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Transfer Window 2022: Grading Africa's biggest signings

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Koulibaly asks John Terry permission to wear number 26 at Chelsea (0:55)

Kalidou Koulibaly speaks to Chelsea legend John Terry to ask permission to wear his famous number 26 shirt at Chelsea. (0:55)

As ever, some of Africa's top talents have been the subject of some of the big talking points of the transfer window.

Some of the continent's star players have already switched clubs, while others are in the grip of transfer sagas that may yet run until deadline day.

We have graded the biggest deals involving African players in this transfer window, with the most recent write-ups at the top.

We'll update this article with all of the high-profile deals featuring the continent's star players before the window slams shut on Sept. 1.

July 20

CALVIN BASSEY
€23m (£19.6m, $23.4m)

Rangers: B
Ajax Amsterdam: B+

Having lost Noussair Mazraoui on a free transfer to Bayern Munich, Ajax needed a replacement at right-back, and duly turned to Rangers' Bassey.

It's a signing that makes sense for all parties.

The Scots make a significant profit on the Nigeria international, having picked him up on a pre-contract from Leicester City two years ago, but they may have trouble replacing him.

Bassey's immense athleticism permitted Giovanni van Bronckhorst to play a particularly high line with the Scottish giants, as he fulfilled a recovery role not dissimilar to that of Kyle Walker at Manchester City.

Ajax will be aware of the defender's limitations, notably the accuracy of his passing, but the 22-year-old certainly has a high ceiling for improvement.

July 16

KALIDOU KOULIBALY
€40m (£34m, $41m)

Napoli: C
Chelsea: A-

Chelsea were desperate for new blood in the heart of their defence, after the departure of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, and in Koulibaly they've signed one of the finest centre-backs in the world game.

Ideally, Senegal's Africa Cup of Nations winner would have departed Napoli a few transfer windows ago, but, at 31, he will still give some of his best years to Thomas Tuchel's side.

The €40 million fee is a bargain for Chelsea, while Napoli -- who were demanding €100 million before the coronavirus pandemic -- will be unable to replace Koulibaly's quality any time soon.

July 12

JOE ARIBO
€7.1m (£6m, $7.2m)

Rangers: C
Southampton: B+

Aribo is another player who moved for a cut-price fee after entering the final year of his contract, and Rangers could realistically have expected to recoup more for a player of his talents.

He'll be hard to replace as well, having scored 26 goals from midfield in 148 outings for the club since signing from Charlton Athletic.

Southampton, by contrast, have picked up one of the African bargains of the summer, with the midfielder boasting the potential to be one of the finest in his position outside the top five.

Aribo has already begun winning over Saints fans, scoring a wondergoal in a pre-season friendly against Villarreal -- picking up the ball in his own box and driving the length of the pitch, beating five opponents in the process, before finishing with aplomb.

July 4

FRANCK KESSIE
Free

AC Milan: C-
Barcelona: A

Kessie is a superb acquisition for Barcelona -- arriving from Milan on a free transfer having come to the end of his contract - as they're picking up one of Europe's finest midfielders for his peak years.

At 25, Kessie should take his game to new heights although he already has the experience of a freshly delivered Serie A title triumph.

Perhaps there are questions about whether he can adapt to life at Barcelona and the specific style required by Xavi Hernandez, but his energy, leadership skills and technical prowess should make him a major success.

July 1

NAYEF AGUERD
€35.8m (£30m, $37m)

Stade Rennais: B+
West Ham United: B+

After attempting to sign Morocco's Aguerd last season, David Moyes finally got his mane when West Ham parted with a hefty £30 million for the defender.

Aguerd will relish the challenge of tougher competition and the natural next step in his career; he's already featured in the UEFA Champions League and established himself as one of Ligue 1's finest central defenders.

The 26-year-old's ankle injury is certainly a setback, but in time he should prove a complementary partner for Kurt Zouma, ensuring the Hammers get long-term value for their investment.

Rennes have also done well to receive such a fee having paid an initial estimated €5m to recruit Aguerd from Dijon in 2020.

SADIO MANE
€32m (£27.4m, $35m)

Liverpool: B
Bayern Munich: A

Ostensibly, the loss of reigning African Footballer of the Year Mane weakens Liverpool, who will struggle to replace his consistent threat -- 90 Premier League goals across six seasons at Anfield -- and his departure has an "end of an era" feel.

On the other hand, if new acquisition Darwin Nunez and January signing Luis Diaz can weigh in with considerable goal hauls of their own, then the Reds' decision to cash in on the 30-year-old -- entering the final year of his deal -- in a deal that may rise to €41 million may appear to be a shrewd move.

Mane has already won silverware at Bayern -- scoring in the Supercup rout of RB Leipzig -- and he should be a massive hit during his three-year deal in Bavaria.

Will another African Footballer of the Year gong soon be beckoning?

YVES BISSOUMA
€29.9m (£25m, $30m)

Brighton & Hove Albion: C
Tottenham Hotspur: B+

Brighton, like Liverpool, recouped a decent transfer fee for a player entering the final year of his contract, but with Bissouma only 25 they may have harboured realistic hopes of retaining his services a little longer.

Similarly, the Seagulls may have hoped for a greater pay-off for the Mali international considering his consistent performances for Graham Potter's side since his arrival in England.

The player already knows the ins and outs of the Premier League, likely reducing the adaptation time he'll require in North London, but the jury's out on whether he's a tangible upgrade on Spurs' existing midfield options.

TAIWO AWONIYI
£20.9m (£17.5m, $21.2m)

1. FC Union Berlin: A
Nottingham Forest: B

Not a massive outlay in today's market, but Forest are certainly pinning their hopes on Awoniyi being the team's primary source of goals as they look to avoid relegation.

It's a risky strategy, even if the forward's directness coupled with the pace and guile of Jesse Lingard (another of 12 signings so far) should give Forest some venom on the counter.

He departed Liverpool only a year ago, but an unexpectedly outstanding season for Union Berlin, in which he bagged 15 goals (his previous career best for a campaign was five), saw him identified as the man to fire Forest away from relegation.

Awoniyi must prove that last season was no one-off, but he's never previously played in the Premier League, and, given Forest's anticipated limitations, will have to make the most of the few chances that come his way.

Union have made a considerable profit on the forward, having signed him for just £6.5 million 12 months ago, and may have had few qualms about selling him with his stock at a career-high to date.

ANDRE-FRANK ZAMBO ANGUISSA
€15m (£12.5m, $15.2m)

Fulham: E
Napoli: B+

Fulham signed Zambo Anguissa for a club-record £30 million in the summer of 2018, but they consistently struggled to get the best out of him, have endured two relegations since, and made a £17.5 million loss on a player who ought to have been a neat investment.

The Cottagers could have attempted to reintegrate him (again) into their squad as they look to remain in the top tier, although Marco Silva has made it clear that he only wants players who are utterly committed to the Londoners' cause.

While on loan at Villarreal, the Cameroon international attracted interest from Real Madrid, and Napoli know what they're getting, having enjoyed the player's services temporarily last season.

His dribbling through the heart of the park is a major weapon for the Partenopei, and, who knows, perhaps he will be the last African player Napoli sign considering club president Aurelio De Laurentiis' bizarre comments this week that he will not recruit another player from the continent.

NOUSSAiR MARZAOUI
Free

Ajax Amsterdam: D
Bayern Munich: A-

Another top-quality player from the Ajax production line, hewn from De Toekomst, Mazraoui should have followed in the footsteps of the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Lisandro Martinez in commanding a considerable transfer fee when he left Amsterdam.

Instead, he departs on a free transfer, with Ajax ultimately getting nothing for the time and finance they put into developing the player since he was a boy.

Bayern are getting a talent who's already played in the latter stages of the Champions League -- and looked comfortable at that level -- while his versatility can make him a particularly valuable addition to Julian Nagelsmann's squad.

Mazraoui is tactically astute and technically proficient -- profile -- characteristic of Ajax graduates -- and the 24-year-old should have no problems making the step up.

ANDRE ONANA
Free

Ajax Amsterdam: C
Internazionale: B+

Onana had been with Ajax since leaving the Barcelona academy in 2015, establishing himself as a starter and being a key member of the side that reached the UEFA Champions League semifinal in 2019.

Unlike Mazraoui, however, Onana hasn't been a regular starter in recent years, making only six Eredivisie appearances last term as he returned from a nine-month suspension for taking a banned substance.

Veteran Remko Pasveer stepped in and excelled in Onana's absence, but at 38, he's not a long-term solution while youngster Jay Gorter endured a torrid time in the Johan Cruyff Shield defeat by PSV Eindhoven.

As long as Onana can truly shake off his post-suspension rustiness, Inter have identified the long-term replacement for captain Samir Handanovic.

BOUBACAR KAMARA
Free

Marseille: D
Aston Villa: B+

Another player who leaves his boyhood club on a free transfer, Kamara could in time prove to be one of the coups of the window.

He's only 22, but with 130 Ligue 1 matches in his belt, boasts the experience and composure of a much older player while promising a touch of class in possession as well.

Working with Steven Gerrard, one of the finest central midfielders in the game's history, should help Kamara's development, and the ex-Liverpool captain is clearly delighted to have picked up one of Europe's brightest prospects on a free transfer.

Gerrard revealed that Champions League clubs were interested in Kamara -- that's surely where he belongs -- but for now, is determined to use the youngster's passing ability to help Villa climb up the Premier League table.

He falls short of receiving an A grade because it remains to be seen whether he can transition from French football to the Premier League, with Leicester City's Boubakary Soumare representing a cautionary tale.