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We pick the Afcon 2019 Team of the Tournament. Five Algerian players, four from Senegal and two from Nigeria’s Super Eagles make the cut.

07 August 2019, by: Leonard Solms


With the 2019/20 Premier League off-season transfer window now closed, we have seen several high-profile moves already. Among the most notable were Manchester United’s signing of Harry Maguire, Chelsea’s pre-agreed acquisition of Christian Pulisic and Arsenal’s surprise capture of David Luiz.

Maguire and Luiz have been tried and tested in the Premier League while Pulisic has four seasons in Borussia Dortmund’s first team behind him already. These three players are far from unknown quantities by now, but there are other new Premier League players who have either recently burst onto the big stage or appear to be on the verge of doing so.

We have picked out six in particular who could be in for landmark campaigns in 2019/20.

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There are still several hurdles ahead for the supremely talented 19-year-old. However, at this early stage, it almost appears as if he has all of Mario Balotelli’s best qualities without the strings attached.

Kean burst onto the scene in 2018/19, particularly towards the end of the season. He not only netted six goals in six Serie A matches for Juventus, but also scored twice for Italy in the middle of that run.

What Kean has not yet done is prove his consistency over the course of a full season. Under Marco Silva at Everton, he finally has his chance.

He is by no means an unknown quantity after a stellar season at Atlético Madrid, but Rodri has taken a step up by signing for Pep Guardiola’s side. Early indications are that he is a perfect fit.

Rodri produced a masterclass in the Community Shield win over Liverpool, proving to be an ideal link between defence and attack. A tough tackler who is comfortable on the ball and knows how to pick a pass, he is the perfect answer to City’s failure to sign Jorginho a year ago.

Already, the 23-year-old has proven to be a great player. However, he is on our list because this could be the season he becomes a superstar.

The Egyptian winger has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the last 12 months. What started with an incredible season for Kasımpaşa progressed into a fine Africa Cup of Nations for Egypt and ended with a dream Premier League move.

Trézéguet completed an incredible 112 dribbles in last season’s Turkish Super Lig, 31 more than any other player. He was arguably Egypt’s star performer in their disappointing Afcon campaign and he has shown his worth in pre-season for his new club.

At an absolute bargain price (reportedly £8.75 million), Villa have signed a 24-year-old with the world at his feet. To Premier League defenders, all we can say is: good luck trying to take it off him!

Spurs sent out a major statement of intent when they signed Real Betis midfielder lo Celso on loan.

The former Paris Saint-Germain man had his most prolific season in 2018/19, scoring 16 goals in 45 appearances. At 23 years of age, he is already an established Argentina international.

If lo Celso makes the transition from great to world class this season, he can help Spurs launch a genuine bid for the Premier League title.

Eintracht Frankfurt have been tremendously successful in recent seasons and Haller has had a significant part to play. His 19 goals helped them finish seventh in the Bundesliga and qualify for the Europa League semi-finals.

West Ham pulled off a shrewd bit of business when they snapped the former France U21 international up. Still only 25 years old, he now has the chance to show that he can cut it in the world’s most prestigious football league. This would surely lead to him catching the eye of Les Bleus senior boss Didier Deschamps.

While the headlines focused predominantly on David Luiz, Arsenal snapped up arguably their most exciting left-back since Ashley Cole. That is some statement to make, but only the most talented can reach 100 games for Scottish giants Celtic while aged just 20.

Tierney did so in 2017 and now heads to Arsenal two years on, off the back of four consecutive Scottish league triumphs. Quick, versatile and creative, he has the potential to be a huge hit at the Emirates Stadium.

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Leonard Solms is a sports journalist who features regularly on various local and international platforms including ESPN, New Frame, FARPost, Tagged Online and Careers Magazine, as well as this one. He enjoys the occasional bet and the most important tip he can give you is to bet within your means.

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