Highest Paid African Footballers of 2017

Aged footballers moving to the US & Middle East is not a new story. From Pele to Beckenbauer to Gerrard there have been numerous examples of great players moving abroad for a final moment of glory under the sun & a decent check to boost. Fast forward to 2017, there stands the Chinese Premier League. Football’s latest monetary superpower has over the last couple of years managed to lure good young players at the prime of the career for ludicrous sums of money.  

Not only are the Chinese nowhere close to the standards of the top European leagues but these big money moves will only hurt their own young players in the long run. Taking the example of David Beckham for example, once he made his big money move to the US he was fully dedicated to the cause of improving & popularizing the game within the country. Now there are the likes of Oscar, Ramirez, Alex Teixeira all of whom in their mid to late 20’s moving to China for the big fat check. Without ranting on the matter any further, we have here compiled a list of highest earning African Footballers of 2017.

Top 3 Highest Paid African Footballers

3rd. Odion Ighalo – Changchun Yatai

Surprise! Suprise! We kick off our list with Odion Ighalo who has just recently made the move to Chinese Premier League club [1],  Changchun Yatai for a fee of 20£ million. The Nigerian international didn’t have the easiest routes to the top, having started his professional career in the Nigerian National League, the 27-year-old had to crawl & fight his way up to the Premier League. At Watford, Ighalo exceeded expectations in each of his two seasons with the club, helping them gain promotion to the Premier League in 2014/15 & then again helping them stay in the competition in 2015/16.

The first half of the 2016/17 season wasn’t the greatest in his career & the solution for it? Move to China! Ighalo who has signed a three-year contract with the club is set to receive a total of 190,000£ per week.

2nd. Yaya Toure – Manchester City

Without a doubt the only one among the top three who actually deserves the salary that he gets. At 33-years of age, Toure’s days at the top are numbered for sure but the Ivorian international has remained faithful to the Citizens’ cause. Despite getting the cold shoulder from Guardiola at the start of the season, Toure admirably has fought his way back into the first-team. Toure, who was offered a 577,000£/week from China during the January transfer window rejected the move to stay with the Citizens in order to help them achieve a top 4 finish.

Earning 220,000£/week, Toure comfortably sits 2nd among the highest earning Africans in the game. He will definitely move at the end of the season but with still plenty to offer, the Ivorian may move to Italy to further extend his already remarkable career.

1st. Asamoah Gyan – Shanghai SIPG

Another player who had to fight his way up to the top only to then take the easy route to China. Having started his career in the Ghanian Premier League with Liberty Professionals, Gyan worked his way through the ladder having stints in Italy & France before arriving in the English Premier league to join Sunderland. He had a relatively decent stint with the Black Cats slotting 11 goals in his 37 appearances for the club. However during the summer of 2011, the Ghanian international made a surprise move to the Middle East by joining UAE Pro League club, Al-Ain.

What was even more surprising was the weekly salary to which he was signed on, a whopping 200,000£ per week. To fair to the striker, he excelled during his time in the UAE, slotting in a total of 113 goals in 104 appearances for Al-Ain. He was the league’s top scorer in each of three full seasons he was with the club. At 29 years of age, Gyan was arguably the top striker from the continent & with many European clubs interested in securing his services, the striker went for the money again & signed with Chinese Premier League club, Shanghai SIPG [2] in 2015 for what was a 227,000£/week deal.

The Others

  • 4th – Samuel Eto’o – 170,000£/week – Antalyaspor (Turkey)
  • 5th – John Obi Mikel – 140,000£/week – Tianjin TEDA (China)
  • 6th – Obafemi Martins – 100,000£/week – Shanghai Greenland Shenhua (China)
  • 7th – Kelechi Iheanacho – 85,000£/week – Manchester City
  • 8th – Ahmed Musa – 60,000£/week – Leicester City
  • 9th – Emmanuel Adebayor – 58,000£/week – Basaksheir (Turkey)
  • 10th – Victor Moses – 58,000£/week – Chelsea

External Resources

[1] Dailymail.co.uk, Odion Ighalo Moves to China

[2] Thenational.ae, Asamoah Gyan Join Shanghai SIPG