World Cup Watch: The Africans Swansea should be targeting
There’ll be plenty of changes afoot in south Wales this summer, as Swansea’s latest permanent coach Garry Monk gets his feet under the table at the Liberty Stadium.
Old boss Michael Laudrup brought a large Spanish contingent to the club, but Monk should be casting a keen eye on these Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Nigeria World Cup hopefuls ahead of next season.
Constant Djakpa – Ivory Coast – Left-back
Ben Davies has been receiving admiring glances from some pretty big clubs, with Atletico Madrid and now Tottenham mentioned as potential summer suitors for the 21-year-old 10-cap Wales man.
International teammate Neil Taylor has made just 15 Premier League appearances since Brendan Rodgers left for Liverpool two years ago, so Monk would be wise to bring in some fresh blood in the position should Davies depart.
He could do a lot worse than the Elephants’ 27-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt regular Djakpa, who has gained a wealth of Bundesliga experience since first arriving at Bayer Leverkusen six years ago.
Ivory Coast are 1/1 to emerge from a Group C that also contains Colombia, Japan and Greece.
Dany Nounkeu – Cameroon – Centre-back
There’s not as much talk of an Arsenal move for Swans skipper Ashley Williams this year as there has been in the previous couple of silly seasons, but with the 29-year-old linked to Harry Redknapp’s Premier League returnees QPR, Monk may need reinforcements at centre-half.
Cameroon’s 12-cap Galatasaray man Nounkeu’s future clearly doesn’t lie with the Istanbul club, after being shipped out on loan by new coach Roberto Mancini in January.
Gala paid Gaziantepspor over €3m two years ago for Nounkeu, whose Cameroon side are 13/5 to beat Mexico in their opening World Cup fixture.
Emmanuel Emenike – Nigeria – Striker
The 27-year-old Super Eagles goal-getter – who has scored 10 in 21 internationals – is also based in Turkey, although his Super Lig odyssey has not always run smoothly.
Emenike was sold by Fenerbahce before playing a match in 2011, after becoming embroiled in a match-fixing scandal which ultimately led to naught.
A €10m move to Spartak Moscow saw him light up the Russian Premier League for two seasons, prompting Fener to buy Emenike back 10 months later, and the striker managed 12 goals in 28 games in his delayed first full season Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.
With prized Swansea asset Wilfried Bony being eyed by the likes of Arsenal and Newcastle, Emenike would be a popular replacement for the Ivory Coast hitman, despite his undoubted baggage.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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