Etihad based side was a very porous one.
Islam Slimani – Sporting CP/Leicester City (£28m)
In 2016, Leicester City set a club record in bringing in the Algerian from Lisbon, as Leicester City paid a reported transfer fee of £28 million to the Portuguese club Sporting CP.
While at Sporting, Slimani scored 48 goals in 82 games for Sporting, a brilliant performance that led to his move to the former EPL champion.
No doubt Slimani move to Leicester was a testament to how they wanted to build on what they achieved when they won the league under the tutelage of Ranieri, but unfortunately for the Algerian, the switch wasn’t really a good one for him.
Emmanuel Adebayor -Arsenal/Manchester City (£25m)
Adebayor might not possess the kind of status Thierry Henry possessed at Arsenal, but then the former Togolese captain is definitely an integral part of the Arsenal team before he signed for Manchester City.
Following his prolific season in 2008 with the Gunners in which the Togolese star scored 30 goals in all competitions and he earned a spot in the PFA Team of the Year, as he was also linked with a €38million move to AC Milan and Barcelona.
Adebayor couldn’t replicate what he did with the Gunners, and he was sold the following season to one of the megabucks team in the land Manchester City.
READ ALSO: African Dream Team From 2016 Till Date
Yannick Bolasie – Crystal Palace/Everton (£24.5m)
The French-born and Congolese International joined the Toffees in 2016 for a fee reported to be around £25 million. Bolasie did put pen to paper on a five-year contract after leaving Crystal Palace following an impressive season at the Selhurst Park.
Unfortunately for Bolasie, injuries didn’t favor him as he was finally shipped out of the club.
Michael Essien – Lyon/Chelsea (£24.4m)
The Ghanaian became the most expensive African footballer of all time when Jose Mourinho signed him for Chelsea from Olympique Lyonnais in the summer of 2005 following his breathtaking performance with Lyon.
Essien did finish the season as a League winner with the French side, and a player of the year, which goes some way of explaining the size of the fee Chelsea were willing to cough out for the midfield marshall.
As the Ghanaian joined the Blues, success was instantaneous for Chelsea winning the Premier League twice, FA Cup four times and Champions League, as well as being named Chelsea Player of the Year in 2007.
Didier Drogba – Marseilles/Chelsea (£24m)
Drogba’s breathtaking performance with Marseilles in the then UEFA Cup now Europa League definitely interest top club sides across Europe.
However, the Ivorian remained in France for two seasons and excelled in Ligue 1, before joining mega-rich Chelsea from Marseille rather than West Ham who was also had a keen interest to secure him.
Drogba’s first season with Chelsea wasn’t a good start, however, he did come good for the Blues in subsequent seasons as they went on to win the Champions League against Bayern Munich.
Yaya Touré – Barcelona/Manchester City (£24m)
The Ivorian international did play in a number of European leagues throughout his career, however, he first came to prominence playing in France with AS Monaco.
His performances with Monaco attracted the interest of Barcelona, who signed him from the Ligue 1 outfit for €10million in 2007.
Toure won a massive 7 trophies during his stint with the Catalan based side but eventually lost his place in the team as he was used sparingly as a makeshift defender with Puyol after Pep Guardiola took over as the manager which led to his move away from Barcelona.
Manchester City won the fight to sign Toure following his departure from Camp Nou and he ended up as an integral part of the team in winning the 2012 and 2014 Premier League.
Samuel Eto’o – Inter Milan/Anzhi Makhachkala (£21m)
The Cameroonian deal to Anzhi as at then didn’t only make him the most expensive African footballers but saw him also became one the highest-paid player in the world.
Eto’o signed a three-year deal worth €20-million a year, following a fantastic spell with the Nerazzurri, spending two years with Inter Milan winning the Champions League in the first season.
The season before Etoo’s move to Anzhi, he had already scored 37 goals, his record haul in a season, and the former CAF award winner did enjoy two relatively productive seasons with Anzhi.
Mehdi Benatia – Roma/Bayern Munich (£21m)
Talking about African most expensive footballers, the Moroccan cost Roma €13.5 million from Udinese in the summer of 2013 from the back of impressive performance with Udinese.
After a year of mouthwatering performance for the Giallorossi in defense, Benatia was a subject of keen interest from top teams across Europe such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Bayern Munich.
The Bavarian did eventually won the battle, paying Roma €26million (£21m) for Benatia on a five-year deal as he ended up being a vital player for the Bundesliga outfit under the tutelage of then-manager Pep Guardiola.
Austin Okocha – Fenerbahce/Paris St-Germain (£14m)
The Super Eagles midfield maestro Austin Jay-jay Okocha was signed by Paris St-Germain for £14 million following a prolific spell at Fenerbahce in which he scored 30 goals in 62 games from midfield.
His undoubtedly great performance made him became a fan favorite in the French capital and acted as a mentor to a young Brazilian Ronaldinho who his a bundle of talent before he became a global superstar with Barcelona.
Okocha left PSG after the 2002 World Cup to sign for Premier League side Bolton Wanderers, and he went to become a legend of the club with his goals, trademarks dribbles, flairs, skills, and his wonderful free-kicks.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary
The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.