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Man United duo of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, in ‘positive talks’ to switch allegiance to DR Congo

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Manchester United defenders, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Axel Tuanzebe, are reportedly in ‘positive’ talks over a switch of allegiance to represent the DR Congo at international level.

Right-back Wan-Bissaka, whose parents are originally from the DRC, had previously represented the eastern African country at youth level while Tuanzebe, was actually born in Congo before his parents emigrated to the UK.

With their chances of making it into the main stream Three Lions team, the duo are said to be set to take a chance and represent their original country.

A report on Monday in a local publication in the DRC, Leopard Football Leader, said the country’s national team coach, Sebastien Desabre, has spoken at length with Wan-Bissaka and the United player would consider the offer, especially if the country qualifies for the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast.

“The duo of Manchester United defenders, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Axel Tuanzebe have held positive talks with the DR Congo Football Association with the suggestion they may switch their allegiance to African nation,” the report said.

“DR Congo coach Sebastien Desabre held ‘positive’ talks with Wan-Bissaka and Tuanzebe’s representatives.”

“Both defenders have represented England at youth level but could still switch allegiance to the African nation with Gareth Southgate so far overlooking them for a senior debut. Neither Wan-Bissaka or Tuanzebe have been capped by England at senior level.”

“Central defender Tuanzebe, currently on loan at Championship club Stoke City, was born in the Congolese city of Bunia, while right-back Wan-Bissaka is of Congolese descent.”

Wan-Bissaka previously made one under-20 appearance for DR Congo, an 8-0 friendly loss to England in October 2015, before playing twice for England’s under-20 side and three times for the Under-21s in 2018 and 2019.

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Lost to Europe: Players of African descent who will light up Euro 2024

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Europe’s elite football tournament tagged Euro 2024, which kicked off on Friday, will see close to 50 players of African descent showcasing their talents at the European Championship, highlighting the now famously held maxim of “global reach and unity of football.”

But in the real essence of the word, these African talents have been lost to the European countries because instead of seeing them playing at the African Cup of Nations, we are resigned to watching them strutting their stuff for European countries.

This year tournament holding in Germany, features one of the largest representation of players of African descent, highlighting the rich diversity and multiculturalism inherent in modern football.

Africanewswatch.com takes a look at some of the big name players of African heritage who will light up the Euro 2024 tournament.

Kylian Mbappe (France/Cameroon/Algeria)

If the Cameroonian football authorities had been successful in persuading Kylian Mbappe to switch allegiance to the West African country, his silky skills would have graced the African pitches, but it was a case of too late as he had already made up his mind to play for France at the time Samuel Eto’o and Fecafoot made moves to lure the highly talented player.

The former Paris Saint-Germain star is one of the players expected to shine in the Euro competition but his international career could have taken a different path had he chosen to represent his parents’ countries.

With a Cameroonian father and a mother of Algerian descent, Mbappe could even have played for the Algerian national team but the new Real Madrid signing opted to represent his birth country, France, on the international stage.

Bukayo Saka (England/Nigeria)
Nigeria’s loss was England’s gain as with Bukayo Saka growing to become one of the best footballers currently playing at the highest level.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, the Arsenal star has never hidden his love for Nigeria and on several occasions, mentioned that he would have loved to play for the West African country but the lack of connection saw him instead adorning the Three Lions’ jersey.

At only 22, Saka brings versatility to the England side and has quickly become one of the most exciting young talents in football, known for his speed, creativity and tactical intelligence.

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/DRC)

Everyone knows Romelu Lukaku and what he can do! The bulky former Chelsea striker will compete in his third European Championship for the Belgian national team, instead of filing out for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where his parents originally comes from.

The AS Roma star’s father was an ex-international himself who played for the Leopards, and one would have expected his more accomplishmed son to toe his path but unfortunately, his two sons opted to represent Belgium with Lukaku being the Red Devils’ all-time leading scorer with 85 goals, with the chance to adding to his tally in Germany.

Jamal Musiala (Germany/Nigeria)

Jamal Musiala is perhaps, one of the standout players in Germany’s squad for the Euro 2024 tournament, but if the Nigerian Football Federation had had it’s way some few years ago, he could have been a silver medallist at the last Afcon along with the likes of Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman.

The Bayern Munich star had a Nigeria father while his mother is German with Polish roots and could have even played for Poland or England where he was born.

A product of Chelsea academy, Musiala played for both England and Germany at the youth level before committing to Die Mannschaft in 2021.

Johan Bakayoko (Belgium/Ivory Coast/Rwanda)

One of the hottest footballing prospects in Europe, Johan Bakayoko was born in Belgium to an Ivorian father and a Rwandan mother and was eligible to play for any of these African nations, but decided to represent his country of birth.

Had he opted to represent either, defenders and goalkeepers in the continent would have been reeling at his sight as Bakayoko is known for his brute strength, versatility, and sharp attacking instincts, coupled with fierce shots.

Memphis Depay (Netherlands/Ghana)

Memphis Depay has been around for ages but many do not know that he has roots in Ghana through his father, and could have played for the Black Stars if the country had succeeded in persuading him to change allegiance from the Netherlands.

At the Euro 2024, Depay is expected to bring his unique blend of skills and flair to the Netherlands’ campaign with his technical prowess, powerful shots, and creative playmaking.

Jeremie Frimpong (Netherlands/Ghana)

Jeremy Frimpong is another Dutch player with Ghanaian roots who have been mesmerising defenses in Africa, but rather will now be tormenting opponents at the Euros.

Known for his blistering pace and attacking prowess from the right-back position, Frimpong brings a dynamic energy to the Dutch squad.

His defensive tenacity coupled with his ability to join the attack seamlessly makes him a formidable presence on the pitch.

Eduardo Camavinga (France/Angola/DRC)

Camavinga has even stronger roots in Africa, having been born in a refugee camp in Cabinda, Angola in 2002, to an Angolan-Congolese father and a Congolese mother who fled the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His family moved to France when he was just two years old.

Now 21, the midfielder has emerged as a key player known for his composure on the ball, tactical awareness and ability to dictate play in midfield. Camavinga’s skillful dribbling and precise passing have provided crucial support to France’s midfield stability and attacking prowess.

Leroy Sane (Germany/Senegal)

Leroy Sane’s father was a former Senegalese international and many had thought his son would toe his path and play for the West African team.

But he opted to play for his adopted country and the Euro 2024 which will be hosted on home soil will present Sane with the chance to show the world dynamic and explosive talent.

Known for his blistering pace, technical skills and goal-scoring ability, Sané is a formidable winger who poses a constant threat to opposition defences.

Lamine Yamal (Spain/Morocco/Equitorial Guinea)

The 16-year-old Barcelona star is the youngest player in the competition and could have added such flair to African football if he had opted to play for either of Morocco where his father hails from and the country of his mother, Equatorial Guinea.

Born in Spain, Yamal had represented the country at the youth level before being called up to the senior national team despite attempts by Morocco to persuade him to play for the North African country.

William Saliba (France/Cameroon)

Arsenal defender, William Saliba is one of the finest centrebacks in world football, and even if he doesn’t appear to entirely have the confidence of France boss Didier Deschamps, few in England doubt Saliba’s qualities after another season in which he’s played a key role in an Arsenal title challenge.

He was long sought after by Samuel Eto’o and the Fecafoot but by that time, it was already too late as he had decided to pitch his tent with the French national team.

Antonio Rüdiger (Germany/Sierra Leone)

The Germany international defender has never hidden his love for Sierra Leone, his mother’s homeland, and has invested heavily in charity projects in the West African nation.

Rudiger even celebrated with a Sierra Leonean flag at Wembley after winning the recent Champions League final as Real Madrid dispatched Borussia Dortmund, and regularly makes trips to the country.

Nathan Aké (Netherlands/Ivory Coast)

Manchester City defence lymchpin, Nathan Ake may be one of the standout players in the Dutch squad but he could have been doing it for Ivory Coast his late father, Moise, came from.

Ake was once courted by former Elephants boss Marc Wilmots, before ultimately plumping for the land of his birth.

Aurélien Tchouaméni (France/Cameroon)

Real Madrid’s versatile player,
Aurélien Tchouaméni, is another one who escaped from playing on home turf and will be showcasing his talent at the Euro in the colours of France.

Tchouaméni who has a Cameroonian heritage, has grown to become an integral part of the French team and has blossomed into a world-class central midfielder, helping Real Madrid win its 15th Champions League title a couple of weeks ago.

Tchouameni was born in France to two Cameroonian parents and could have been the Indomitable Lions’ midfield general had he not opted to represent Les Bleus.

Rafael Leão (Portugal/Angola/ Sao Tome)

Portuguese forward, Rafael Leão, could have played either for Angola, the country of his father, or Sao Tome where his mother hails from but opted to represent Portugal where he was born.

The 25-year-old has become one of the most complete strikes since leaving Lille for AC Milan in 2019, scoring loads of goals for the Italian side and the Portuguese national team.

Honourable mentions:

David Alaba (Austria/Nigeria), Eberechi Ezeh (England/Nigeria), Noah Okafor (Switzerland/Nigeria), Marc Guehi (England/Ivory Coast), Ezri Konza (England/DRC/Angola), Joshua Zirkzee (Netherlands/Nigeria), Yvon Mvogo (Switzerland/Cameroon), Brice Samba (France/Congo-Brazzaville),
Dayot Upamecano (France/Guinea-Bissau), Manuel Akanji (Germany/Nigeria),
Benjamin Heinrichs (Germany/Ghana), Cody Gakpo (Netherlands/Ghana), Brian Bobby (Netherlands/Ghana), Kevin Danso (Austria/Ghana), Kwadwo Duah (Switzerland/Ghana), Michael Folorunso (Italy/Nigeria),
Kobbie Mainoo (England/ Ghana), Ousmane Dembélé (France/Mauritania, Senegal, Mali), Nico Williams (Spain/ Ghana), Jérémy Doku (Belgium/Ghana), Loïs Openda (Belgium/Morocco, Congo)

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Partey closing in on lucrative deal to Saudi Arabia

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Reports from England have revealed that Arsenal and Ghana international midfielder, Thomas Partey, is on the verge of a lucrative summer move to the Saudi Arabian Pro League.

According to the reports, Partey’s representatives have been in talks with the unnamed club and working behind the scenes to secure him a summer move away from North London as Mikel Arteta is not willing to renew his contract which runs out next summer.

It is also rumoured that former Chelsea coach, Jose Mourinho who was recently appointed head coach of Turkish club, Fenerbahce, is also interested in luring the player to the Istanbul club while Juventus is also said to be eyeing the player.

During his time at the London club, Partey had been one of the fulcrum of the team but in the past two seasons, his appearances have been marred by injuries and loss of form.

During the 2023-24 season, Partey struggled with hamstring and groin injuries that limited him to just 16 appearances across all competitions.

According to Football Insider, the 31-year-old midfielder who signed for the Gunners from Atletico Madrid in 2020, would love to extend his contract with Arsenal but the club have no intention of offering him an extension on his deal and are willing to listen to offers for him before he enters the final 12 months of his contract.

Arteta is expected to be busy this summer and would likely look to use the proceeds from the potential sale to bring in a younger central midfielder to partner Declan Rice, with the rumoured fee said to be in the region of £20m to £25m.

The Ghanaian had previously been linked with a move to the Middle East and Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund officials have now restarted talks over a potentially lucrative contract.

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