The top five African players in Serie A

The top five African players in Serie A
Napoli's defender Kalidou Koulibaly in action

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Apr 09, 2020. 16:00

The 2019-20 Serie A season, like all other major sport around the world, is on hold right now due to the coronavirus epidemic. While we have no live football to look forward to any time soon, that won’t stop us arguing over which African players have been the best in the Italian top flight this season.

Jeremie Boga – Ivory Coast, Sassuolo

One of the breakout stars of the current Serie A season – with eight goals and two assists – winger Jeremie Boga has been linked with a move back to Chelsea, a club where he came through the ranks before being sold to Sassuolo in 2018. The 23-year-old believes he can reach the same level as a Blues legend: “Hazard is definitely stronger than me, but not in my head, because I know my talent and I know that over time I can reach that level,” stated Boga.

2019-20 Serie A stats:

Appearances (subs) 21 (3)

Minutes played 1876

Goals 8

Assists 2

Yellow cards 0

Red Cards 0

Pass completion 86.1%

Sassuolo’s Jeremie Boga (L) in action against Brescia’s Stefano Sabelli (R)

Ismael Bennacer – Algeria, Milan

Milan’s struggles in Serie A this season have made the campaign a tough one for Algerian Ismael Bennacer, who signed for the Rossoneri on the back of being the player of the tournament in the Fennec Foxes’ triumph at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Yet he has still shown glimpses of great promise and could be a key man for Milan going forward.

2019-20 Serie A stats:

Appearances (subs) 18 (2)

Minutes played 1620

Goals 0

Assists 0

Yellow cards 12

Red Cards 0

Pass completion 86.4%

Torino’s Sasa Lukic (L) in action against AC Milan’s Ismael Bennacer

Gervinho – Ivory Coast, Parma

Gervinho has become a cult figure at Parma, but he nearly soured his relationship with the club in trying to force a transfer to the Middle East in the January transfer window. Nonetheless, a return of five goals and three assists is impressive for the veteran Ivorian.

2019-20 Serie A stats:

Appearances (subs) 18 (1)

Minutes played 1487

Goals 5

Assists 3

Yellow cards 3

Red Cards 0

Pass completion 80.1%

Parma’s Gervinho (R) and his teammate Yann Karamoh celebrate

Seko Fofana – Ivory Coast, Udinese

One goal, four assists and a fine pass completion percentage of 87.4 from 21 matches makes Seko Fofana a key figure for Udinese through this season and, having recently brought up a century of Serie A appearances, he has been strongly linked with move to the likes of West Ham United and Newcastle United.

2019-20 Serie A stats:

Appearances (subs) 16 (5)

Minutes played 1461

Goals 1

Assists 4

Yellow cards 2

Red Cards 0

Pass completion 87.4%

Seko Fofana

Kalidou Koulibaly – Senegal, Napoli

It has not been a vintage season for Napoli in Serie A this term, with the team struggling to reclaim the heights they have enjoyed in recent years. This is turn has seen Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly unable to be his usual assertive self, while injury has also set him back through 2019/20. Nonetheless, Koulibaly is being strongly linked with a move to Manchester United at the end of the season, and a world-record fee for a defender is likely to be Napoli’s asking price.

2019-20 Serie A stats:

Appearances (subs) 14 (1)

Minutes played 1218

Goals 0

Assists 0

Yellow cards 3

Red Cards 1

Pass completion 89.3%

Liverpool’s James Milner (left) and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly battle for the ball

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