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Adeyemo Gbenga
National Open University of Nigeria
300Level, Nigeria.
1. Kalidou Koulibaly: Jose Mourinho’s departure hasn’t completely cured Manchester United’s defensive ills, and the Red Devils are reportedly keen to bolster this area of their squad in January. The man most hotly tipped to be attracting glances from Old Trafford is Napoli’s Koulibaly. He’s one of world football’s elite centre-backs, even if a reported €120 million (£107m) asking price is eye-watering! The defender has been one of Serie A’s most consistent defenders for the last three seasons, and would be an immediate upgrade on United’s options. He’s also been linked with a move to Chelsea.

2. Eric Bailly: While the prospect of a Koulibaly-Bailly centre-back partnership would give United genuine presence and immense athleticism in the heart of the backline, the latter appears likely to give way should the Red Devils move for defensive reinforcements. Injury, a loss of form, and rumoured disagreements with Mourinho prevented Bailly from building on his strong start to life in England, but at 24, he still has time on his side. Sevilla are reportedly keen to take him back to Spain, but could a mooted move to Arsenal suit all parties?

3. Ismaila Sarr is another African All-Star who’s been linked with a move to Arsenal during the January transfer window as Unai Emery looks to remould the Gunners’ squad. Different potential agreements with Stade Rennais have been mentioned by various sources, with France Football suggesting the Londoners must pay over €30 million for the wideman. Reports in Senegal believe that a player-plus-cash (€16 million) deal has also been mooted for a player who has the pace, the technique and the footwork to be a massive hit in the Prem.

4. Baghdad Bounedjah: Back in December, France Football suggested that Leeds United and Olympique de Marseille were set to go head to head in a battle for the Algeria hitman, with a modest fee of £4.5 million mentioned. Bounedjah, who was named in the Goal Africa Team of the Year for 2018, recently signed a new deal with Qatari side Al Sadd, so that fee would need to increase significantly if either club were to snare him. Leicester City have also been linked to the striker, who netted an astonishing 60 goals during the last calendar year.

5. Wilfried Zaha was the subject of transfer interest ahead of this window, with Dalian Yifang reportedly keen to make the Crystal Palace man the latest high-profile African export to China. The deal, which was reportedly set to see Zaha earn £44 million after tax over a four-year contract, would have made him one of the world’s best paid players. However, both the wideman and Eagles boss Roy Hodgson have downplayed the rumours..for now. Would Palace be wise to cash in on the Ivorian, or would they later regret offloading a key threat?



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