Over the years, Africa has produced a plethora of world-class talent that has gone on to make their names in Europe's top football leagues.
The likes of Roger Milla, George Weah, Samuel Eto'o and Yaya Toure are a few names in this regard.
Among the current crop as well, there are many African players who are indispensable to their respective clubs.
On that note, let us have a look at a hypothetical most valuable African XI made up of currently active stars.
Goalkeeper - Andre Onana - Cameroon/Ajax (€36 million)
Andre Onana is the most valuable African goalkeeper at the moment.
Widely regarded as one of the best young custodians in the game, the 24-year-old Onana honed his skills at Barcelona's famed La Masia academy before arriving at Ajax in 2015.
The Cameroon international has kept an impressive 83 clean sheets in over 200 games in all competitions for Ajax, which includes a league-leading nine shutouts in the 2020-21 Eredivisie.
Recently, Edwin Van der Saar, Ajax chief executive, praised Onana for his role in helping the club keep a water-tight defence (15 goals conceded in 21 games) this campaign, saying:
“It is great that he kept his team going several times in January.”
Right-back - Achraf Hakimi - Morocco/Inter Milan (€50 million)
Achraf Hakimi is one of the top right-backs in the game.
After making his name at Borussia Dortmund, Hakimi has evolved into one of the finest in the game since arriving at Inter Milan this summer.
Despite playing only 22 league games for his new side, Hakimi has already become a key player for Inter, excelling at both ends of the pitch.
Recently, Inter head coach Antonio Conte hailed the impact of Achraf Hakimi and the promise he holds, saying in this regard:
“We are talking about a guy who is 22 years old, who has only had two experiences. I repeat, in the Bundesliga you play less tactical football, they study you less. Hakimi is working, he also understood a little bit the difference of playing here in Italy. He is in the right team with the right coach. He can become a specialist in that role, the best in the world."
Centre-back - Kalidou Koulibaly - Senegal/Napoli (€60 million)
Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the most sought-after defenders after excelling at Napoli since his arrival at the club in the 2014-15 season.
Under various managers, the 29-year-old has remained a key player for Napoli, and continues to be so under present tactician Gennaro Gattuso.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup winner recently spoke about the Manchester City target:
“Koulibaly has a precise asking price, and if the club doesn't get the money it is asking for, then he won't leave."
Centre-back - Edmond Tapsoba (Burkina Faso/Bayer Leverkusen) - €40 million
After making his professional debut for Vitoria Guimaraes, Edmond Tapsoba arrived at Bayer Leverkusen in January 2020 and has seen his stock rise.
One of the two-most expensive African centre-backs in the game, the 22-year-old has not take much time to become a regular in Peter Bosz's side.
He is yet to play 50 games for Leverkusen, but the player has surprised himself by adapting so well to life in the Bundesliga. Tapsoba recently said in this regard:
"Adapting didn’t cause me any big problems. That’s probably down to the fact the style of play is similar at Guimaraes and Bayer 04. At Vitoria, the attacks were built from the back, the opponents were pressed and we looked to quickly get up front. But if necessary, we were then patient in looking for the best situation to have an effort on goal. So I didn’t need to change much."
Left-back - Ramy Bensabaini - Algeria/Borussia Monchengladbach (€22 million)
Ramy Bensabaini joined Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2019, and hasn't looked back since.
The 25-year-old left-back has quickly endeared himself to the Monchengladbach faithful, scoring nine goals and providing five assists in all competitions.
Bensabaini particularly starred with a winning brace against reigning champions Bayern Munich in 2019-20. He has started the new season on a strong note, providing four assists, but is yet to score a goal.
The Algerian international recently summed up his first season at Borussia Monchengladbach, saying in this regard:
"My first year has gone well, very well in fact. I feel at home here, I have settled in very quickly. I get on well with everyone. It has gone well on the pitch as well – I have scored five goals and got three assists. It has been a good start for me."