Prolific Liverpool scorer Mohamed Salah was named African Player of the Year in Ghanaian capital Accra on Thursday, the first Egyptian to win the award since Mahmoud al Khatib in 1983.
The 25-year-old has scored 23 goals in 29 matches in all competitions this season for the Premier League outfit after moving from AS Roma in the summer.
He also starred for resurgent Egypt, who last year finished runners-up to Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations and secured a first World Cup appearance since 1990.
In the penultimate round of World Cup qualifying, Salah scored the brace that edged Congo Brazzaville in Alexandria, including the stoppage-time winner from a penalty that sealed a trip to Russia.
Salah's Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane, of Senegal, was runner-up and 2015 winner, Gabon and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang third after a 30-player list had been trimmed to three.
Manchester City are reportedly interested in triggering Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti’s €60million release clause.
According to respected French outlet L’Equipe, Umtiti’s representatives have met with City and the France international is now said to be mulling over a switch having been impressed by the project headed by manager Pep Guardiola.
The centre-back has been a tower of strength for the Catalan giants this season with Ernesto Valverde’s pragmatic approach reliant on the ever-dependable presence of Umtiti.
He emerged as one of the best defenders in La Liga before going down with a hamstring injury against Celta Vigo early last month.
The relatively low fee, considering the astronomical £75million expenditure from Liverpool for Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk, will no doubt sound the alarm of clubs throughout Europe.
Umtiti marries physical prowess with passing ability – he has the highest pass accuracy in La Liga this season, which is pretty impressive considering how much he actually gets on the ball – and Barca will no doubt be desperate to keep on to their star man.
The 24-year-old joined the Blaugrana from Lyon in 2016 for £21million and has proven to be a bargain ever since.
Guardiola wants to reinforce his quadruple-chasing City squad with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez also being targeted.
With Barcelona enforcer Javier Mascherano on his way out, the La Liga leaders are “one step away” from signing Colombian international Yerry Mina from Palmeiras, according to the Spanish press.
Barcelona are also sweating over the fate of their young French centre-back Samuel Umtiti, widely reported to be in talks with Manchester City.
Should Mascherano, on the verge of a switch to China’s Hebei Fortune for €10million, and Umtiti leave, Barcelona would be left with just Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen as recognised centre-backs.
“Yerry Mina is just a step away from becoming a Barcelona player,” Mundo Deportivo reported on Friday.
“Barca say it’s a done deal,” Spanish radio Onda Cero reported.
Former Colombian international winger Faustino Asprilla, who also played at Palmeiras wrote on Twitter “Benvingut (welcome) Yerry Mina to @fcbarcelona.”
Mina is an athletic 6ft 5in (1.95m), 23-years-old and has been with Sao Paulo outfit Palmeiras since May 2016.
Provided by AFP Sport