Top 10: Africa’s most expensive players of all time

Top 10 most expensive African players of all time

Victor Osimhen ranks in the Top 3 while Mohamed Salah is No 9 on the list of the most expensive African players of all time

Football clubs have been known to overpay for the top players in the globe over the years. The amount that teams have to spend to recruit players has increased since transfers were introduced in 1983.

The first transfer fee recorded was £118, which Aston Villa paid for the signing of Willie Groves from West Brom in 1893. Over 100 years later, the most expensive transfer fee is the £199.8m PSG paid to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017.

During this time, African players were not left out. In 1998, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha was Africa’s most expensive player and one of the most expensive in the world after joining PSG for £11.16m.

However, several African players have been signed for more than that amount since then. As a result, Pulse Sports Nigeria highlights the Top 10 most expensive African players in football history.

Mane recently joined Bayern Munich for £28.8m, but before signing for the German champions, he spent six years with Liverpool. Mane joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2016 for £37.08m, making him the tenth most expensive African player.

Sadio Mane joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2016

While it looked like a huge fee then, it turned out to be an absolute bargain, considering what he achieved with the club.

Mane won every trophy with Liverpool, playing a key role and scoring over 100 goals before leaving this summer.

Salah may be the most valuable African player right now, but he arrived at Liverpool at a lower price. The Egyptian joined Liverpool for £37.80m from AS Roma in 2017, which looked like a ridiculous fee, considering Salah flopped at Chelsea.

However, just like Mane’s deal, it was an absolute steal for Liverpool. The ex-Fiorentina player has more than justified the price the Reds paid for his services.

Mohamed Salah is 9th on the list of the most expensive African players of all time because Liverpool got him on a bargain from AS Roma

Since arriving, Salah has been Liverpool’s best player, finishing as their top scorer every season. He recently signed a new long-term contract at the club.

Partey is eighth on the list of the most expensive African players following his move from Atletico Madrid to Arsenal two summers ago. The Ghanaian star joined the Gunners for £45m in 2020 after seven years in Spain.

 Thomas Partey secured a big-money move from Atletico Madrid to Arsenal in 2020

However, Partey is yet to fully justify his price tag, with injuries hampering his time at the club.

In joint eighth place is Ivory Coast international Sebastien Haller. Haller arrived at West Ham from Eintracht Frankfurt in 2019 with a lot of expectations. The 28-year-old joined the Hammers for £45m.

Haller failed to hit it off at West Ham United despite being one of the most expensive African players

However, the transfer never worked out as Haller left after just two years. He rediscovered his form at Ajax but recently joined Borussia Dortmund.

Keita joined Liverpool in 2018 for big money. The Reds signed the Guinean for £54m from RB Leipzig.

Keita has been hampered by injuries at Liverpool

While Keita has been a part of Liverpool’s recent success, he has not justified his standing as one of the most expensive African players due to recurring injuries with the Merseyside club.

Arsenal are responsible for three of the fees on this list, one of which is the deal that brought Aubameyang to the club. Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 for a then club-record fee of £57.38m.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was once Arsenal's record signing.

Aubameyang’s time at Arsenal was a success, but the most expensive Gabonese player in history left the club last January for FC Barcelona after falling out with Mikel Arteta.

Hakimi’s deal that took him from Inter Milan to PSG in 2021 puts him fourth on the list.

Achraf Hakimi joined PSG last summer for the fourth most expensive transfer in African history

The Moroccan international signed for the French Champions for £59.85m. He is the only defender on the list.

Mahrez joined Manchester City after playing a pivotal role in Leicester City’s stunning Premier League success in 2016. Although he spent one more season with the Foxes, Mahrez left Leicester in 2018 to sign for Man City for £61.02m, making him the third most expensive African player.

Riyad Mahrez has won Premier League trophies at Leicester City and Manchester City

Mahrez has already replicated his Leicester feat at the Etihad, winning the Premier League with Pep Guardiola’s men.

In 2020, Napoli paid £67.5m to bring Osimhen from Lille. Osimhen had joined Lille a season earlier from Royal Charleroi. But he left the French Club for Napoli after scoring 18 goals in all competitions.

Victor Osimhen is Napoli's record signing and top scorer for the 2021/22 season

Osimhen has had a rollercoaster ride so far in Naples, but he had a good year last season, scoring 18 goals for the club. Another transfer for Lagos-born striker is touted to break the record for the most expensive transfer for an African footballer.

Pepe sits alone at the top of the most expensive African players list after sealing a move to Arsenal in 2019. The Gunners purchased the Ivory Coast international for £72m from Lille, who sold him just before they bought Osimhen.

Nicolas Pepe joined Arsenal for a club record fee in 2019

However, Pepe’s move to Arsenal has not worked out so far, with the Ivory Coast star struggling for form.


This article first appeared on


Content contributor at AFAL [African Alert]. Sarah is a passionate copywriter who stalks celebrities all day.

Related Articles

Back to top button