FIFA World Cup

Ranking the 10 Africans Most Likely to Earn Transfers on Back of World Cup Form

Ed DoveContributor IIIApril 23, 2014

Ranking the 10 Africans Most Likely to Earn Transfers on Back of World Cup Form

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    World Cup summers naturally bring with them a flurry of transfer activity. Clubs either attempt to tie down players before others become interested ahead of the tournament, or scour the competition to make the final call on a potential new recruit.

    The 2014 edition will be no different.

    Africa’s five nations can all boast of excellent talents and feature players at various different stages of their careers.

    This article ranks the ten most likely to switch clubs this summer on the back of their World Cup performances.

10. Nicolas N'koulou

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    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    Shorn of their stars and their aura, and not even challenging the likes of Saint-Etienne and Lille for a spot in the Champions League, Marseille are a club on the slide.

    Their malaise seems to have affected some of their better players and Nicolas N'koulou, the centre-back, has been a shadow of his former self in recent fixtures.

    Nonetheless, he is a young player (24) with the qualities to tempt clubs of the status of Napoli or even his former side Monaco.

    A good World Cup could be the perfect launch pad for a fresh start.

9. Jordan Ayew

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Things stagnated for Jordan Ayew at Marseille, so much so that the club saw fit to send him out on loan to Sochaux at the beginning of the January window.

    The Ghanaian had been wandering aimlessly at the Stade Velodrome and required a jolt to get him to return to top form.

    It took him a while to get going in the modest confines of Montbeliard, but now that he has the bit between his teeth, Herve Renard has begun to get the best out of the talented young Black Star.

    If he can continue his impressive form in Brazil, then Ayew’s encouraging 2014 might be about to get a whole lot better.

8. Benoit Assou-Ekotto

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    There are major doubts as to whether Andre Villas-Boas’ decision to jettison Benoit Assou-Ekotto at the beginning of the season was a wise one.

    Danny Rose hasn't quite become the defender many had hoped he would, and when he has been injured, the Tottenham Hotspur defence has been weakened by the decision to shift Jan Vertonghen to the flank.

    Nevertheless, Cameroon full-back Assou-Ekotto hasn't exactly set the world alight down in the second tier on loan at Queens Park Rangers.

    This summer affords him an opportunity to kick-start what is likely to be the final third of his career.

    If he can provide the Indomitable Lions with the width and the penetration that they have so often lacked, then he may be welcoming attention and a route out of White Hart Lane after the tournament.

7. Salomon Kalou

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Kalou never quite managed to convince at Chelsea. Despite playing for the club for six years, winning the Premier League, FA Cup (four times) and the Champions League, Kalou remained an impact player and largely struggled to hold down a first-team berth.

    Since arriving at Lille, he has become a much more influential figure. He has been Man of the Match on six occasions and has scored 14 goals since the summer.

    Any more in Brazil, where he will start for the Cote d’Ivoire, and Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur might make concrete their reported interest.

6. Majeed Waris

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    At the time of writing, Valenciennes are six points off safety in Ligue 1. It’s frightening to imagine where they might be had it not been for Waris Majeed.

    The Ghanaian’s form has tailed off a little lately, but since arriving on loan in January he has scored nine goals and at least given VAFC a fighting chance of survival.

    Even if he and his French club can pull of the unthinkable, there’s no chance Waris will be sticking around.

    Spartak Moscow might decide to take him back, but if Majeed can star in Brazil, the Russian club might decide to take the big money that may well be on offer.

5. Aissa Mandi

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    Anis Belghoul

    It is hard to find too many African left-backs who are more accomplished than Faouzi Ghoulam at the time of writing.

    The Algerian learned his trade in Ligue 1, with Saint-Etienne, before sealing a high-profile move to Napoli.

    He has performed superbly under Rafael Benitez and, at only 23, he has a bright future ahead of him.

    On the opposite flank, Aissa Mandi will be hoping to enjoy a similar trajectory over the coming years.

    Having made his Desert Foxes debut earlier this year, he should take his place in the defence during the World Cup. If things go well, Stade de Reims might be fielding a few calls come July.

4. John Obi Mikel

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    John Obi Mikel might have been given the nod to start Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid, but it was a rare occasion—there might not be too many more of them for the Nigerian.

    The central midfielder was already linked with a departure during the summer and the January arrival of Nemanja Matic has pushed him even further down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

    Mikel is a different, more adventurous, influential and creative player in the green of Nigeria and could be the difference between progression and elimination this summer.

    Should he realise his potential with the Super Eagles in Brazil, a number of clubs might opt to make him the centrepiece of their midfield.

3. Samuel Eto'o

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Despite Jose Mourinho’s regular criticism of his striking options this season, Samuel Eto’o has, on occasion, showed the class that made him one of Europe’s finest forwards once upon a time.

    The Cameroon hitman scored early and pertinent goals in big matches against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Galatasaray, and he will be the Indomitable Lions’ overriding personality this summer.

    The Central Africans may well struggle to get out of the group, but the occasion should provide a convenient platform for Eto’o to remind potential American suitors of his aura and global status.

    A goal or two wouldn't hurt either…

2. Victor Moses

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    What a dreadful year it’s been for Victor Moses.

    Exiled from Chelsea after Jose Mourinho’s arrival at the club, he arrived at Liverpool but hasn't performed like so many of his new team-mates have.

    He may end up with a league winner’s medal—but don’t expect him to be staying around at Anfield for too much longer after the season’s end.

    The World Cup, therefore, provides Moses with an opportunity to remind teams across Europe of his talent.

    Some direct and devastating performances for Nigeria—as he delivered for the Super Eagles at the Cup of Nations in 2013—might convince Roberto Martinez, for example, to arrange a reunion at Everton.

1. Serge Aurier

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    For almost all of the season Ivorian defender Serge Aurier has been earmarked as a potential recruit for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal this summer.

    Aurier’s profile as a Francophone African, his superb and consistent showings for Toulouse in Ligue 1 and the ongoing confusion around Bacary Sagna’s future have set the scene perfectly for a switch to the Emirates Stadium.

    The versatile Aurier would likely thrive in the Premier League, as a centre-back, a right-back, or even slightly further forward, but it would be in Arsenal’s interests to tie a deal up as soon as possible.

    The youngster may well be one of the World Cup’s stars and the Gunners might risk some serious competition for his signature unless a deal is agreed soon.

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