Africans on the move and what they bring to their respective clubs
The winter transfer window is known for being an opportunity for the stranded to make-up on their weaknesses and bolster their squads in a bid to save their campaign with 6 months left before the end of the season for most football leagues across the globe. January came and passed, and it is no surprise that Africans dominated the headlines of players on the move to different leagues. Let’s briefly look into those that made the loudest buzz.
Niasse – Everton to Cardiff
With the unexpected disappearance of Emiliano Sala, Cardiff City were left stranded without a striker. In Sala, they had found the answer to their problems further up the pitch. Cardiff needed goals to get out of the relegation places and turned their attention to Everton forward Oumar Niasse.
Niasse was once again struggling for game-time this season, under Marco Silva. He was limited to just 5 substitute appearances since the beginning of the campaign. In contrast, Niasse has already started 3 matches under Neil Warnock at Cardiff although he is yet to repay the boss’ faith in bringing him to the struggling team in this difficult time.
What to expect: Niasse is not the prolific goalscorer that a club like Cardiff wish they had but he is guaranteed to put in a performance and chip in with an odd goal when it matters the most.
Victor Moses – Chelsea to Fenerbahce
This is a weird one. You would have thought the former Nigerian international would have a chance to show his true potential in a wide forward role at a big club after announcing his retirement from international football. Maurizio Sarri had other plans. There were early signs that most of us ignored. Callum Hudson-Odoi was handed a start against Arsenal in pre-season ahead of the experienced Victor Moses. The situation did not get better for him as he could only manage 26 minutes in the English Premier League.
However, he has since sought greener pastures after deciding to move to Fenerbahce on an 18-month loan deal. The move is positive for the African player as it presents him an opportunity to start afresh at a relatively competitive side that often play UEFA Champions League football. Victor Moses will look to make the right flank his own in the Turkish League and once again prove how deadly he can be with the backing of his manager.
What to expect: Moses has long been criticized for his goalscoring stats and it does not look like he would change that anytime soon with the player well in his 20s. But, he could breathe a new life in terms of creativity for the legendary club and regenerate his career like Gervinho who happens to be steamrolling the Italian Serie A.
Yohan Benalouane – Leicester to Nottingham Forest
It was only a matter of time before the 31-year old left the King Power Stadium. His colleagues have been gradually freezed out of the first team fold because of their age and Claude Puel has preferred Harry Maguire who is owning the centre back spot and not looking back. Moving away from Leicester City was the only logical thing for the Tunisian international if he wished to increase the number of minutes he was getting.
Nottingham Forest came in for the experienced defender. Their ambition is to make it to the play-off places as they currently lie 5 points adrift of 6th placed Bristol City. The club have been in great need of a player to protect the backline and they have got one in Yohan.
What to expect: Yohan Benalouane might be a bit rusty which explains the 3 yellow cards and 1 red card he has already received in the Championship. However, they will soon enjoy the presence of the towering defender who bullies strikers for fun and shrugs off anyone who comes his way.