The 10 most valuable African players in the world (2021)

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are two of the most valuable African players in the world.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are two of the most valuable African players in the world.

Africa has produced a lot of highly talented football players over the last four decades. Many of those stars used to play in attacking positions. However, now even defenders and goalkeepers from the mother continent are making a name for themselves across different leagues in the world.

Samuel Eto'o, George Weah, Didier Drogba, Roger Milla and Yaya Toure are just a few iconic African players to have graced the football pitch, which makes us wonder why only one African player has won the prestigious Ballon d'Or trophy till now.

Nonetheless, the players from Africa are some of the most well-known footballers in Europe at the moment. On, that note let's take a look at the top 10 most valuable African players in the world at the moment.

Ten most valuable African players:

(Transfer values courtesy transfermarkt).

#10 Wilfred Ndidi - €45 million

Wilfred Ndidi
Wilfred Ndidi

One of Premier League's most underrated players, Wilfred Ndidi has been a key cog in the Leicester City wheel, as they qualified for Europa League last term.

The Nigerian is one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe at the moment and averages 3.5 tackles a game, while also making 2.2 interceptions per 90 and winning more than 2 aerials per game. This term, The Foxes have roughly picked up only 50% of points in games which he has missed, as compared to 75% when he has been present.

His €20 million transfer fee paid to Genk in 2017 sure seems like a bargain now. He is currently valued at €45 million, a sum that will only bound to go up.

#9 Hakim Ziyech - €45 million

Hakim Ziyech joined Chelsea this summer
Hakim Ziyech joined Chelsea this summer

Morocco have a very strong squad at the moment, especially when it comes to the attacking department. One of the shining stars of The Atlas Lions is creative midfielder Hakim Ziyech.

The skilful attacker made a name for himself with the exciting Ajax squad that included the likes of Matthijs De Ligt, Donny Van de Beek and Frenkie De Jong. That young side defeated Real Madrid and Juventus in the Champions League to reach the semi-final in the 2018-19 campaign.

His consistent performances earned him a transfer to Chelsea in February 2020, with the player joining the London-based outfit earlier this season. In just half a year since moving to Chelsea, his transfer value has increased from €40 million to €45 million.

#8 Riyad Mahrez - €48 million

Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez

Algeria are the current African Champions, having won the Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt in 2019. So, it was expected that players from The Desert Foxes to feature in this list. Surprisingly, only captain Riyad Mahrez made it to this list.

The Manchester City winger has one of the best first touches in the Premier League and despite limited appearances for Pep Guardiola's men he has found the back of the net and his teammates consistently.

He has continued to impress with his skills and wand of a left foot in the English top-flight but has failed to replicate the form he hit in Leicester's fairytale 2015-16 season.

He turned 30 this month but still commands a €48 million transfer valuation.

Also Read: The 10 highest-paid goalkeepers in the world


#7 Victor Osimhen - €50 million

Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen

The only unproven player on this list, Victor Osimhen is often considered one of the most promising talents from Africa. He has already opened his account for Napoli, the club he joined at the beginning of the season, and has two goals to his name across all competitions.

He has been part of the national side since 2017 and in 10 appearance for Nigeria, he has found the back of the net five times. All of his goals for the national team has come in the last two years.

He has all the potential to join the list of prolific goalscorers from Nigeria, namely - Rashidi Yekini, Nwankwo Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha, which is why he is valued at €50 million at the moment.

#6 Achraf Hakimi - €50 million

Achraf Hakimi
Achraf Hakimi

In modern day football, full-backs play an important role. Many top managers across Europe have adopted three-at-the-back formations, which allows the speedy full-backs to join the attack at a moment's notice.

Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi is currently the best player in his position across Europe, if we consider goal involvement, and has fit perfectly into Antonio Conte's system at Inter.

The player has six goals and assists apiece across all competitions. His pace gives him a huge advantage on the pitch and it is nigh impossible for opponents to catch him once he hits his stride.

His valuation has seen an increment from the €40 million paid by Inter to Real Madrid to €50 million at the moment. He is also the most valuable African defender currently.

#5 Thomas Partey - €50 million

Thomas Partey
Thomas Partey

Thomas Partey is another player who secured a move to a new club this season and the only Ghanian footballer in the top 50 most valuable African players.

The 27-year-old was signed by Arsenal at the beginning of the season who triggered his release clause of €50 million at Atletico Madrid. Lucas Torreira also moved in the opposite direction on loan for the season.

Injury spells have stopped him from showcasing his true potential in the Premier League in his debut season. As a consequence, his transfer value has remained constant since October and he is valued at €50 million currently.

#4 Wilfred Zaha - €50 million

Wilfred Zaha
Wilfred Zaha

The inclusion of Wilfred Zaha in this list might surprise a few Premier League fans. The Crystal Palace star played regularly for England at the U-19, U-21 levels and even made a couple of appearances for the senior team in friendlies but switched his allegiance to Ivory Coast, his place of birth, in 2017.

The former Manchester United player is one of the most skilful attackers in the English top-flight and consistently ranks in the upper echolons in lists of players with most dribbles each season. He is one of the only 10 Premier League players to have been given a five-star skills rating by FIFA 21.

At 28, he is at his peak, physically and it is time he moves on for a bigger team to fulfil his true potential. Recurring injuries will keep any potential suitors wary of investing in the player, currently valued at €50 million.

Also See: 6 managers with the most Champions League trophies

#3 Kalidou Koulibaly - €60 million

Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the best defenders in Europe at the moment
Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the best defenders in Europe at the moment

Defenders have seen their market values rise over the last decade. Players like Virgil Van Dijk have proven that addition of a strong central defender can go a long way in changing a club's fortunes.

Kalidou Koulibaly is one such defender who adds a lot of steel to his side with his tough-tackling and timely interceptions. He was a key figure in I Partenopei's title-winning run in the Coppa Italia last season.

He is part of a very strong Senegal national team at the moment, and being the captain, is a commanding presence whenever The Lions of Teranga are in action.

#2 Sadio Mane - €120 million

Sadio Mane is one of the most valuable players in the world
Sadio Mane is one of the most valuable players in the world

Liverpool have one of the strongest squads in the world at the moment, having made it to the UEFA Champions League final two times in the last three campaign and lifting the Premier League title last season.

Sadio Mane's rise to becoming probably the best left winger in the world at Liverpool has been phenomenal, and looking back, his €40 million fee, paid in 2016, looks like an absolute bargain price.

He is in his fifth season with the club and has already won four big titles with The Reds. He also helped Senegal reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019. 2019-20 was the best campaign of his career but he has got off to a slow start this term.

He has been linked with a move to Real Madrid for the last year or so, but any club willing to sign him will have to dig deep into their coffers for a player who is currently valued at €120 million.

#1 Mohamed Salah - €120 million

Mo Salah
Mo Salah

Often called the 'Messi of Africa', Mo Salah is one of the best players in the world currently. The Egyptian winger has been very prolific since signing for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in 2017.

He has already breached the 100-goal mark for The Reds, becoming the only player since club legend Steven Gerrard to reach the landmark figure.

He is currently in his fourth season with the club and has already won the Golden Boot twice and is currently the leading goalscorer for the 2020-21 Premier League campain.

The player was the then record signing for the Merseyside club, costing €42 million in 2017. Unlike many of Liverpool's attacking signings, the player settled in really well at Anfield and is one of the most important players for them at the moment.

Also See: 5 most supported football clubs in the world

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Edited by S Chowdhury
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