Which Ligue 1 Africans could be Premier League stars of tomorrow?

Ligue 1 has become a veritable hotbed for some of world football's most exciting young talent, with the French top flight a valuable production line for English Premier League heavyweights and the rest of Europe's giants.

The likes of Nicolas Pepe, Ismaila Sarr and Jean Michael Seri all swapped Ligue 1 for the Premier League in big-money moves through recent transfer windows, while Nigeria's Victor Osimhen very recently signed for Napoli from Lille for an initial €70 million.

As 'The League of Talents' returns this weekend, we profile seven young players of African origin in the French top flight who could become the big-money movers of future transfer windows.

Eduardo Camavinga

The Talent

One of the world's most exciting young players, Camavinga, 17, is already proving himself to be one of the best all-round midfield talents in Ligue 1.

He was influential as Stade Rennes reached the UEFA Champions League last season, underpinning his technical qualities with immense defensive work and eye-catching tenacity.

Last term, the six footer averaged 4.2 completed tackles per match -- more than any other player in the division -- and there's no doubt he's destined for the top.

African Connection

Born in the disputed province of Cabinda in Angola -- the location of the Togo team bus shooting ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2010 -- Camavinga moved to France as a toddler.

He's eligible for both Angola and Congo-Brazzaville, but has already represented France at youth level and appears destined for a senior career with Les Bleus.

Who's He Been Linked To?

Real Madrid have been the club most heavily linked with a move for the midfield dynamo, and the teenager may already have been a Merengues player had coronavirus not changed the complexion of football economics.

He's under contract until 2022, and he told Telefoot [via Ouest France] ahead of the league's kick-off on Friday that he wouldn't be going anywhere this summer.

Axel Disasi

The Talent

AS Monaco are a team in transition under Niko Kovac, although the ex-Bayern Munich boss will be delighted to have young centre-back Axel Disasi as a key building block upon which to construct his new-look side.

Still only 22, the defender is already tried and tested in Ligue 1, having made his debut in the 2018-19 season and then establishing himself as first choice last term.

The club of the Champagne region had the best defensive record in the division -- they conceded three goals fewer than champions Paris Saint-Germain -- and few had a greater influence than the 6-foot-3 stopper.

African Connection

Eligible for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Disasi has been considered by both the Leopards and France at youth level.

He was named in his first senior DRC squad in March for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double-header against Angola, but COVID-19 prevented him from making his debut.

Who's He Been Linked To?

Arsenal were reportedly keen to recruit the youngster before Monaco won the race for his signature with a €13 million bid.

He signed a five-year deal in the Principality, and he'll be worth an awful lot more by the time he leaves Stade Louis II.

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Rayan Cherki

The Talent

Cherki became the youngest player to feature in the semifinals of the Champions League when he went on as a substitute for Lyon against Bayern Munich at the age of 17 years and two days.

It surely won't be the last time he graces the rarefied upper echelons of the UCL, as he boasts the kind of pace, movement, dribbling ability and footwork that set him apart from his peers.

The "New Kylian Mbappe"? Watch this space...

African Connection

A France youth player since 2018, Cherki is eligible also for both Algeria and Italy.

Who's He Been Linked To?

He recently penned a new contract with Lyon, tying him to the club until 2023, although there's almost no chance he'll see out that deal.

Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been linked with the versatile attacker, who became the youngest player to score in the UEFA Youth League when he netted in the prestigious tournament as a 15-year-old.

Houssem Aouar

The Talent

Sticking with the Lyon theme, where, despite being just 22, Aouar is already close to amassing a century of league outings.

He is composure personified, cool in possession, majestic with the ball at his feet, and capable of changing the face of a match with a moment of magic and an astute through-ball.

His performances during Lyon's run to the Champions League semifinals will have brought him to the attention of a broader footballing audience, and his maturity and creativity will ensure an increasing number of admirers.

African Connection

Uncapped by France at 22, Lyon-born Aouar is of Algerian origin. He's represented Les Bleus at under-17 and under-21 level.

Who's He Been Linked To?

Manchester City -- heavily.

Reports suggesting Pep Guardiola is considering a swoop for Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Winks add weight to the suggestion that he's looking for another deep-lying playmaker, but he might consider this cheaper alternative after witnessing Aouar first-hand in Manchester City's Champions League elimination.

City are understood to have approached Aouar, but they may yet face competition from Arsenal.

Samuel Kalu

The Talent

Wideman who is capable of playing on both flanks but excels as a conventional right winger, capable of beating his man and sending in a menacing cross.

Kalu didn't always set Ligue 1 alight last term, with only one goal and one assist, but injuries played their part and his qualities have already attracted interest from sides higher up the pecking order than his current employers, Bordeaux.

African Connection

Kalu made his Nigeria debut in 2018, and was part of the Super Eagles squad that finished third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

The wideman is one of two Nigerians on the books of Les Girondins, the other being former Sunderland striker Josh Maja.

Who's He Been Linked To?

Kalu could become the latest Nigerian to take the well-trodden route to the Turkish Super Lig?, with reports suggesting that Fenerbahce are keen to take him to Istanbul.

Boubakary Soumare

The Talent

Comparisons with Paul Pogba in terms of style and potential aren't far-fetched, and Soumare has blossomed since quitting PSG's academy for Lille.

He boasts impressive technical quality, despite being somewhat one-footed, and his physicality allows him to dominate the midfield even though he's only 21.

Soumare's stamina and work rate make him a classic box-to-box operator.

African Connection

A France international up to under-21 level, Soumare has been part of Les Bleus' youth set-up since 2014.

He's also eligible for Senegal, and may follow in the footsteps of Kalidou Koulibaly and Mbaye Niang in swapping France for the Teranga Lions.

Who's He Been Linked To?

ESPN reported in late 2019 that Manchester United were interested in taking the powerhouse to Old Trafford, while Newcastle United were reportedly rejected by the player in January after having an initial £35 million offer accepted by Lille.

Rayan Ait Nouri

The Talent

Impressive young full-back who made 17 league outings for Angers last season, Ait-Nouri is a left-sider who boasts solid defensive fundamentals and his crossing is particularly effective.

The 19-year-old registered two assists last term, and he's lethal when cutting inside and causing havoc within an opposition backline.

Composure and work rate are also key assets, although the youngster will miss Angers' opener against Dijon after contracting coronavirus.

African Connection

France-born and an under-21 international for Les Bleus, Ait-Nouri is eligible for Algeria.

Who's He Been Linked To?

With the same agent as Bruno Fernandes, the influential Jorge Mendes, it was perhaps only a matter of time before Ait-Nouri was linked with a move to Manchester United.

He's not ready yet, but left-back has been a problem position for the Red Devils, and one day, he could be a long-term solution.

Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco are among the other clubs named as potential suitors.

Honourable Mentions

Ibrahima Niane, Age: 21, Club: Metz, Nationality: Senegal, Position: Forward

Ibrahima Diallo, Age: 21, Club: Brest, Nationality: France/Senegal, Position: Defensive Midfield

Mounir Chouiar, Age: 21, Club: Dijon FCO, Nationality: France/Mauritania/Morocco, Position: Left winger

Aurelien Tchouameni, Age: 20, Club: AS Monaco, Nationality: France/Cameroon, Position: Defensive Midfield

Yacine Adli, Age: 20, Club: Bordeaux, Nationality: France/Algeria, Position: Attacking Midfield

Boubacar Kamara, Age: 20, Club: Marseille, Nationality: France/Senegal, Position: Defender

Adil Aouchiche, Age: 18, Club: Saint-Etienne, Nationality: France/Algeria, Position: Attacking Midfield