Arsenal made a new bit of history when they signed Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a record 72 million pounds. After the Ivorian Nicolas Pepe signed on the dotted line for Arsenal, we take a look at the most expensive African players. Don’t be surprised when you don’t see Mohammed Salah or Sadio Mane on the list.
This is so because we are looking at the players who occupy the top 5 positions in that category. The African players who made a lot of money for their old clubs. The transfers are arranged in an ascending order, that is from the lowest to the highest fee involved.
5TH MOST EXPENSIVE AFRICAN PLAYER
The player who takes up number five on this list is Guinea star Naby Laye Keita. This footballer was born on 10th February 1995. He is 24 years presently. He has played for clubs like Fc Istres, Red Bull Salzburg, RB Leipzig and currently Liverpool in his short career. It was during his time at RB Leipzig where he made a name for himself and attracted interest from top clubs.
Naby Laye Keita scored 14 goals and assisted a further 12 in 58 matches in two seasons at Leipzig. He did so from a midfield position or what we call the number 8 position. These impressive figures attracted top clubs around the world to bid for his services. Liverpool ultimately won the race and paid a then club record 55m pounds for his transfer. He will be looking to repay his manager’s faith after an injury ravaged first season.
4TH MOST EXPENSIVE AFRICAN PLAYER
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the player who takes up the fourth position on this list. He was born on 18 June 1989 at Laval, France but is a Gabonese international and center forward. Aubameyang has played for clubs like Ac Milan, Saint Etienne, Dortmund and now Arsenal. It was while at Dortmund that he became a household name.
He banged in goals like water during his Dortmund days. In his 3 and half season at Dortmund he scored an astonishing 85 goals and 16 assists in 112 matches. That is a stat few strikers in the world can match. These statistics brought Arsenal to his door step and the money that ensued in his transfer was a mammoth 56 million pounds.
3RD MOST EXPENSIVE AFRICAN PLAYER
Riyad Mahrez the Afcon gold medalist takes the third position on this list. He is an Algerian like you are probably aware now and a winger. He has played for a couple of clubs like Quimper, Le Havre, Leicester City and nowadays Manchester City. Mahrez made a name for himself while at Leicester and was a part of their unbelievable premier league win.
While at Leicester City in the premier league, Mahrez dazzled football viewers with his dribbles, trickery, eye for pass and ability to score. At the end of his four year stay at Leicester City he recorded 39 goals and 27 assists in 139 matches. His best season at Leicester was the 16-17 one where he won the premier league best player award. In the summer of 2018 Manchester City paid 60m pound for his services.
2ND MOST EXPENSIVE AFRICAN PLAYER
The player who takes up second position on the list is a relatively unknown name compared to the first three. He is known as Cedric Bakambu, a Congolese national and center forward. He was born in 11th April 1991. Cedric Bakambu has played for Sochaux, Bursaspor, Villarreal and currently Beijing Guoan. It was his time at Villarreal that catapulted him to fame.
During his Villarreal days he scored a respectable 32 goals and 4 assists in 75 matches. That output caught the eye of Chinese super league side Beijing Guoan. They paid an astonishing 65m pounds to take him to China. That figure also made him the most expensive African player ever until this week. He has already recorded 24 goals in 31 matches to vindicate his manager’s action.
MOST EXPENSIVE AFRICAN PLAYER EVER
The title of the most expensive African player ever goes to Ivorian born Nicolas Pepe. The young Ivorian winger born on 29th May 1995 is living his dream. He has already played for Poitiers, Angers, Orleans and Lille in his short career. It was his time at Lille where he established himself as an expert marksman.
He scored 35 goals in 74 matches during his two seasons at Lille, but it is his second season that will be remembered for long. He recorded 22 goals and 11 assists in that unforgettable 18-19 Ligue one season. These monstrous statistics attracted a host of clubs like Arsenal, Napoli, Liverpool and Tottenham. Arsenal was the club who won the race in the end, agreeing to pay 72m pound for his services. This made him the most expensive African player ever. He was disappointing in the just ended Afcon but he will be hoping to justify that price tag when the new premier league season kicks off on August 9.