African nations did particularly well at this year’s FIFA World Cup, especially Morocco, who became the first ever African country to reach the semi-finals of football’s most prestigious tournament. But the continent’s performance as whole came on leaps and bounds in Qatar with every nation recording at least one victory. As a result, many players have been linked with big moves, making in interesting to see what the future holds for African stars that impressed at the World Cup.
Yassine Bounou – Morocco
Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou had an impressive tournament between the sticks for the Atlas Lions, only conceding 5 goals throughout the entire competition, with 4 of those goals coming in the semi-finals and the third/fourth-place playoff.
His performances on the global stage has attracted interest from German giants Bayern Munich and English side Aston Villa, as per the Daily Mail.
The interest from Bayern comes as a result of goalkeeping legend Manuel Neuer’s injury sustained whilst on a skiing holiday. The 2014 World Cup winner is now set to miss the rest of the season and Bayern are hoping to replace him with Bounou.
However, Sevilla are trying to ward off the interest by making it clear they will not accept anything less than £26million for Bounou, who was named La Liga goalkeeper of the year in 2021/2022.
One to keep an eye on.
Azzedine Ounahi – Morocco
Azzedine Ounahi has been a revelation at the World Cup with his elegance and silky-smooth footwork catching the eye of many across the globe.
In a video that went viral, former Man United and Real Madrid boss José Mourinho was heard saying that the 22-year-old is ‘incredible,’ such has been the praise for Ounahi.
Furthermore, there’s a reason many Premier League clubs are circling around and showing interest in Ounahi, who currently plays for Ligue 1’s bottom-side Angers.
According to various UK outlets, Newcastle, Leicester City and Leeds all hold interest in Ounahi, which means the likely result will be a bidding-war, something that will suit Angers.
However, the Ligue 1 side could hold out for silly money given how important Ounahi is for them. His stats in Ligue 1 are almost twice as high as that in the World Cup. And if his performances in Qatar caught your eye, you can only imagine how important he is to Angers given that they get more from him on a weekly basis.
Mohammed Kudus – Ghana
Another young star who’s set to make a name for himself at one of Europe’s elite in the future in Ghana star Mohammed Kudus.
The current Ajax star is a versatile player that can operate in midfield or in more central attacking positions. This season, Kudus already has 9 goals in 20 appearances across the Eredivisie and the UEFA Champions League, including a rocket against Premier League giants Liverpool at Anfield.
It comes as no surprise that many big clubs are interested in the Ghanaian given he’s shown his talent on a domestic, continental and now global stage. And it seems this hot run of form is set to spark another bidding war as it’s been reported that Man United, Liverpool, Everton and Newcastle are interested in taking Kudus to England.
Kudus is a star every African should keep an eye on in the future. Given his education at Ajax and the reputation they have of developing young talent, he is sure to shine over the next decade.
Sofyan Amrabat – Morocco
Another player being touted by Liverpool, albeit way more heavily and mainly only to the Reds, is Sofyan Amrabat.
The combative Moroccan midfielder had a stellar tournament in Qatar, putting himself on the radar of many clubs despite not being a standout performer at club level with his side Fiorentina of Serie A.
Amrabat was crucial in sitting just in-front of the defence, breaking up play and protecting his backline with passion, desire and an element of control and certainty.
As a result, and as previously mentioned, Liverpool have reportedly taken a keen interest in signing the 26-year-old this January as they aim to bolster their midfield.
Amrabat reportedly represents exactly the type of midfielder Jürgen Klopp is looking for the here and now, but also to partner the potential signing of Jude Bellingham. Liverpool are reportedly in discussions with the Dortmund star as they aim to rejuvenate an aging midfield.
The Moroccan international will do well in Klopp’s system given his core attributes as well as his relentless work-rate and tireless approach, similar to that of Jordan Henderson.