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Which Africans are facing relegation in Europe's big leagues?

Which Africans are facing relegation in Europe's big leagues?


As European competitions resume following the coronavirus suspension, ESPN examines the state of play at the bottom of the five major leagues, and profiles the Africans still in danger of the drop.

Southampton, seven points clear of the dropzone in 14th, have some breathing space, but the bottom six are set to battle it out to avoid relegation, with Norwich City, 20th on 21 points, favourites to go down.

There's considerable African interest at the other five teams, among whom Brighton & Hove Albion -- for whom Mali midfielder Yves Bissouma has made 13 league appearances this term -- are best placed on 29 points. However, the Seagulls were in a miserable run before the COVID-19 suspension, having won just once since early December, and they appear vulnerable.

Aston Villa, down in 19th, have lost their past four league fixtures, but they have a game in hand and must be hoping that the likes of Mbwana Samatta, Marvelous Nakamba and Trezeguet -- all having enjoyed additional time to settle and adapt in a new country -- can truly show what they can do in the Premier League.

AFC Bournemouth, 18th on 27 points, also need more from their recent African recruits; they spent a combined £36 million signing Anglo-Nigerian duo Jordon Ibe, who will leave the club this summer, and Dominic Solanke from Liverpool, but the pair have just one assist between them all campaign. If the Cherries fail to pull themselves out of trouble, fingers will certainly be pointed at Eddie Howe's recruitment strategy.

Watford and West Ham United sit just above the dropzone, both on 27 points, and both are reliant on high-profile African summer additions.

For the Hornets, Ismaila Sarr has gradually found his feet in the league -- the highlight being his stunning double in the 3-0 victory over Liverpool in March -- and his speed, movement and intelligence make him one of the bottom-half's most lethal dangermen.

The Hammers will be pinning their hopes of survival on Franco-Ivorian striker Sebastian Haller. He's scored seven goals since arriving in England from Eintracht Frankfurt for a club-record fee, although Irons fans will be expecting more from the target man.

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Having restarted earlier than the rest of Europe, the 18-team Bundesliga is closer to its conclusion that the continent's other top flights.

Bottom-club SC Paderborn 077, for whom Nigeria's Jamilu Collins has started consistently at left-back, have impressed many observers since the restart but ultimately they've failed to secure the wins needed to drag themselves out of danger. Three draws from four matches since the resumption has left them eight points behind Fortuna Dusseldorf, who currently occupy the relegation playoff berth.

Werder Bremen, in 17th, are on 25 points, while Mainz's weekend victory over Eintracht Frankfrut took them up to 31 points -- three ahead of Fortuna.

Pierre Kunde Malong, Taiwo Awoniyi and Moussa Niakhate have all netted since the restart, and a win at home against Eintracht on Sunday will give Mainz genuine breathing space.

Nigerians Anthony Ujah (FC Union Berlin), Noah Bazee and Felix Uduokhai (FC Augsburg), and Kingsley Ehizibue (FC Cologne) will all be nervously looking over their shoulders.

Spanish football resumes this weekend, with Sevilla FC's derby against Real Betis on Thursday signalling La Liga's return following the COVID-19 suspension.

With 11 matches outstanding for each club, there's still a lot to play for, and considerable African interest at the foot of the table.

Ghana are the best-represented nation, from Real Valladolid centre-back Mohammed Salisu -- linked with Manchester United after being one of the revelations of the season -- to Celta Vigo defender Joseph Aidoo.

At Mallorca alone, there are three Ghanaians, including Chelsea loanee Abdul Rahman Baba.

Once among Africa's most promising talents, the left-back has endured more than three years of injury misery after rupturing a crucial ligament during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. He's managed just 16 league games across loan spells with Schalke 04, Stade de Reims in France, and Mallorca, and just two \this season, and he's still struggling with a knee problem the campaign resumes.

Nigerian fans will be keeping a keen eye on Leganes, for whom Super Eagles defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie Awaziem are key men. The former has finally settled after seven years -- and zero league appearances -- at Chelsea, and his composure in possession and astute defensive reading will be critical to Leganes' survivial hopes.

There are at least 12 matchdays outstanding in the Italian top flight, and with so many points still at stake, none of the bottom half of the table will consider themselves safe.

Bryan Dabo, who is eligible for both Burkina Faso and Mali, was loaned to 19th-placed SPAL in January with a view to helping them escape the bottom three, but they are seven points from safety and have their work cut out to avoid the drop.

Adama Soumaoro's Genoa, who sold Christian Kouame to Fiorentina -- themselves not clear of the dropzone -- in January, will be desperate to resume their pre-coronavirus form having won three of their last four before lockdown.

It's a similar story for 18th-placed Lecce, who had won three on the bounce in the weeks preceding the league's suspension. Can Senegal's Khouma Babacar finally realise the immense potential he showed as a youngster to fire the Salentini away from danger? Their first two matches back are against Juventus and AC Milan, which doesn't bode well.

Fans of various Premier League clubs may be keeping tabs on Sampdoria's Gambian defender Omar Colley, who has been linked with moves to the likes of Newcastle United and Southampton. The West African moved to dismiss rumours in March that he had contracted COVID-19.

Elsewhere, two Nigerians will be looking over their shoulders, as William Troost-Ekong's Udinese are only three points above the bottom three at the league's resumption, and Ola Aina's Torino appear to be in freefall.

The Turin heavyweights have lost their past seven games in all competitions -- including a 7-0 home drubbing by Atalanta -- and the likes of Nicolas Nkoulou and Soualiho Meite must improve if the club is to pull clear of danger.

The French top flight was wrapped up prematurely, unlike Europe's other major leagues, and while Nimes -- occupying the playoff relegation berth -- were 'saved' from the drop, SC Amiens (19th) and Toulouse (20th) were declared relegated.

The decision affects many high-profile African players, with Toulouse's Ivorian duo Max-Alain Gradel and Ibrahim Sangare, as well as Issiaga Sylla and Mathieu Dossevi, among those affected.

Similarly, it's miserable news for Amiens' many African players, although the likes of Sehrou Guirassy, Gael Kakuta and Bongani Zungu are unlikely to have much trouble finding new employers.

Amiens and Toulouse received a stay of execution on Tuesday, with France's State Council suspending the decision to relegate the duo.