The 2020/2021 English Premier League season begins on September 12, and ahead of kick off, Afroballers takes a look at Africa’s top stars in the English Premier League ahead of the league’s resumption.
8. Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)
The 2019-20 campaign was a one to remember for Jordan Ayew. The Ghanaian striker was crowned Crystal Palace Player of the Season after his outstanding performances.
He was also named the Players’ Player of the Season and his 87th-minute winning strike against West Ham United back in October was awarded the Goal of the Season. His performance in the 2019-20 season has been truly noteworthy as he made his mark by scoring against Manchester United at Old Trafford in August. It was one of the two Crystal Palace goals in that match that led them to a historic victory.
It is definitely worth keeping an eye to see how the new season season plays out for him and for Crystal Palace.
7. Mohammed Salisu (Southampton)
Even before his first full season in the Spanish top-flight was completed, central defender Mohammed Salisu had already been catching the attention of clubs around Europe. His form with Real Valladolid in LaLiga had been impressive, which prompted Premier League outfit Southampton to make their move.
The deal that took Salisu to England has reportedly cost Southampton around £10.9 million, and while that was regarded as a gamble by some pundits, after the transfer was announced in August, the club management are entirely satisfied.
If performances in Spain’s LaLiga were any indication, Salisu is more than ready to make his mark in the Premier League, providing Southampton are prepared to give him plenty of games
6. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)
Wilfred Ndidi is now arguably the Premier League’s best defensive midfielder. No one apart from, Ngolo Kante could truly match him for tackling or overall defensive play in the top flight.
The additions of Youri Tielemans and Dennis Praet to the Leicester City midfield, plus Brendan Rodgers’ stewardship, Ndidi has the platform and the environment to take his game to another level this term.
5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
It’s kind of hard to talk about African players in the Premier League without talking about Mohamed Salah. His stint at Liverpool since 2017 has been nothing short of legendary and has raised his status to be one of the best football players in the world.
Last season, the 2017/18 Premier League Player of The Season scored 16 goals in 26 games. Salah has proven to be one of the most important parts of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. It would definitely be interesting to watch how Salah performs for the Reds in the new season.
4. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Mane played a pivotal role as the Anfield outfit ended their long wait for an English top-flight title, having last clinched the trophy in 1990.
In 35 appearances, Mane found the net 18 times in the English top-flight while providing seven assists.
Following his performances, Mane was shortlisted for the Premier League best player prize, which was won by Kevin De Bryune.
3. Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal)
Much was expected from Nicolas Pepe at Arsenal last season following his arrival from LOSC Lille.
The Ivorian winger, who signed a five-year contract, thrives when operating from either wing, though he usually plays from the right and has a superb speed to cut inside and finish on his left foot.
Pepe managed 22 goals for Lille in Ligue 1 last season and was only behind Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain in combined assists and goals.
Alongside the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the player is set to be part of a lethal forward line.
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Auba scored 31 goals in his first full season with the Gunners (22 in the league) following a £56m transfer from Borussia Dortmund – earning a share of the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2018/19 campaign.
The 2019-20 season saw a return of 29 goals in 44 matches across all competitions, with Aubameyang also installed as captain after Granit Xhaka was stripped of the armband.
The Gabonese striker has finished as Arsenal’s top scorer for each of the past two seasons. He got 22 Premier League goals, albeit, Mikel Arteta’s men finished in a disappointing eighth position having accrued 56 points from 38 games.
1. Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea)
The Morocco international was sensational at Ajax last season, scoring 21 goals as the Dutch giants won the domestic double and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Star names Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong have since departed, but Ziyech remains, despite being linked with moves to a host of European clubs.
Whether or not the 26-year-old will thrive or wilt under the pressure of being Ajax’s main man this time around will make for interesting viewing.