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Africa Cup of Nations: 9 Youngsters & Potential Transfer Targets to Keep an Eye on at the Tournament

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations gets underway on June 21, as the continent’s finest square off in Egypt.

It’s the perfect opportunity for players everywhere to make a name for themselves, or to enhance their already glowing reputations.

Here’s a look at nine of the finest youngsters and potential transfer targets to keep an eye on this summer.

Andre Onana


One of the many youngsters who excelled during Ajax’s surprise run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19, Andre Onana has proven himself to be one of the most talented young goalkeepers in world football.

The 23-year-old’s remarkable reactions, tidy footwork and towering frame have made him a potential target for ​Manchester United, who will no doubt be keeping a close eye on his progress for Cameroon this month.

Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly

​Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly was voted as the best defender in Serie A and a case could even be put forward to suggest that he’s now one of the best centre-backs in world football. Of course, that means everyone wants a piece of the Senegalese centre-back this summer. 

At times he’s almost single-handedly dragged I Partenopei to victory over the past few seasons, with his proactive defensive work being matched by his willingness to drive beyond an opposition midfield. United, Paris Saint-Germain and ​Juventus have all been linked with an approach for the 27-year-old, but his future remains very uncertain.

Moussa Wague

Moussa Wague

It has already been confirmed that 20-year-old right-back Moussa Wague will be making the step up to ​Barcelona’s first team next season, so he will be one to keep tabs on this summer – especially as Senegal are expected to go deep into the tournament.

Wague has made three appearances for the Blaugrana in La Liga after impressing for their ‘B’ team and Ernesto Valverde views him as a potential replacement for Nelson Semedo, has hasn’t been totally convincing during his time at the club.

Hachraf Hakimi

Achraf Hakimi

Achraf Hakimi’s season came to a premature end when he suffered a metatarsal fracture in March, but he has returned to full fitness and will be ready to represent Morocco in Egypt.

The ​Real Madrid man, who is currently on loan at ​Borussia Dormtund on a two-year deal, was in stellar form during the 2018/19 campaign and his dexterity meant that he was equally comfortable playing on both flanks. He’s still just 20 years old, but he is certainly one of Morocco’s most influential players – let’s just hope he hasn’t rushed back from injury too quickly.

Thomas Partey

Thomas Teye Partey

​Atletico Madrid are undergoing a huge squad overhaul this summer, but they would do well to hold on to Ghanaian Thomas Partey, who has garnered a reputation as one of the best defensive midfielders in La Liga over the past few seasons.

Manchester United, ​Arsenal and ​Inter have all been cited as potential candidates to sign the 26-year-old, who possesses the sort of skill set most midfielders who would be invariably envious of. He’s a commanding physical presence, recycles possession efficiently and is lethal from distance, making him an asset for anyone willing to fork out a huge sum to snap him up.

Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech

Another member of that supremely talented Ajax side, Ziyech currently has the world at his feet and plenty of potential suitors who are looking to whisk him away from the Netherlands this summer.

Arsenal and ​Liverpool are amongst the interested parties and his relatively low valuation of €35m makes him a very attractive prospect – especially when you compare it to the 21 goals and 24 assists he was able to register in 2018/19.

Samuel Chukwueze


20-year-old Samuel Chukwueze had plenty of hype surrounding him when he joined Villarreal and he demonstrated exactly why in 2018/19, enjoying a breakout season for the Yellow Submarine – earning him a well deserved call up for Nigeria.

Liverpool have been keeping tabs on the young winger – who found the back of the net eight times last season – and will no doubt be interested to see how he performs on the international stage. Villarreal endured a difficult campaign and with no European football on offer next season, he could certainly be on the move.

Ismaila Sarr


Rennes have been able to nurture some excellent talents over the past few years – including Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele – and the latest hot prospect strutting his stuff for the Ligue 1 outfit is Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr.

Sarr was in fine form during 2018/19, especially during Rennes’ impressive Europa League run, which has attracted interest from Arsenal and in more recent weeks, ​Leicester and ​Watford. He’ll play a starring role for Senegal – as he did in the World Cup last year – so expect plenty of goals and assists from the 21-year-old. 

Nicolas Pepe


If you support any of the top sides in Europe, then you have probably heard about Lille’s Nicolas Pepe, who exploded onto the scene with some incredible performances in France.

The Ivorian can play anywhere across a forward line and is very proficient in front of goal, with Kylian Mbappe being the only player to outscore him in France. ​Bayern Munich, Liverpool and United all have their sights set on the 24-year-old, but he won’t come cheap as Lille are looking for at least €60m.

Source : 90min

Source: 90min

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