The arrival of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Yes, we know it’s 2024), one of the most significant and exhilarating football events on Earth, is here.
Several African countries known for producing exceptional players will participate, attracting major clubs who closely monitor their progress and performance in every game.
Since the January transfer window is now active, prominent teams worldwide are undoubtedly monitoring promising young players. At FriendsOfLiverpool, we are examining five players who Liverpool should closely monitor.
Despite leading the Premier League table, the Reds have noticeable deficiencies in their squad that must be resolved to contend for major trophies consistently. Additionally, Mohammad Salah, their highly productive forward, is a legend in the AFCON and one of the club’s most successful acquisitions. Therefore, it is logical to continue scouting the continent for potential talents.
- Position: Defender
- Team: Sporting CP/Ivory Coast
It is widely known that Liverpool needs a centre defender. Hence, it is unsurprising when we propose that they should closely monitor the Sporting CP defender, Ousmane Diomande.
The twenty-year-old Ivorian defensive wizz is widely seen as one of the most talented young full-back prospects in European football, with the qualities necessary to become an exceptional defender. Liverpool would greatly benefit from his presence as a permanent successor to Joel Matip.
Transitioning to the EPL would be a thrilling advancement in his career, but it is uncertain whether Liverpool is willing to make a substantial financial investment in him. Having demonstrated his excellence in Liga Portugal while playing for Sporting CP, if he can now make a strong impression at a significant international event representing his country, Liverpool may be persuaded to activate his €80 million release clause. The defender has been associated with clubs, including Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Arsenal.
The much sought-after defender is expected to leave Sporting CP shortly. But to get his signature, Liverpool acted promptly because they wouldn’t be the only club interested in his services.
- Position: Defender
- Team: Bayer Leverkusen/Burkina Faso
Edmond Tapsoba – Burkina Faso international – has recently been associated with many EPL teams, including Tottenham. He has solidified his position as one of the most skilled young defensive players in the Bundesliga, and his exceptional performances have unexpectedly captured the interest of the top teams.
Tapsoba is set to participate in the AFCON tournament, and his potential suitors will undoubtedly closely monitor his achievements. He has been associated with a possible departure from Bayer Leverkusen on various occasions and has been a stronghold for the German clubs since 2020.
For the 2023 Bundesliga season, we’ve witnessed a plethora of punters rush to reviewed gambling sites from Gambling.com to support Bayer Leverkusen’s defensive attributes. Thus far, this team has allowed just 12 in 17 domestic games, making them the top-performing defensive unit in the division and Europe. Tapsoba has been an important cog in the well-oiled machine currently challenging Bayern Munich for their league title.
Currently, Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate are the sole dependable centre defenders in the Liverpool team. Joel Matip’s contract will expire at the end of the season, necessitating a suitable replacement. Furthermore, Joe Gomez’s physical condition problems have been extensively recorded.
Tapsoba has the potential to be an excellent addition for them. If he succeeds in captivating with his displays at the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool may be enticed to pursue him after the season.
- Position: Defender
- Team: Monaco/ Ivory Coast
If all the attention is on Diamonde, Liverpool could potentially consider the services of his Ivory Coast teammate, Wilfred Singo.
Singo, a 23-year-old defender, now plays for Monaco in the French Ligue 1. He transferred from Torino, an Italian club, for a sum of £8.7 million before the start of the new season.
At Torino, he predominantly operates as a full-back, showcasing centre-back attributes such as exceptional aerial prowess and defensive coverage.
Since relocating to Monaco, he has been used as a right-sided centre-back in a three-man defence. This allows him to utilise his strengths as a full-back, including crossing, shooting, ball-carrying, dynamism, and chance creation, while also showcasing his proficiency in central defensive duties.
Singo has been assigned the No. 5 jersey for the tournament, indicating that he may play as a centre-back if manager Jean-Louis Gasset changes the team’s formation from a four-man defence to a three-man defence.
Yes, our top-five list mainly comprises defenders. Still, The Reds possess a solid squad in most positions outside of defence, and Singo would certainly prove himself to be a worthwhile signing to assist the club’s defensive deficiencies.
- Position: Forward
- Team: Eintracht Frankfurt/Egypt
After opting to represent Egypt rather than Canada, Omar Marmoush from Eintracht Frankfurt has developed a robust personal bond with Mohamed Salah. Could Marmoush maybe follow his compatriot in the Premier League if he does well in Ivory Coast?
Currently, the last position Liverpool needs to fill is upfront. However, Salah won’t be around forever, and if we’re thinking about the future, under Jurgen Klopp’s guidance and Salah’s inspiration, Marmoush could be the next big thing.
Marmoush, primarily a striker, has demonstrated his adaptability by performing in various positions in the forward line. His impressive record of scoring six goals in his initial ten league matches this season attests to his proficiency as a forward. Marmoush’s performance in Eintracht’s 5-1 victory against Bayern Munich, when he scored a goal and provided an assist, demonstrates his capability to excel in high-profile matches.
Having just begun his participation for the Egypt squad, he will probably have to displace the former Aston Villa player Trezeguet to get a starting position at the AFCON. However, if Marmoush maintains his current level of performance in Germany during AFCON, he might perhaps contribute to Salah winning his first title for Egypt and generate interest in him moving to England.
- Position: Forward
- Team: Stuttgart/Guinea
On the topic of strikers, we may as well stick with the position everyone loves the most, and there’s nobody worth the price tag of 17 million Euros more than Serhou Guirassy right now.
Undeniably, selecting one of the two leading goal scorers in the Bundesliga this season for a ‘players to watch’ article may not be an exceptionally bold opinion. However, for those who only occasionally watch German football and are tuning in to watch the AFCON, Guirassy is likely to be unfamiliar, except for seeing his name in transfer rumours.
After facing difficulties in fulfilling his potential as a young athlete and gaining a reputation as a comical figure at Köln, Guirassy, who is currently 27 years old, is experiencing the best performance of his career at Stuttgart. His goal-scoring contributions were crucial in assisting the squad in avoiding demotion from the Bundesliga last season; this season, they have aided in positioning Stuttgart on track for a comeback to the Champions League after their last participation among Europe’s top-tier teams in 2009-10.
Guirassy, a highly versatile forward, has achieved exceptional success in terms of scoring goals throughout the 2023-24 season. He set a new Bundesliga record by scoring 14 goals in the first eight matchdays of this season, and by the Christmas break, he had increased his tally to 17. It appears like he encountered a significant setback in terms of his prior performance. Still, it is important to mention that he was unable to participate in a few matches due to injury and was only able to join as a replacement in the second half for two other matches.