Records tumbled during the transfer window as clubs across the world spent big in order to bolster their squads for the challenges to come.
Paul Pogba became the world’s most expensive transfer of all time when he left Juventus to return to Manchester United in a £89million deal that eclipses the £84million Real Madrid spent to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.
From an African perspective, there were eye-catching moves involving Yannick Bolasie, Eric Bailly, Sadio Mane and Islam Slimani, who joined Everton, Manchester United, Liverpool and Leicester City for big fees.
In this feature, we run down the top 10 most expensive African transfers in history … revised in light of this quartet of big moves.
=10 Medhi Benatia (AS Roma > Bayern Munich) & Mahamadou Diarra (Lyon > Real Madrid) – £21.9million
Benatia demonstrated his class with disciplined, intelligent defensive performances with AS Roma, leading to Bayern nabbing him ahead of various other suitors. The Morocco defender won two German titles in Bavaria, but only managed 29 league appearances under Pep Guardiola before moving on loan to Juventus this season. Diarra is arguably one of Africa’s more underrated stars this century, but he certainly won over Real as they sought a ‘new Claude Makelele’, winning two Spanish titles to add to four Ligue 1 crowns won at Lyon.
=8 Didier Drogba (Marseille > Chelsea) & Yaya Toure (Barcelona > Manchester City) – £24million
Perhaps the two outstanding African players in the history of the Premier League, Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure are tied in eighth place. Drogba may have courted his controversy upon his arrival in England, but subsequently won four league titles and four FA Cups at Stamford Bridge, becoming one of the London club’s all-time greats. Yaya is a two-time Premier League champion with the Citizens, although his future is somewhat murky following the arrival of Guardiola.
7 Michael Essien (Lyon > Chelsea) – £24.4million
Some questioned Mourinho when he parted with an astonishing £24.4million to buy young midfielder Essien from Lyon, but after some teething problems – and rash challenges – at the start of his Chelsea career, the Bison ultimately came good in a big way. He won the Champions League in 2012, although injury has affected the second half of his career.
6 Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace > Everton) – £24.5million
The jury’s out on Bolasie, who on his day is a world beater but doesn’t always threaten consistently and is arguably not as good as the sum of his parts. He could be a devastating addition for Everton, but the fee looks steep.
5 Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal > Manchester City) – £25million
The Togo forward isn’t to everyone’s liking, but he certainly piqued the interest of Manchester City back in 2009 when they spent £25 million to make him Africa’s most expensive player. ‘Ade’ infamously taunted the Arsenal supporters after scoring against them in a 4-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium, and is currently a free agent following subsequent spells with Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid and Crystal Palace.
4 Wilfried Bony (Swansea City > Manchester City) – £28million
The Ivorian striker held the title of Africa’s most expensive player for 18 months after moving from Swansea City to Manchester City at the beginning of 2015, although his switch to the Etihad Stadium will ultimately go down as a failure. He moved to Stoke City on loan on deadline day and, if he can rediscover his previous form, represents a major coup for the Potters.
3 Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon > Leicester City) – £29.5million including add-ons
Leicester made headlines on deadline day when they parted with an initial 30 million euros plus a further 5-million euros in add-ons to sign the Algeria forward from Sporting Lisbon. Slimani offers something a little different to Ahmed Musa and Jamie Vardy up front, and gives the reigning champions a wealth of riches in attack.
2 Eric Bailly (Villarreal > Manchester United) – £30million
Jose Mourinho raised a few eyebrows when he identified Cote d’Ivoire defender Eric Bailly as the man to solve Manchester United’s defensive woes, and while a £30 million fee represents a major gamble for a 22-year-old, he has demonstrated his class during a series of bold showings to date.
1 Sadio Mane (Southampton > Liverpool) – £35million
The Senegal international became the most expensive African player in history when he swapped St Mary’s for Anfield on June 28, moving for a cool £35 million. Mane perhaps wasn’t always consistent enough with Saints, although his explosive start to life with the Reds – notably a wondergoal against Arsenal on his league debut – suggests that it might be money well spent by Jurgen Klopp.
Originally Published By Ed Dove on Kwesesports
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