So we’re in what seems like yet another international break, and still ten days away from any further Premier League action. Having followed my own advice in the ‘turn the ship around’ article posted last week I was rewarded with two solid victories in gameweek 11, and so the Gaffer is in good spirits. Hopefully some of you have managed some squad remodelling off the back of the article, and are now in a position to look forward with me to the African Nations Cup.

It’s some way away, the competition spans 14th January to 5th February. In Premier League terms this spans weeks 21 to 24, and potentially week 25 should your players make the final stages. This is a big chunk of games to be without one of your star turns, manageable given the squad of fifteen, but not ideal.

Now feels like the perfect time to trade out your African for an equivalent player. If you can get someone who you feel is as good, and will be sticking around in January, then get it done. Best to do it now before the less clued up managers in your league realise there’s an African Nations Cup this year, and lock any Africans out of their trade talks.

Here’s a quick list of African players i’d expect to go over for the tournament, and some suggestions for potential trade targets where appropriate:

Sadio Mane (Senegal) – probably the biggest name currently who’ll be away for the African Nations Cup, Mane’s stock will never be higher than it is right now. Options here are to take his counterpart Coutinho, or any other elite midfielder. Maybe Ozil or Payet could be attainable given their less explosive points accumulation. I’d also be comfortable going slightly lower to a Dele Alli, Eriksen, Barkley etc, but if you do so try to also get a small upgrade elsewhere. Unless you have a REALLY strong squad Mane will be one of your best players, and so it’s vital you grab value for him before he leaves.

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) – The Leicester talisman has been quiet thus far, and so if you’re going to trade him don’t expect top value. A good option here may be Adam Lallana, a lesser name but one who appears to be continuing to shine under Klopp’s attacking frenzy. Alternatively Spurs are coming into a great run of fixtures, you may be able to get Eriksen or Dele Alli given their quiet seasons thus far.

Sofiane Boufal (Morocco) – The Southampton record signing is yet to make a Premier League start, but has shown glimpses of his brilliance in brief game time thus far. For me the option here would be to keep hold of him, you won’t get anywhere near his true trade value at the moment as most won’t have seen him play. Maybe try and trade him to unsuspecting managers closer to the tournament, by which time his trade value should have sky rocketed.

Islam Slimani (Algeria) – Appears to be Ranieri’s starter for now in the league, and has done well in spurts but nothing special. Given Leicester’s rotation policy and champions league focus i’d be comfortable taking any guaranteed starting striker for him. Examples of potential value for him would be Negredo, Vokes, Benteke. All guaranteed starters at slightly lower profile clubs, who’ll definitely be playing in January barring injuries.

Joel Matip (Cameroon) – Quite frankly given Liverpool’s all out attack style he is barely ownable anyway as the clean sheet chances are low. Given that he plays for a big side there may well be a manager or two who’ll overvalue him, and also won’t consider his Cameroonian nationality. See if you can get any guaranteed starting defender from one of the top defences – Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Southampton, Everton, Leicester. A great option given upcoming fixtures would be Christian Fuchs. There is a possibility he won’t go, he has a rocky relationship with his country, but is a great trade option regardless.

Andre Ayew (Ghana) – As with Boufal injury has stopped him showing his worth and gaining trade value thus far, and might be one to hold onto. He’ll be playing up front for West Ham and Payet looks as good ever in supply, and so his value will only rise.

Bolasie (DR Congo) – He’s started really well with Everton this season, and similar to Mane i’d say his trade value is as high as it’ll get right now. It’s worth looking to pick up his Everton midfield partner Barkley, or a similar level talent such as Alli, Redmond or Lallana.

Bony (Ivory Coast) – After a really slow start with Stoke he found a couple of goals in gameweek 10, and so should have a little trade value right now. I’d have him a little above the players recommended above as alternatives to Slimani, and so given his slow start you may struggle to get what you’d want for him. If you can get Benteke or Rondon it’d be a real coup.

Lamine Kone, Bailly (Ivory Coast), Mbokani (DR Congo) – Three lesser lights of your squads. Bailly’s out until December, Kone can’t keep a clean sheet, and Mbokani is struggling for game time. If you can get any of my ranked players in previous articles then you’re doing well.

I hope this helps some of you at least know who’s away in Africa after Christmas, and gives you a chance to consider trades prior to it happening. Certainly don’t just give away your Africans, but bear in mind that you’ll get a lot more for them now than in a month’s time....

As always if you need any advice on trades or transfers in your RealFF journey, ask the Gaffer.

@RealFFGaffer