January Transfer Window: Who are Africa's greatest ever deals?
#6 Tariq Lamptey to Brighton & Hove Albion
Signed from Chelsea for just £5 million, Lamptey is one of several bargains on this list.
Seemingly unwanted by the Blues, where Frank Lampard envisaged Reece James as the future of his right-back berth, the Ghana wideman was allowed to depart in search of regular full-time football.
He’s been an overwhelming success, repaying Graham Potter’s original faith, and catching the eye with a series of dazzling displays down the Seagulls’ right flank.
His form prompted reported interest from the likes of Atletico Madrid and Arsenal, and Chelsea may well regret allowing this wonderkid to slip through their fingers.
Lamptey was part of the Ghana squad at the 2022 World Cup.
#5 Wilfried Zaha to Crystal Palace
At the time, Zaha’s Manchester United exit for Crystal Palace in 2013 was a step back for the precocious youngster, who had struggled to make the grade at Old Trafford after moving to the club from Selhurst Park.
However, since then, he’s gone on to become the Eagles’ talisman, and it remains to be seen whether they’d still be in the top flight had it not been for the Ivorian maestro.
Like a few others on this list, he’s regularly linked with bigger and better things, and whenever he does move, Palace can be confident that they’ll make a major profit on the £6 million they originally invested.
- Getty Images
#4 Yakubu to Portsmouth
Harry Redknapp took a punt on Nigeria’s Yakubu when he signed him from Maccabi Haifa—initially on loan—in January 2003.
The Portsmouth coach needed an x-factor to help Pompey over the line, and the Yak duly responded in style, netting seven in 14 outings to inspire the south-coast club back to the big time.
He subsequently spent time with Everton, Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers among others, and is the third highest African scorer in the top flight’s history, with 95 goals.
#3 Wilfed Ndidi to Leicester City
An under-the-radar £17 million signing from Genk, Ndidi immediately improved Leicester during their tricky post-title-winning season, as Claudio Ranieri lost his way and ultimately lost his job.
Ndidi impressed in the Champions League that year, but hasn’t returned since, despite establishing himself as one of world football’s finest defensive midfielders.
Despite troubling times at the King Power Stadium, he continues to be linked to clubs higher up the food chain.
- Getty Images
#2 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal
Admittedly, things turned sour, but across his initial two and a half seasons in the Premier League, Auba represented a superb acquisition for Arsenal.
He repaid the £57.38 million the Gunners paid with goals, goals, goals, winning the Golden Boot during his first full season in North London, before finishing second behind Jamie Vardy in his second full campaign.
The Gabon international also weighed in with three goals across both of Arsenal’s victorious showings in the FA Cup and Community Shield final, bringing silverware to the Emirates Stadium.
He's now back in English football with Chelsea, following a brief spell with Barcelona.
#1 Riyad Mahrez to Leicester City
An unknown when he arrived in England for a risible £400,000 in 2014, Mahrez had impressed in the French lower leagues, but no one could have anticipated he would go on to have in English football.
He was a key protagonist in Leicester City’s miraculous title-winning season—winning the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award that campaign—and subsequently clinched the African Footballer of the Year award.
The Foxes made a massive profit when they sold him to Manchester City for £60 million, and he immediately won a domestic treble under Pep Guardiola.