The 10 most expensive African footballers in Europe

10 MOST EXPENSIVE AFRICAN FOOTBALLERS IN EUROPE 2021/2022

Over the last few decades, African players have been soaring higher outside the shores of the continent, especially in Europe. Some made their imprint while some couldn’t make a significant history. 

There are some notable players whose memories still linger in the mind of fans of the clubs they represented, footballers like George Weah (former world footballer of the year in 1996), Victor Ikpeba- he’s usually called(Prince of Monaco), Jay-Jay Okocha, Samuel Eto, Didier Drogba, Nwankwo Kanu, Yaya Toure and a host of other brilliant footballers whose achievements and successes cannot be overemphasized. 

Some of these players crossed from one club to the other with big transfer fees, it showed how talented and significant they were during their heydays.

Without demeaning their contributions, African players have contributed greatly to European football over the last couple of years the continent is a talent bank for some clubs in Belgium and the Netherlands. 

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With the talents they possess and the quality they ooze on the field of play, one can make a hasty suggestion that African players are shoulder to shoulder with brilliant players across the globe.

The game of football is a lucrative business, investors are trooping in droves to have a slice from the money-spinning sports business. Top clubs want to remain top and relevant and to be up there, they have to shell out big bucks to acquire seasoned legs. 

African players aren’t in the back seat when it comes to players blooming in the game some have been bought with big transfer fees in recent times.

These are the top ten expensive players from the continent of Africa in recent times.

1. NICOLAS PEPE – (ARSENAL, €80.0M)

nicolas pepe

The Ivorian international was firing on all cylinders for French Ligue 1 side Lille, his goals and assists caught the attention of top European clubs and as a result, the value of the 26-year-old skyrocketed. 

With all his exploits in France, it was preempted that it’s just a matter of time before big clubs knock for his signature. In the summer of 2019, Liverpool were leading the race of all the clubs that wanted to have him in their ranks but Arsenal overtook them and he signed the dotted lines for the Gunners. 

With the transfer fee of 80 million euros, Pepe became the most expensive player from the shores of Africa.

However, since joining Arsenal for big bucks, Pepe hasn’t been spicy for the London side, the feat he had in France that drew Arsenal’s attention hasn’t been replicated in the red shirt. Well, age is still on his side, and with the quality he possesses, Pepe could still be a formidable player in years to come.

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2. VICTOR OSIMHEN – (NAPOLI, €70.0M)

victor osimhen

The Nigeria international is one of the best scorers in Europe for a while now and this has earned him a lot of media appraisal for his goalscoring spree for Napoli. 

The former Wolfsburg starlet made a record move from Lille to the city of Naples for an astronomical transfer fee. This transition made him the second most expensive African footballer of all time.

Victor’s first season with Napoli wasn’t a rosy one but his form in this 2021/2022 Seria A season has been impeccable. Osimhen has scored 5 goals in 9 Serie A appearances. He’s one of their indispensable players and without any doubt, he’s living up to that transfer fee.

3. RIYAD MAHREZ – (MANCHESTER CITY – €67.8M)

riyad mahrez

Mahrez was a relatively unpopular player before 2014 when he signed for Leicester City. He was one of the orchestrators that helped Leicester gain promotion to English top-flight football the following year.

Mahrez, with Claudio Ranieri in charge, dragged The Foxes to the pinnacle of English football with his astonishing skills which propelled them to win their first-ever English Premier League title in 2016.

With his contribution, he bagged lots of awards in the Premier League and at the national level. It was evident that it’s just a matter of time before he moved to a bigger club either in the league or abroad. 

Having ticked all the boxes with his on-field performances for the Foxes, In the summer of 2018, Manchester City came knocking with bags of money to cart him away. 

Mahrez departed the King Power Stadium for a record fee of €67.8m. His career with City has been a trophy-laden one. It’s money well spent for the Pep Guardiola side.

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4. PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG – (ARSENAL, €63.8M)

pierre-emerick aubameyang

The Gabon international was a proven striker before he penned a contract with Arsenal during Arsene Wenger’s reign, he wasted no time to make his goal-scoring spree known to the Gunners. 

Aubameyang joined Arsenal for a club-record fee of €63.8m from Borussia Dortmund in the 2017-18 season. With over 300 goals for both clubs and country, Aubameyang is one of the biggest talents and expensive players from African soil.

5. NABY KEITA– (LIVERPOOL, €60.0m)

naby keita

Keita came with loads of promising talent from RB Leipzig in 2018 but injury hasn’t allowed him to be for Liverpool, what he was for his former club. 

The German coach at the helm of Liverpool has shown that he’s a protagonist of German League players, their recent signing of Ibrahim Konate from RB Leipzig gives credence to this. Lately, the German league is now a hunting ground for the Kop and his employer. 

Conakry-born Keita’s switch from Bundesliga to Liverpool has placed him amongst the most expensive footballers in Africa.

6. ACHRAF HAKIMI – (PARIS SAINT GERMAIN, €60.0M )

achraf hakimi

Hakimi is currently an established right-back, he came through the ranks of Real Madrid Castilla. Due to a lack of playing time at Bernabeu when he was promoted to the first team in 2017, he made a double loan move to Borussia Dortmund in 2018. 

He was also not guaranteed quality playing time after his loan move at BVB came to an end. Therefore, Hakimi switched employer and signed for Inter Milan for an audacious €40 million. He’s part of the system that was put together by Antonio Conte. 

They broke the deadlock of Inter Milan’s 10 years of Scudetto drought. He was one of the most sought-after players. At some point, he was being wooed by Chelsea but he rejected the offer to move to Stamford Bridge and opted for PSG when they sought his signature.

The Moroccan international signed for PSG for a whopping €60.0m. It’s another record fee for an African player who plays as a right back.

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7. SEBASTIAN HALLER – (WEST HAM UNITED, €50.0M)

sebastien haller

Haller’s time with the Hammers wasn’t a fruitful one after his acquisition from Eintracht Frankfurt for a whopping £45 million transfer deal in the summer of 2019-20.

Haller was unable to establish himself in the English Premier League but he’s been on top of his game for Dutch giants Ajax after he was acquired for half the price (£20.2 million) that West Ham United paid to get him. The Ivorian international is one of the instrumental figures for Ajax’s title challenge this season.

8. THOMAS PARTEY – (ARSENAL, €50.0M)

thomas partey

Partey is one of the combative midfielders out there in the Premier League. When Thomas switched from Athletico Madrid to Arsenal in the summer of 2020, penning a four year deal with an option to extend, Arsenal fans ripped the roof off with their joyous response for that quality midfielder who is very familiar with the football philosophy of the Arsenal side and without forgetting his experience with Diego Simeone side.

It’s quite unfortunate that injury has been his undoing in the red shirt but in the current campaign in the Premier League, the Ghanaian has been a significant cog for the Gunners’ resurgence. Hopefully, he’d be fit enough to help the North London side reach the European spots come next season.

9. MOHAMAD SALAH – (LIVERPOOL, €42.0M)

mohamed salah

Salah’s move to Chelsea in the summer of 2014 wasn’t premeditated. he caught their attention in the preceding season’s UEFA champions league when they were beaten at home by Basel. The Egyptian was the one who equalized the deficit before they later won the match by 2 goals to 1 away from home. 

Salah couldn’t cement his place in blue color after two years. He was loaned to Fiorentina in 2015, Roma in 2016 before he made it permanent in Rome.

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In the summer of 2017, the Liverpool side being led by Jurgen Klopp coughed out a humongous €42.0m to get him from Giallorossi, a deal many football fans obliged to be an absolute bargain for the Liverpool side which eventually launched new dawn for the Merseyside team in terms of laurels.

1. SADIO MANE – (LIVERPOOL, €41.2M)

sadio mane

The combination of Mo Salah and fellow African, Sadio Mane has been a great threat to opposing teams and has provided massive goals returns for Liverpool. 

They both compliment each other so well that these two have scored over 240 goals between them in red color. Both Mo Salah and Sadio Mane celebrated milestones of 100 goals each in the Premier League a few weeks back.

The Senegalese superstar left Southampton to Anfield for a transfer deal worth €41.2m. From all intent and purposes, the money splashed on getting him was money well spent. 

The returns have been massive on the pitch of play and he’s one of the significant assets for Liverpool’s consistency in the last 5 seasons. As a result of his consistent performance, he was named African Footballer of the Year in 2019.