Who were Africa’s biggest Premier League flops this season?

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Iheanacho, Jordan Ayew, Aubameyang
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Ed Dove names and shames the continent’s biggest underperformers in the top flight this term

  1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
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    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

    He eventually ended the season in style—with 11 goals in 17 La Liga matches for Barcelona—but where was that Aubameyang during the first half of the campaign?

    The Gabon striker was sold by Arsenal after scoring just four until departing for the Africa Cup of Nations—that didn’t go well either!—by which point he had been suspended by the Gunners and stripped of the captaincy.

    The 32-year-old may have won the FA Cup with the North London side, but he was a shadow of the player he once was when he limped out of the club earlier this year.

  2. Kelechi Iheanacho
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    Kelechi Iheanacho

    After scoring 12 goals last term—a career best—Iheanacho was expected to kick on at LeicesterCity this season.

    Admittedly, it was a difficult season for the club, and he didn’t exactly get the playing time from Brendan Rodgers that he would have been hoping for, but nonetheless, the striker’s return was disappointing.

    He bagged only four goals across 26 league outings, and while five assists makes that tally a little more admirable, has Iheanacho really done enough to demonstrate that he can be the long-term successor to Jamie Vardy?

  3. William Troost-Ekong
    Watford.

    William Troost-Ekong

    Didn’t truly look Premier League-ready during the first half of the season, as Watford’s defence struggled to contain the top flight’s finest marksmen.

    Things only got worst after the Africa Cup of Nations, as incoming Hornets boss Roy Hodgson reshuffled his defence.

    The Nigeria centre-back only played 12 minutes in the top flight since the Super Eagles’ exit by Tunisia, and he must now hope that he will still be considered as a building block upon which the club can mount a return to the top tier.

  4. Nicolas Pepe
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    Nicolas Pepe

    The fact that Pepe scored more in four Africa Cup of Nations matches than he did during the entirety of a Premier League season says it all.

    The wideman had a hand in just three goals all season for Mikel Arteta’s side, and as the new-look Gunners threatened to take shape, it was increasingly clear that Pepe wouldn’t be a part of it.

    Now 26, and further away than ever from realising his potential at the club, a change of scene is necessary.

  5. Jordan Ayew
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    Jordan Ayew

    Admittedly, Jordan improved on his goals tally from last season—three vs one—but it was still miles away from the eye-catching performances he put in during the Covid-hit year of 2019-20.

    Indeed, he went 45 games without scoring a goal before finding the net in December, even though he does still retain some support from the fanbase for his work rate and endeavour.

    The attacker still receives praise from Patrick Vieira, but as CrystalPalace evolve, will he still have a role to play?

  6. Eric Bailly
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    Eric Bailly

    There were times—as Manchester United lurched from one defensive crisis to another—that hope blossomed that the club might turn to Bailly as they looked to sole their issues at the back.

    Ultimately, it almost never happened, as the centre-back managed just three league starts throughout the campaign.

    Despite penning a new deal last year, he was largely sidelined by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick—injuries or no injuries—and hasn’t featured for the Red Devils since late December.

    End of the road?