January transfer window: Africa's best and worst deals

Nice have gained one of Ligue 1's most effective frontmen in Terem Moffi. NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images

Chelsea's spending spree -- and the deadline-day arrival of Enzo Fernandez -- stole the January transfer window headlines, but some of Africa's brightest stars and most exciting talents also secured moves over the past month.

Here are ESPN's African diamonds and duds of the transfer window -- as well as a few moves that didn't go through, but probably should have done.

The Diamonds

Nice's signing of Nigeria's Terem Moffi has to rank among the best deals of the window, with the transfer representing smart business for all parties.

Linked to Everton, West Ham United, Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth, Moffi has taken a step up by moving to ambitious Nice initially on loan from Lorient, and Les Aiglons will be quietly confident they can, in turn, turn a profit on their £26.4 million outlay.

In the meantime, Nice have acquired one of Ligue 1's most effective frontmen, with Moffi scoring 12 goals during the first half of the campaign.

Only Folarin Balogun and Kylian Mbappe have scored more goals in France this term, and Moffi can be expected to hit the ground running. Creative as well as clinical, instinctive, composed, and with a lethal left foot, the Nigerian should help Nice build on their progress of recent years.

Also in France, Marseille's swoop for Morocco's World Cup hero Azzedine Ounahi for a reported €8 million plus add-ons from Angers could be the bargain of the window.

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Linked with everyone from Tottenham Hotspur to Napoli, Leicester City to Leeds United, after his heroics in Qatar, Ounahi ultimately opted for OM, and a superb solo goal on debut against Nantes suggests he has the temperament and personality to thrive at the Stade Velodrome.

Real Valladolid's €1 million signing of Selim Amallah, an Atlas Lions teammate of Ounahi, also represents excellent business, with the midfielder having been linked with a move to Nottingham Forest.

Also in Ligue 1, Stade Rennais' loan move for out-of-favour Lyon forward Karl Toko Ekambi, 30, represents a shrewd acquisition; the attacker scored 26 goals between 2020 and 2022, and he can rediscover his form in Brittany.

Bournemouth's signing of Moffi's former teammate Dango Ouattara from Lorient has immediately born fruit, with the wideman registering an assist on debut in the 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Forest.

At 20, Ouattara still has much to learn, and represents an investment for the future, but his glowing recent form indicates he's primed to make an immediate impact.

Unlike a few other Premier League recruits, he's already demonstrated that he can influence contests in the final third -- he directly contributed 11 goals in 18 Ligue 1 games this term -- and can be a £20 million x-factor for Bournemouth as they look to pull clear of relegation.

The arrival of Hamed Traore from Sassuolo is another compelling move.

At 22, the midfielder is also one for the future although he has made 150 Italian league appearances and has proven himself in Serie A since his teenage years.

His versatility is an asset, given he makes valuable defensive contributions and can carry the ball forward as well, but will he immediately be able to handle himself in the ferocity of a Premier League midfield battle?

He arrives on the south coast initially on loan, with an obligation to buy for £26 million.

Chelsea made two of the biggest African signings of the window, by picking up Noni Madueke and David Datro Fofana for a combined fee of just over £40 million; both are exciting talents, but the success (or otherwise) of the deals may only truly be seen in the longer-term future.

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The Duds

Southampton can't be accused of not backing manager Nathan Jones, and supporters should get excited about the arrival of Nigeria's Paul Onuachu and Ghana wideman Kamaldeen Sulemana.

Both players have incredible upside, and they immediately represent upgrades on Southampton's current options.

"We're very excited because they'll give us different threats," Jones said after Tuesday's Carabao Cup semifinals defeat by Newcastle United.

Onuachu, with 16 goals in 19 league outings for Genk, is a proven and consistent goal-getter -- it wasn't that long ago he scored 33 league goals in a single Belgian campaign -- and at 201cm (6'7) he represents a completely different option for the Saints.

Southampton now have a clear focal point and line-leader, although some will question whether Onuachu can make the mammoth step up from Belgium to the Premier League in the final months of the season when the strugglers need him firing.

Deniz Undav was the Pro League's top scorer last season with 26 goals, and he's yet to score in 93 minutes' game time with Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League this term; he has, however, scored one goal in both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

With Sulemana, there's no doubting that he's an exciting talent, and the Cherries have tracked his progress since his time in Denmark so they're clearly confident he's a wise recruit.

However, while Sulemana catches the eye with his dribbling, and he has the quality to change the complexion of an attack, he has zero assists in 14 Ligue 1 outings this season and just two in 20 last season.

In a different context, the initial £40 million to recruit Onuachu and Sulemana -- both also linked to fellow strugglers Everton -- could have been astute purchases, but is this the right environment for either player to prove themselves in the Premier League, and, perhaps more pertinently, is Jones really the right coach to get the best out of them?

Antoine Semenyo, like Sulemana, is another Ghana international expected to step up a level and improve his output after signing for Bournemouth from Bristol City in a £10.5 million deal.

It's not a massive outlay, but the Cherries' league posgition -- and the injury to Dominic Solanke -- heaps pressure on the new boy to make an immediate impact when he has scored just six goals in his past 24 Championship appearances for the Robins.

Sofiane Boufal's move from Ligue 1 Angers to Qatari side Al Rayyan is a lucrative switch for the player, but at 29, it's a shame he is not competing against the best defences in one of the game's highest competitions.

On the back of a strong World Cup, the playmaker had a glorious opening to finally silence those who doubted his fantasy style of play wasn't suited to life at a genuine European giant, but the opportunity now appears to have passed him by.

...and who missed out?

Hakim Ziyech was the biggest loser on Deadline Day, given that he appear primed for a switch to Paris Saint-Germain after he had been linked with Everton, Tottenham, Roma and Newcastle United.

A loan deal was agreed before the French deadline passed, but the Ligue de Football Professionnel blocked the move when the correct documentation was not received in time.

Despite both parties being confident a deal would get over the line, and despite Ziyech reportedly contacting Chelsea owner Todd Boehly directly in an attempt to resolve the impasse, the Morocco international was unable to complete a switch to France.

PSG criticised Chelsea's behaviour after the move's collapse but that is scant consolation for Ziyech, who had clearly spied an opportunity to improve his dwindling fortunes.

The 29-year-old overcame a testing start to the season under Thomas Tuchel and then Graham Potter by starring for the Atlas Lions at the World Cup, amid rumours of interest from AC Milan, but he could not change his fortunes at Stamford Bridge.

The influx of talent at Chelsea surely ends Ziyech's potential future at the club, with new arrivals such as Mykhaylo Mudryk, Madueke and Joao Felix representing direct competition for his already limited minutes.

It's a bitter blow for the playmaker, who -- in his prime at 29 -- should be the creative heart of one of Europe's top sides rather than falling so low in the pecking order at a club placed 10th in the Premier League.

Ismaila Sarr, impressing once again in the Championship with Watford, was linked with a return to the Premier League with Aston Villa and Everton, but he remains in the second tier, while the Toffees were also understood to have been interested in his Senegal compatriot Iliman Ndiaye of Sheffield United.

"Up the Blades," Ndiaye wrote on Instagram as the window closed, seemingly reaffirming his commitment to the Yorkshiremen's cause.

Senegalese players are certainly in vogue, with Villarreal wideman Nicolas Jackson also linked with Premier League clubs Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bournemouth and Southampton. Expect a move to England to be explored again at the season's end.

What could still happen?

Andre Ayew may be a tempting free agent for several Premier League strugglers, with the Ghana skipper available after prematurely ending his contract with Qatari side Al Sadd.

Everton are desperate, with the outlook bleak after a transfer window without any arrivals. Ayew's work rate, technical prowess and experience in relegation battles would surely appeal to Sean Dyche as he looks to add an extra option into a limited squad.

Another option could be Forest.

Unlike Everton, they've enjoyed another window full of fresh faces, but Steve Cooper's relationship with the player from their days at Swansea City could make the City Ground an appealing destination for 33-year-old Dede.