Top Five: Africans who could be key to Solskjaer’s Manchester United revolution

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Which of the continent’s stars could be smart buys for the newly appointed Red Devils boss?

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    #6 Ole appointed

    After several months of lifting the dark clouds of Jose Mourinho’s reign from Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed Manchester United coach in a permanent capacity.

    The Baby-Faced Assassin has turned things around with the Red Devils since his arrival, but must surely now be looking ahead to the summer transfer market, and to potential recruits, as he looks to stamp his identity on this squad.

    Here are five African players who could be smart additions for the new man.

     

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    #5 Hakim Ziyech

    Hakim Ziyech continues to be one of the finest performers in the Eredivisie, and has been constantly tipped for a move away from domestic giants and Champions League quarter-finalists Ajax.

    Bayern Munich, Liverpool and AS Roma are just some of the teams linked to his signature, and while United sent Ed Woodward to Amsterdam to discuss a move for Matthijs de Ligt, he’d be wise to return with Ziyech’s signature.

    The Morocco international has 14 goals and 10 assists in the Dutch top flight so far this term.

     

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    #4 Achraf Hakimi

    With Antonio Valencia set to depart, and Diego Dalot not appearing to have the full trust of Solskjaer, another option is needed at full-back.

    Hakimi, who’s currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Real Madrid, would fit the bill, providing Los Blancos have a clause in his two-year loan contract to the Bundesliga heavyweights that would allow them to break the deal should another suitor come in.

    The Champions League-winner has predominantly featured on the left during his fine season in Germany, but is equally adept on the opposite flank.

     

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    #3 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

    Another option for the right-back berth is Wan-Bissaka, who’s been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent months.

    While Hakimi could be recruited as a replacement for Valencia or an option to replace the ageing Ashley Young on the left, Wan-Bissaka would be a natural fit at right-back, and an upgrade on Matteo Darmian.

    The Anglo-Congolese has demonstrated his superb defensive attributes this term, and has the potential to be the division’s best in his position.

     

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    #2 Wilfred Ndidi

    Ander Herrera’s contract ends this summer, and while Solskjaer will surely be keen to retain the midfielder’s services, Paris Saint-Germain have been linked to his services.

    A departure should be anticipated, and at 29, Herrera might not be much of a long-term prospect anyway.

    Ndidi, by contrast, still has his prime years ahead of him, and has already demonstrated with Leicester City that he’s one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League. 

    The Nigerian could become the key centrepiece of Solskjaer’s new side, and an upgrade on Herrera, defensively at least.

     

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    #1 Kalidou Koulibaly

    Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof have begun to form an encouraging partnership under Solskjaer, and may have saved their United careers, although the same cannot be said of Phil Jones and Eric Bailly.

    The likes of Toby Alderweireld and Milan Skriniar have been named as potential replacements, while the Red Devils could again look at long-term target Koulibaly.

    It remains to be seen what the Senegal international can still achieve at Napoli, and he’s primed for a move to a bigger club and a tougher league.