Transfer fees usually denote the value of a player. It’s size also places on the player a corresponding expectation. The lower the fee, usually the lower the expectation .
African players over the years have attracted some huge transfer fees. Chelsea’s swoop for Michael Essien and Didier Drogba in 2005 and 2004 respectively looks likely to have been the gateway to huge fees for African players.
With Riyad Mahrez securing a big money move to Manchester City, we take a look at the Top 11 highest transfer fees paid to African players.
11. Yannick Bolasie – £24.5m (Crystal Palace to Everton)
Congolese, French-born and Everton winger Yannick Bolasie joined The Toffees in 2016 for a reported fee of £25 million; on five-year contract after leaving Crystal Palace. Bolasie also plays for the DR Congo national football team.
10. Emmanuel Adebayor – £25m (Arsenal to Manchester City)
The Togolese international had a stellar stint at the North London Club before becoming the most expensive African player in the summer of 2009. The Togolese international earned £180,000 a week during his time at Manchester City, but failed to establish himself during his two years at the club and spent a spell on loan at Real Madrid
9. Wilfried Bony – £28m (Swansea to Manchester City)
At the beginning of 2015, the Ivorian hitman held the title of Africa’s most expensive football player. It lasted for only the next 18 months. After scoring 34 goals in 74 games, he moved from Swansea City to Manchester City .
8. Islam Slimani – £29.5m (Sporting Lisbon to Leicester City)
In 2016, Leicester City set a club record when they signed Algeria international Islam Slimani. The club paid a reported transfer fee of £28 million (rising by a million and a half in add one) to Portuguese club Sporting CP.. Slimani scored 48 goals in 82 games for Sporting to merit the move.
7. .Eric Bailly – £30m (Villarreal to Manchester United)
Seen as a permanent fix to his defensive woes, manager Jose Mourinho coughed up this mammoth sum to sign the defender. The 22year old was the astute manager’s first signing when he joined Manchester United in 2016.
6. Saido Mane – £35m (Southampton to Liverpool)
Senegalese Sadio Mane became Africa’s most expensive player ever after joining English club Liverpool in 2016 for a reported fee of £35 million.
5. Cedric Bakambu – £36m (Villarreal to Beijing Guoan)
Bakambu’s big move to the Chinese Super League was well earned. The striker was a force for the Yellow Submarine until his departure. Suggestedly, the Chinese side were to pay an extra £30 million (R511 million) in taxes for the former Villarreal striker though unconfirmed.
4. Mohammed Salah – £39m (Roma to Liverpool)
Having a revived spell at Rome, the Pharaoh moved to Anfield in 2017 and has been brilliant since. His transfer fee looks to be low considering the performance he has exhibited since the move.
3. Naby Keita – £52.7m (RB Leipzig to Liverpool)
The Guinean joined the African contingent at Anfield. The two clubs agreed on a deal in the summer of 2017 but Keita could only join at the end of the season.Keita made 39 appearances for Leipzig during his final season in Germany, scoring nine times and assisting seven goals.
2. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang – £56m (Dortmund to Arsenal)
In January 2018, the Gabonese’s £56 million transfer fee broke three records, becoming Arsenal’s club record signing, the most expensive Premier League player in deadline day history and also setting a new record for African players.
1. Riyad Mahrez – £67m (Leicester City to Manchester City)
The Algerian finally got his dream move as the Etihad Stadium announced his capture. The 2016 PFA player of the year thus becomes the most expensive African player in the history of football. The Algerian winger is understood to have signed a £200,000-a-week, five-year deal at the Etihad with an option to extend.