Who are the Premier League’s new African signings to watch?

Nottingham Forest of Nigeria and Taiwo Awoniyi.Forest.

The Premier League returns this weekend, offering supporters an opportunity to get a first glimpse of some of the division’s new faces.

It’s a chance to see how your team’s new signings stack up with the other players in the Prem, and catch sight of some of the talents who may well drive this year’s title race.

There’s been an influx of African players into the division this summer, but here are the six talents GOAL’s Ed Dove is most excited about watching in action.

  • Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly.Chelsea.

    Kalidou Koulibaly

    The departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen left Chelsea with two significant voids in the heart of the defence, but the arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly should assuage many of the concerns about the Blues’ backline this season.

    The Senegal international—and Africa Cup of Nations winner—has the pedigree and has established himself as one of the finest central defenders in the world while at Napoli.

    His partnership with Edouard Mendy should give the Pensioners a strong base during 22-23, while expect Koulibaly to also contribute to Chelsea’s play going forward as well.

  • Nottingham Forest unveil record-signing Nigeria forward Taiwo Awoniyi.Forest.

    Taiwo Awoniyi

    Few could have expected—when Awoniyi left Liverpool on a free last summer—that he would be returning to the Premier League only 12 months later as an £18.5 million striker.

    Yet the striker enjoyed a magnificent campaign with Union Berlin last term, fully repaying—and then some—the £6.5 million they parted with to recruit him from Liverpool.

    The forward scored 15 goals last term, which was comfortably his career best, but can he help newly promoted Nottingham Forest retain their top flight status.

  • Joe Aribo - SouthamptonSouthampton

    Joe Aribo

    Aribo’s wondergoal against Villarreal during a pre-season friendly alerted a broader audience to his immense technical ability and capacity to beat opposition players, but Southampton fans should expect him to contribute a lot more than this to their midfield this season.

    He was a Scottish champion and cup winner during his time with Rangers, where much of his tenure was spent working closely with Steven Gerrard, and Aribo was influential as the Glaswegian giants reached the Europa League final last season.

    His athleticism and eye for goal could make him one of the most effective midfielders outside the top five in the Prem this season, and he could soon be destined for one of the league’s big boys.

  • Nayef Aguerd Rennes 2021-22Getty

    Nayef Aguerd

    Aguerd’s start to life at West Ham United has been delayed by an ankle injury picked up during a pre-season friendly against Rangers, but it shouldn’t be too long before the Morocco international can begin demonstrating his class in English football.

    The Hammers parted with £30 million to sign the defender from Stade Rennais, where he had established himself as one of the finest centre-backs in France—technically proficient, brave in the air, sharp in the tackle.

    Aguerd will also be a key figure for the Atlas Lions at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

  • Boubacar Kamara Marseille 2021-22Getty

    Boubacar Kamara

    Aston Villa may have pulled off a major coup in signing Kamara on a free transfer, with Gerrard confirming that the midfielder turned down several Champions League clubs to join the Villa.

    Gerrard was keen to sign players to take the Midlanders forward, and Kamara—who will likely see a lot of the ball in the Villains’ midfield—is one such talent.

    “Kamara’s going to give us style, he’s going to give us a passing range that I didn’t feel we had,” Gerrard told journalists of the ex-Olympique de Marseille man, and Kamara should benefit from working alongside the Liverpool legend—one of the most iconic midfielders in the history of the English game.

  • Borussia Dortmund Orel MangalaGetty

    Orel Mangala

    Belgium international Mangala—who remains eligible for Congo—is one of the Nottingham Forest’s swathe of new signings ahead of the new Premier League season.

    The 24-year-old was the Tricky Trees’ 12th signing as Steve Cooper looks to revamp his squad ahead of the challenges to come in the top flight.

    He featured 29 times last term as VfB Stuttgart beat the drop in the Bundesliga, showcasing his intelligence, dynamism and ability to create in the final third.