African winners of 2014/15 season

After a long season, these five African players have stood out for their commitment, performances and part they’ve played in their team’s success in the 2014/15 season.

Stephane Mbia to Sevilla has been as enjoyable to watch as it sounds, since leaving Queens Park Rangers at the start of last season. The Cameroon international was unfortunate not to be able to have as good an Africa Cup of Nations campaign with the Indomitable Lions as his club successes, with Cameroon finishing bottom of Group D. Sitting deep in midfield, Mbia has still managed four goals in 27 La Liga appearances this season, helping Sevilla to fifth in the league and making history by securing back to back Europa League titles – the first time a club has done this since the re-branding in 2009. He has thrived since making his move permanent back in August and has already attracted interest in the Premier League with Crystal Palace and Trabzonspor of Turkey. He will have a lot of suitors this summer.

Over in the Bundesliga it has been Baba Rahman who has collected the rave reviews for his commanding displays at just 20-years-old. This has made him subject of a reported £20 million bid from EPL champions Chelsea. He has already made 11 appearances for Ghana and 31 for his club this season. He will been disappointed his side couldn’t win the Cup of Nations in January, but secured Augsburg’s European place in the Europa League next season. With many elite clubs reported to be lining up bids for the young Ghanaian, it will interesting to see where he plies his trade next season.

North of Spain and into Ligue 1 is another winner in the 2014/15 season, as AS Monaco’s Aymen Abdennour produced displays worthy of attention from across Europe. The 25-year-old scored is his side’s 2-0 home victory over Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League, with the Tunisian making 18 appearances this season. He has been attracting interest from all of Europe’s major leagues, including Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Wolfsburg. The North African has stated his desire to test himself in the Premier League and he did his displays against Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the Champions League would have helped put him in the shop window.

Demba Ba, like Mbia, has thrived since leaving the Premier League and has proved Chelsea he was worth keeping, scoring 18 goals in 29 appearances. His vital goals in Europe saw the Turkish side finish top of Group C, a point above Tottenham. He has proven why he should be competing in a better standard league, and no doubt there will be plenty of sides looking to acquire the Senegal international after he also finished on top of the scoring charts in the Turkish Super Lig. He was unfortunate to be left out of the Teranga Lions 2015 AFCON squad after a a public spat with the head coach, but no international commitments allowed him to fully concentrate on his club.

And finally, Max Gradel, who enjoyed a good season at both club and international level. He started off 2015 with AFCON success, as Ivory Coast won their second-ever continental title and never looked back. He has been a bargain signing since joining the club for £3 million back in 2011, and was exceptional this season in particular, making 31 appearances and scoring 17 goals from midfield. Saint-Etienne have been thoroughly rewarded for offering the Ivorian a new two-year deal which runs until 2017, with a fifth-placed finish which Gradel has hugely contributed towards. 13 goals in 13 games has attracted the interest of West Ham United and AFC Bournemouth, who are keen to make his dream EPL return a reality.



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