Most Expensive African Players of All Time

Most Expensive African Players of All Time
Credit: Iconsport

The football world is abuzz with the Kylian Mbappe transfer news making the rounds just days after the 2023 UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul, Turkey. The PSG star player in a letter addressed to his current club informed his decision not to extend his contract beyond 2024 as reported by Fabrizio Romano on Monday, June 12.

This Mbappe transfer news has ignited interest from Real Madrid once more. After failing to land the player last season, Real Madrid's president Florentino Perez, is watching carefully how PSG reacts. The French giants have made their position known that they'll not let Mbappe go for free, and sources have revealed the club have placed up to €200 million on him, which makes Mbappe transfer news the hottest topic right now in world football.

Neymar's €222 million transfer in August, 2017 is the current record for the most expensive player in history. However, with Mbappe transfer news away from PSG a possibility this transfer window, we're fairly confident the fee will rank amongst the top two in the world.

With that in mind, African players have not commanded such huge amount in transfers, but some have been sold by their clubs for ridiculous amounts in the past. The most expensive  African players of all time have gone from one star player to another over the years as their market values rise and fall. Super Eagles Victor Osimhen is currently the most valuable player in Africa. At the time of writing, it is not known which club will trigger the €160 million asking price that Napoli set on him. Should he move this summer, he will be the most expensive African player in history.

Read on to know African players who made big money moves in and out of Europe to earn themselves a place amongst the most expensive players out of Africa.

10. Mohamed Salah

AS Roma to Liverpool, 2017 – €42 million

Mohamed Salah with Liverpool manager
Credit: Iconsport

The Egyptian star returned to England in 2017 as a refined player after his first outing at Chelsea didn't go as expected. Mo Salah hit the ground running in his first season upon joining Liverpool. He would go ahead to set a new record for the most goals scored in a 38 match campaign in the English Premier League with 32 goals in his first season at Anfield, a record now broken by Erling Haaland.

Salah has established himself as one of the legends of Liverpool after helping them win their first EPL title in over 30 years. The Egyptian has EPL player of the year award under his belt and in the 2022/23 season, he became Liverpool's all time highest goal scorer at Anfield.

9. Thomas Partey

Atletico Madrid to Arsenal, 2020 – €50 million

Thomas Partey, Arsenal
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Thomas Partey ranks 9th in the list of most expensive African players of all time. The 28-year-old Ghana International joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid in a transfer worth €50 million in 2020.

8. Sebastian Haller

Eintracht Frankfurt to West Ham, 2019 – €50 million

Sebastian Haller, Dortmund
Credit: Iconsport

The Ivorian striker Sebastein Haller joined the list of the most expensive African footballers of all time after he was signed by West Ham United, for a club-record transfer worth €50 Million in 2019. Since then, he has moved to Ajax, winning the Eredivisie and the league's top scorer award for 2022. He currently plays in the Bundesliga, for Borussia Dortmund.

7. Achraf Hakimi

Inter Milan to PSG, 2021 – €60 million

PSG's Achraf Hakimi
Credit: Iconsport

Achraf Hakimi joined the French giants in 2021 making him the most expensive African footballer at the time. The Right Back helped Inter win the league in his first season, 2020, before moving to PSG in 2021. He was part of the Morocco team that became the first African country to reach the FIFA World Cup semifinal in Qatar, 2022.

6. Naby Keita

Leipzig to Liverpool, 2018 – €60 million

Naby Keita for Liverpool
Credit: Iconsport

Naby Keita became the African most expensive player after he moved from Leipzig to Liverpool in 2018. He won both the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup in his first season, and went on to win the Premier League title the next season.

5. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Dortmund to Arsenal, 2018 – €63.8 million

Aubameyang, Chelsea player
Credit: Iconsport

Auba scored 21 goals in 24 matches in his final season at Dortmund. He joined Arsenal in a record transfer fee in 2018 as the most expensive African player. The former Arsenal captain led the Gunners to win their 14th FA Cup title in 2020, scoring twice to defeat Chelsea, to make Arsenal the all-time highest winners of the FA Cup. He currently plays for Chelsea.

4. Cedric Bakambu

Villarreal to Beijing Guoan, 2018 – €65 million

Cedric Bakambu
Credit: Iconsport

DR Congo International Cedric Bakambu joined the list of the most African expensive players of all time after he was signed for a record fee of €65m. He was signed by the Chinese outfit, Beijing Guoan from Villarreal in 2018.

3. Riyad Mahrez

Leicester City to Man City, 2018 – €67.8 million

Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City
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Manchester City announced the signing of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for a club record fee of €67.8m in July 2018. The Algerian winger was part of the Leicester team that won the Premier League in 2016. Pep Guardiola lured the talented winger to his side because of his playmaking ability.

Upon his arrival at Etihad, he was quick to adapt and blend into the City type of play. He would go on to win several titles with Manchester City including the 2023 UCL.

2. Victor Osimhen

Lille to Napoli, 2020 – €70 million

Victor Osimhen, Napoli
Credit: Iconsport

After a stellar performance from Victor Osimhen for the French Ligue 1 side in 2020, where he notched 18 goals for Lille, the Super Eagles striker moved to Napoli and became one of the current most expensive players to ever come out of Africa with a transfer fee of €70 million. He has just helped Napoli win their first league title in 33 years with his 26 goal tally that saw him set a new African scoring record in the Serie A.

1. Nicolas Pepe

Lille to Arsenal, 2019 – €80 million

Nicolas Pepe
Credit: Iconsport

Nicolas Pepe became Arsenal's record signing, and Africa's most expensive player when he moved to the London side from Lille, in 2019. The Ivorian had a good season at Lille, scoring 22 goals and double digits assists to catch the eyes of the Arsenal hierarchy.

Kylian Mbappe will leave PSG someday, and the fee that'll be paid for his services elsewhere will be more than double the sale of Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal in 2019. We are not sure where the PSG superstar will go next, but Mbappe transfer news will continue to make headlines until the end of the transfer window.

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago