Yacine Brahimi (Stade Rennes => Granada, loan made permanent)
Once described by ex-Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti as the “future playmaker of Stade Rennais”, the predicted ascension of the Algerian Yacine Brahimi has not been quite as the coaches at Clairefontaine academy and other football observers would have hoped, which is why his move to Granada is so intriguing. Home to a number of north Africans already, including Youssef El-Arabi and Hassan Yebda, Brahimi clearly did enough during his loan spell at Granada last season to earn himself a move there permanently. Despite his statistics not exactly being amazing for an attacking-midfielder, only achieving one assist and zero goals, vast riches await the club who can get the best out of this tricky player. Having said that, the fact he was second only to Lionel Messi in terms of dribbles completed last season in La Liga, SFG’s very-own Algerian correspondent Maher Mezahi does not fear for Brahimi, believing that an improvement in his end-product is the final piece in the puzzle for him to be a decent asset for Granada.
Bobley Anderson (Wydad Casablanca => Malaga)
Probably the most intriguing of them all is the move of attacking midfielder Bobley Anderson to Malaga from Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca, as he completed his move to the Spanish side for a believed €700,000 earlier this month. Seemingly quite an obscure transfer for an ill-informed bystander, Malaga have moved early in the window to snap up his signature in order to prevent other chasing clubs from getting him, having taken the interest from a number of European teams. The Ivorian, who has made one appearance for the national U-23 team, had only been at Wydad for one season, having been signed for around €200,000 from Ivorian league runners-up AFAD Djékanou at the start of last season, going on to make 24 league appearances and scoring 3 goals for the Moroccan CAF Champions League side. Still on 21 years of age, Malaga should provide a good platform to prove himself the Ivorian national team manager, having recently sold winger Joaquin to Fiorentina this window. Malaga will be hoping that their gamble pays off and he proves to be an excellent acquisition in a period of transition for the club.
Jacques Zoua (Basel => Hamburg SV)
Another African graduate of the Swiss champions, Jacques Zoua completed his move to Bundesliga side Hamburg last month, having impressed during Basel’s league and European campaign and his performances for Cameroon. Able to play striker or on either wing, a lot of his time for Basel was spent as a substitute since he signed from Coton Sport in 2009, so will be hoping to play a more front-line role at his new side in this upcoming season. The first signing of their new director of football Oliver Kreuzer, Zoua has been touted by some as the replacement for the outgoing Heung-Min Son after he left for Leverkusen – a label that may be unwanted for a largely unproven player, considering the importance that Son held last season. Nevertheless, there certainly can be comparisons between the two. Both speed merchants and both strong on the ball, the creative spark will be Zoua’s main asset when he pulls on the Hamburg shirt, and is likely to replicate the South Korean most similarly in this way. Son’s goals may be the thing that he struggles with however, having never really been prolific as a goalscorer, but only time on the pitch will see how he develops and what role he plays at Hamburg.
Salif Sane (Nancy => Hannover 96)
For a team whose defensive woes were obvious and well-documented last season, Hannover’s decision to sign Salif Sane appear to be an attempt to remedy such problems, as he moves from Nancy to Hannover for an undisclosed fee. Having gone through the Bordeaux youth system, where his older brother Ludovic currently plays in the first team, he made the move to Nancy after a loan move there in 2011. Playing in defence, the Senegalese player was largely uninspiring at Nancy, as he failed to do enough to keep his side in Ligue 1 last season. However, standing a 6ft 4”, he will add a powerful aspect to Hannover’s defence, with a reasonable if a little clumsy tackling ability. An interesting signing, Bundesliga observers await to see the role he is due to play at his new club, after Mario Eggiman and Johan Djourou have both departed the team.
This article was written by Sam Crocker.