Top Five: African All-Stars in Serie A 2018-19

Comments()
Who were the continent’s star performers in the Italian top flight this season?

  1. Getty Images

    #5 Franck Kessie

    Kessie hasn’t been an overwhelming success since joining AC Milan from Atalanta two years ago, but he appears to be steadily finding his feet at the San Siro.

    Now 22, he weighed in with seven goals in 34 appearances this season, but also looked more comfortable on the ball this term, and played with greater poise.

    Kessie certainly ended the season strongly—he was a dominant force in May—prompting rumours of a move to West Ham United.

  2. Getty

    #4 Ismael Bennacer

    The former Arsenal youngster may have suffered relegation with Empoli this term, but he can nonetheless look back on a fine campaign which should set him up for bigger and better things down the line.

    A deep-lying playmaker of natural composure and prodigious defensive output, the 21-year-old contributed five assists this term, prompting interest from Napoli among others.

    He’s secured a spot in Algeria’s Nations Cup squad, where he should have the opportunity to shine further.

  3. Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    #3 Nicolas Nkoulou

    Cameroon centre-back Nkoulou endured a miserable campaign at Olympique Lyonnais during the 2016-17 season, but has restored his reputation at Torino.

    This season, he’s been influential as the Turin-based side pushed hard for the European places, proving influential in Torino’s build-up play and making a series of vital defensive contributions.

    The Central African averaged 1.9 interceptions per match this term—the eighth best in the division—and he’ll be missed by the Indomitable Lions in Egypt.

  4. Getty

    #2 Kevin Malcuit

    Despite being eligible for Morocco, Mauritania and France, Malcuit remains uncapped, even though he’s excelled for Saint-Etienne, LOSC Lille and Napoli in recent seasons.

    This term, he’s established himself as one of the finest right-backs in Serie A, defensively astute and capable of causing damage going forward.

    Don’t be surprised if the likes of Manchester United come calling this summer.

  5. Getty Images

    #1 Kalidou Koulibaly

    We conclude our list with another Napoli player, and indeed, Koulibaly has continued to demonstrate why he’s one of the world’s finest central defenders with another excellent campaign in Italy.

    Only one player in the division—Internazionale’s Marcelo Brozovic—averaged more passes per match than Koulibaly, who’s a critical component of the Partenopei’s build-up player.

    He didn’t get the move to Chelsea that was mooted last summer, but Manchester United and Juventus appear primed for a tug of war over the Senegal international this summer.