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Sports News of Tuesday, 9 June 2020


La Liga returns: Five African players to watch

Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey

#5 Samuel Chukwueze

Critics—including Samuel Eto’o—have argued that more goals are needed from Chukwueze, and they may have a point, with the wideman having only had a hand in four goals so far this term.

However, Villarreal fans would surely point to the winger’s performances in the Spanish top flight last season—where he scored five—as evidence of his immense potential, even if he hasn’t truly kicked on this season.

Nonetheless, Chukwueze now has the opportunity to make his mark on the Spanish season following the league’s resumption.

The Yellow Submarine are still in the hunt for European football, and Chukwueze could be the man to get them over the line.

Certainly, rumours of transfer interest from Chelsea demonstrate just how highly the Super Eagles wideman is admired across Europe.

#4 Mohammed Salisu

Perhaps Africa’s biggest revelation in La Liga so far this season, Ghana’s Salisu is another player to be courting interest from the Premier League.

Watford, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers are all reportedly keen on the defender, while Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais are also understood to be monitoring his services.

Salisu has been a sturdy presence in the heart of Real Valladolid’s backline this term, and memorably netted in the 2-0 over Eibar back in October.

#3 Youssef En-Nesyri

Such was Sevilla’s desire to snare En-Nesyri midway through the campaign that they parted with €25 million to recruit the young Morocco forward from Leganes.

The powerful frontman had scored four for the struggles during the first part of the campaign, and hit the ground running soon after arriving at Sevilla, netting four goals in his first month and a half at the club.

Sevilla’s all-time top scorer Freddie Kanoute recently named En-Nesyri as the African striker who he was most excited about seeing in action when the league returns, in an interview with Goal, and now it’s over to the North African to do his predecessor proud.

#2 Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Less than a year after being relegated from the Premier League with Fulham, Zambo Anguissa is being linked with a move to Real Madrid.

That’s evidence of the immense progress the Cameroon international has made in Spanish football this term, following an underwhelming debut campaign in the English game.

So far this season, the Villarreal man completes—on average—2.4 dribbles per match (putting him fourth overall in the league), and his dynamic midfield displays have reminded many of his strong showings with Olympique de Marseille during the early stages of his career.

#1 Thomas Partey

The outstanding African player in the Spanish top flight, Thomas deserves immense credit for establishing himself as a key man at Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

Claims during lockdown that he has surpassed Michael Essien appear premature—even if Partey is the only one of the pair to have played in a Champions League final—and Arsenal are just one high-profile suitor for the midfielder.

The Gunners—and any other prospective admirers—will have ample opportunity to assess the powerhouse as he and Atleti seek to secure a UCL qualifying berth during the final weeks of the campaign.

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