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Top five African movers face differing challenges

Sadio Mane
Bayern Munich paid Liverpool £35m for Sadio Mane, and the Senegal star scored on his debut for the German club

Premier League clubs spent almost £2bn ($2.3bn) before the transfer window closed last Thursday, although the English top flight lost one of its star performers in June when Sadio Mane joined Bayern Munich.

The volume of movement was back to pre-pandemic levels, with headline deals for all of the European elite and record fees smashed in the Premier League by a number of clubs.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a major mover on deadline day, returning to London to join Chelsea after a six-month stint with Barcelona.

As the dust settles and players find their feet at their new clubs, BBC Sport Africa take a look at five of the top movers from the continent, all of whom face differing challenges.

Sadio Mane - Bayern Munich (£35m)

Mane's protracted move from Liverpool to Bayern built the pressure on the Senegalese forward, but it is a case of so far so good for the Ballon d'Or nominee.

German journalist Raphael Honigstein told the BBC that Bayern "were under huge pressure to make a marquee signing" and said that the move was not a step down from the Premier League for the 30-year-old.

Mane, whose penalty won the Africa Cup of Nations in February, has responded with five goals in his first seven appearances, and also had goals chalked off for handball or offside on each of his first four Bundesliga appearances.

He will stay under great pressure to keep delivering in the same manner as the man he has replaced, with Poland's Robert Lewandowski registering a remarkable 344 goals from 374 Bayern games.

Kalidou Koulibaly - Chelsea (Reported £33m)

Kalidou Koulibaly celebrates scoring for Chelsea
Kalidou Koulibaly has already opened his Chelsea account, netting against Spurs

Senegal captain Koulibaly had long been linked with most of Europe's top clubs, with Manchester United reportedly long-term admirers of the centre-back, before Chelsea eventually secured his services for an undisclosed fee on a four-year deal.

The 31-year-old scored on his home debut in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham, having joined from Napoli, where he made 317 appearances, before frustration followed as Koulibaly was sent off in the 3-0 defeat at Leeds.

How he settles into a defence featuring veteran Thiago Silva, new signings Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella - after the departures of key men Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen - will be key to Chelsea's hopes of breaking back into the top two.

Calvin Bassey - Ajax (£19.6m)

Calvin Bassey
Calvin Bassey (centre) assisted a goal as Ajax thumped Cambuur 4-0 on Saturday

Two years ago Bassey was in Leicester City's reserves, but now he is gearing up for for his Champions League debut after joining four-time European champions Ajax in July.

As he awaits his first taste of elite European club football, the 22-year-old Nigerian can look back on a stellar Europa League campaign last season, with the centre-back one of the standout players as his former side Rangers lost the final on penalties to Germans Eintracht Frankfurt.

Despite starting his Dutch career in regrettable fashion, being dismissed in the 5-2 Super Cup defeat by PSV Eindhoven, the defender has helped Ajax reach top spot in the three Eredivisie games he has played since, all of which have ended in victory.

After a breakthrough campaign that showed what Bassey is capable of doing last season, Ajax should be the perfect place to refine and improve a player who is likely to be coveted by even bigger clubs in future.

Franck Kessie - Barcelona (free)

Franck Kessie of Barcelona and Ivory Coast
Four games in, Franck Kessie has yet to start in the league for Barca

Kessie's free transfer from AC Milan to Barcelona has proved a frustrating one both on and off the field for the Ivory Coast international because of the Spanish giants' financial turmoil.

The 25-year-old was one of a number of Barca signings who had to wait until the eve of the La Liga season for their club registration to be confirmed.

The paperwork came through in time for a place on the bench for the opening day draw with Rayo Vallecano, a position Kessie - who will need to dislodge one of Gavi, Pedri or Sergio Busquets - has had to settle for in all four of the Catalan club's games so far.

The central midfielder started his career with Atalanta and had two loan spells with Milan before completing a permanent move to the San Siro in 2019, helping the Rossoneri to win the Serie A title last season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Chelsea

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
'Auba' will wear number nine despite its previous 11 wearers struggling to make a lasting impact

Chelsea's transfer deadline day move for Aubameyang seems to make sense for all parties involved but can the Gabon striker have as big an impact as he did for Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund?

Tuchel was the man that switched the forward to a more central role when he took charge at Dortmund in 2015, leading to Aubameyang's £56m switch to the Gunners in 2018.

The 33-year-old left north London in January in acrimonious circumstances, and scored 13 goals in 24 appearances for Barcelona before his £10.3m move from the cash-strapped club to Chelsea.

Aubameyang's proven Premier League experience will work well for the price paid but a sharp focus will be on the striker to see if he can succeed where both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner have failed before him.

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