Friday 24th November, 2017
18.9
35 ℉ | 67 ℉Helena
key-african-transfer-stories-to-watch-before-the-window-closes

Africa's players have been some of the key protagonists of the transfer window so far, but with a month and a half of business to go, expect several more of the continent's star men to make a move.

Mohamed Salah, Asamoah Gyan, and Carlos Kameni have all already secured new deals this window, but which other big-name African talents are expected to move on between now and the close of business?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: The future of Africa's top talent remains uncertain, with potential suitors -- with the notable exception of Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian- currently appearing reticent to actually make an offer for the attacker.

While Auba could well ultimately be tempted by the riches of the CSL, it would be a great shame to see one of the continent's genuine stars spend some of his peak years away from the major narratives of the European game.

Similarly, it's hard to see the Gabon frontman ever then making the move to Real Madrid, a switch he once promised his grandfather he'd complete.

Latterly, Premier League trio Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal have been linked with his signature, and while his qualities and irresistible goalscoring - he netted 31 in the league last season - should make him a hit in England, just how much would suitors have to spend to snare him?

Naby Keita: The dynamic midfielder was one of the key figures in RasenBallsport Leipzig's remarkable campaign in the Bundesliga last season, as the top flight new boys took the division by storm and secured Champions League qualification.

This term they'll be expecting to mount a sustained title challenge -- as they threatened to do last term - but they'll surely need to keep hold of Keita to do so.

The Guinea international offers a mesmerising blend of qualities - how many players could average 2.6 tackles and 2.6 interceptions over a German league campaign, and score the kind of winner that the 22-year-old did against the Ivory Coast in an African Cup of Nations qualifier in June?

Liverpool have been tipped as favourites for Keita's signature all summer, and while Leipzig insist that they won't sell any of their top stars, money talks in this business - as they know better than most!

Kelechi Iheanacho: The Nigeria frontman appears primed to move on this window. He failed to convince Pep Guardiola of his worth this season - despite a match-winning display against Manchester United early in the campaign - and the arrival of Gabriel Jesus places a major obstacle in his path to the first team.

He's still young, but as Aiyegbeni Yakubu, Julius Aghahowa and Peter Rufai attested when asked by KweséESPN, Iheanacho needs game time. While he should - in principle - benefit from working under Guardiola, a switch to another Premier League side would surely prove more valuable for his long-term development.

Whether that's on loan or on a permanent deal is a decision that will ultimately be made by City, but there are a swathe of suitors who are keen on his signature.

Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Everton have all been linked with a move for the Super Eagles frontman, although the last of these have already brought in a swathe of new signings this window.

Instead, could ambitious West Ham United - desperately in need of more firepower - be the man to offer Iheanacho regular first-team football?

Serge Aurier: Paris Saint-Germain's decision to sign Dani Alves from Juventus has been well received in the French capital, where there's been a long tradition of star Brazilian talents parading their wares that the Parc des Princes.

Surely the former Barcelona man won't have moved to Ligue 1 to play backup, yet with Thomas Meunier and Aurier already competing for the right-back spot, something has to give.

Expect the Ivorian international to be the fall guy.

There's still a lingering discontent about his outrageous Periscope rant against his teammates and then-coach Laurent Blanc in February 2016, while too often, the controversies surrounding the wideman have detracted from his talent.

A fresh move and a change of scene might be what the doctor ordered, and there'll be no shortage of interest.

Juve - who have just lost one quality right-back - immediately spring to mind, while Manchester City's signing of Kyle Walker also leaves Spurs in the market for an able replacement.

Riyad Mahrez: A year ago, Mahrez's future was one of the hot topics of the transfer window.

Understandably, after a somewhat muted 2016-17 campaign, there appears to be far less interest in the Algerian maestro.

Nonetheless, he remains the subject of transfer speculation.

The rumours linking the former Le Havre man with a move to Barcelona have largely died down, but Mahrez remains heavily linked to Arsenal.

He'd arguably be an ideal candidate to fill a problem position for the Gunners, although while he knows the Premier League, there's a concern that the division's defenders have largely learned how to negate the threat of the wideman.

Latterly, AS Roma have emerged as favourites for Mahrez's signature.

The Rossoneri have had an influx of cash following the sale of Mohamed Salah to Liverpool, and Mahrez has emerged as the favourite to replace the departed Egypt international.

A mooted fee of £48 million appears steep for a player who made just nine decisive EPL contributions last term, but yet again, Mahrez still has the quality to terrorise Serie A defences.

Ed Dove is the Soccer Editor for KweseESPN. Follow him on Twitter @EddyDove.

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