Many African players have impressed in South Africa this summer, but how many are actually capable of handling the Premier League? Here are undoubtedly 5 of the best African players who excelled and shined brightly in this years World Cup finals, and more importantly, 5 players who could also potentially make the grade in the best league in the world this season:
Madjid Bougherra (Algeria)
The 27-year-old did very well in the Algerian back-line this summer and was certainly one of Algeria’s better players, who showed all the attributes required to play in the Premier League. The centre-back has great aerial ability, good positional awareness and the ability to get stuck in to opposing attackers. At 6’ 3’’ and built like a tank, Bougherra would most definitely suit the rough and tumble style of the English game and could develop his skills extremely well in the best league in the world. If Bougherra can shut out Wayne Rooney (one of England’s best) then surely he is something special right? The Algerian defender has played in the English league before and will know the competitiveness that comes along with it. However, the defender has never played in the top-flight before, but certainly deserves his chance now. The powerful centre-back is currently contracted to rangers, but his performances this summer and recent statement of yearning to play in the Premier League would have positively alerted many of the clubs within the league. Arsenal and Liverpool are reported to be amongst the favourites for his signature, but many others will be interested in the player’s services this summer as well. The defender could leave the Ibrox Stadium for as little as £5 million, a definite bargain for such a solid centre-back.
Anthony Annan (Ghana)
The tireless midfielder did brilliantly well in the midfield to hold the ranks in this years World Cup finals for Ghana. Annan, who currently plays his club football in Norway for Rosenborg, has been dubbed the new Michael Essien and has also been compared to a younger Claude Makelele by many fans and pundits alike, because of his tidy and calm approach to the game. Annan has great positional sense in the midfield, as well as strength and speed in abundance. He filled the boots of crocked Essien with great assurance and his performances this summer would have no doubt attracted several clubs from around Europe. Having seen the player in the World Cup this summer, the 23-year-old showed enough quality to convince many (including me) that he is creditable to play in the competitive Premier League. Chelsea have in the past shown interest in the player, and maybe, after this years tournament, the Blues may go back in for him. The holding midfielder would do a great job for any top team in the English game and would only cost in the region of £10 million for his services.
Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria)
Even though we only saw 3 games in which the goalkeeper took part in South Africa this summer, Vincent Enyeama did enough to convince many that he is worthy of a shot in the Premier League this season. The Nigerian shot-stopper was arguably one of the best keepers in the tournament and displayed some excellent performances for his country this summer. Enyeama currently plays his club football in the Israeli league for Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC, but will almost certainly be moving on during the summer window. The 27-year-old could do wonders for any Premier League side wanting a solid goalkeeper for the upcoming season. Enyeama has all the right attributes of a good goalkeeper, fine awareness and aerial ability as well as brilliant commandment of his box. At 5’ 11’’ he is also a tall goalkeeper and has the stature required for the physicality of the Premier League. West Ham and Arsenal have already shown an interest, however, many others will no doubt follow, especially with the goalkeeper going at a bargain price of £3-3.5 million.
Asamoah Gyan (Ghana)
The Ghanian striker certainly boosted his reputation this summer in South Africa. The 24-year-old striker, who currently plays his club football in France for Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais, proved that he is capable of handling the Premier League if he were to make the switch this summer. Gyan played 5 games in this years World Cup, and managed to bag 3 goals along the way, and was the Black Stars main man this summer. The Ghanian has good speed, is genuinely very strong and competitive, and has a piercing eye for goal as well…all of these attributes would definitely suit the English game. The forward has been linked with a move to the Premier League this summer, with West Ham showing the most interest, and the player himself has not ruled out a move to England either. Gyan would do well in the Premier League, not necessarily for a massive team, but certainly for a mid-table side. His performances in South Africa would have no doubt enhanced his reputation and caught a lot of other clubs attention this summer. The striker’s price tag has risen because of his performances and will now be worth approximately £10 million…still, it is certainly an adequate price for one of Africa’s finest.
Siphiwe Tshabalala (South Africa)
Tshabalala was one of South Africa’s most innovative and impressive performers in the World Cup this summer. The 25-year-old wide-man played all 3 games for his country and showed why he is capable of making a mark on the Premier League, if of course he were to move to England during the summer window that is. Tshabalala bagged the first goal of the World Cup finals with a left-footed rocket against Mexico, which left viewers in amazement of what he is actually capable of. Although, the winger is a small player at 5’ 7’’, which would go against him in the English game, however, Tshabalala has the right level of speed, balance and quickness to balance his small stature. The winger is a tricky customer and one who can cause damage when given the chance. The South African is a cultured left-footed player who is not afraid of dashing forward, and has the ability to unleash a fierce shot from out side the area as well. The South African currently plays his club football in his home country for Kaizer Chiefs F.C, but without a doubt, this will soon change. Wigan have already shown an interest in the player, as well as other clubs around Europe from the German and French league. The midfielder would make a good addition to the Premier League, and it would be interesting to see what he could fabricate in the English game due to the abilities he possesses.
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