Africa's top 10 breakout stars of the 2020-21 season

As the 2020-21 season draws to a close, ESPN celebrate Africa's breakout stars of the season.

Who are the players who burst onto the scene this term, and which took their careers to new heights during a memorable campaign?

1. Zaidu Sanusi

A relative unknown when he was signed by FC Porto in August as a replacement for Manchester United-bound Alex Telles, Sanusi has been a revelation.

The wideman was recruited from lowly Santa Clara -- having only made his Portuguese top flight debut in September 2019 -- but by December 2020, was a Super Cup winner with Porto.

Four months later, his meteoric rise continued as he took part in Porto's Champions League quarterfinal with eventual finalists Chelsea, giving a good account of himself as the Dragons fell short.

The energetic Sanusi also made his Nigeria debut in October, and could be a solution for the Super Eagles' problematic left-back berth for the best part of a decade.

2. Amad Diallo

What a season it's been for the teenage sensation!

He signed for Manchester United from Atalanta in January, with the Red Devils parting with an eye-watering €40 million (including bonuses) to sign the Ivorian wonderkid.

The wideman has appeared a natural fit with the Red Devils, opening his account with a delightful backwards header against AC Milan in the Europa League, becoming the youngest overseas player to score for United in the process.

His searing pace and explosive dribbling make him a pleasure to watch, and he is also now a Cote d'Ivoire international, having made his international debut in March.

3. Simy Nwankwo

Simy had already tasted life in Serie A before this season, but 10 goals across two seasons -- and 44 appearances -- did little to suggest that he would be such a remarkable success in the top flight this term.

The towering frontman has been outstanding for relegated Crotone, scoring 20 goals for the league's second-bottom club to finish joint-fifth in the goalscoring charts.

His return was the most by a Nigerian player in a single season in the history of Europe's big five leagues, while he also becomes the all-time top Nigerian scorer in Serie A history.

It wasn't enough to save Crotone, but it was enough to earn a Super Eagles recall, and -- surely -- to secure a big summer transfer.

4. Paul Onuachu

Another Nigeria striker who can look back on a fine campaign, Onuachu has taken his game to a whole new level in 2020-21.

Last term, he registered nine goals in 22 games -- finding the net approximately once every 170 minutes -- but has improved his output dramatically this season.

The 6'7 frontman has registered 33 goals in 38 outings for Genk, scoring once every 89 minutes and maintaining the kind of scoring rate that none of the continent's strikers can rival.

He's helped Genk secure Champions League qualification, but don't expect Onuachu -- who's in the running for the Jupiler League Player of the Season -- to be at the club next term.

5. Silas Wamangituka

Wamangituka's season was cut short due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in March, but long before then, he'd made his mark on the 2020-21 campaign.

The 21-year-old -- playing in his first season in a top flight league -- scored 11 goals in 25 outings, putting him joint eighth in the Bundesliga, and rarely appeared ruffled by the step up to one of the world's toughest competitions.

He consistently played with a swagger and confidence, never more so than in Stuttgart's victory over Werder Bremen in December, when he scored twice and was booked for unsporting behaviour after taunting the opposition keeper by walking the ball cockily into the net after rounding the stopper.

His wondergoal against Mainz in January -- where he finished with aplomb after a long dribble -- is also worth a watch, and hopefully he can pick up where he left off when he returns to full fitness.

6. M'Bala Nzola

Another player testing himself in one of Europe's big five leagues for the first time this season is Nzola, who has certainly hit the ground running in Serie A.

Born in Angola, the 24-year-old has been traipsing through the Italian lower leagues since 2016, but only this season has he finally made his mark in the big time.

He's scored 11 goals this term, and while Simy's haul was unable to save Crotone, the Central African's return has ensured that Spezia never truly looked like being dragged into a relegation dogfight.

His dribbling ability, strength and versatility prompted reported interest from Newcastle United and West Ham United in January, with the player's agent revealing that the attacker rejected a move to join the Hammers.

7. Wesley Fofana

Yet another example of the masterful recruitment that keeps Leicester City punching above their weight in the Premier League, Fofana has been a revelation this term.

The centre-back boasts all of the attributes one could seek in a central defender, and has effectively silenced the critics who questioned the Foxes' sense in parting with £31.5 million to recruit him from Saint-Etienne.

His confidence has helped set the tone for the Foxes, while his physical attributes and in-game intelligence make him a complete package in the heart of the defence.

Eligible for France and Mali, Fofana has had a mixed end to the season; he won the FA Cup and was named Leicester's Young Player of the Year, but was part of the Foxes side that missed out on UCL qualification and will also miss the Under-21 Euros with a hamstring tear.

8. Michael Olise

Another player who may well be set for an international future with France is Reading wideman Olise, who could be the next twinkle-toed Championship star to go on to bigger and better things.

The likes of Said Benrahma, Eberechi Eze and Bright Samuel all proved themselves in the second tier before signing for major clubs, and Olise arguably looked more comfortable than any of them upon his arrival in the Championship.

He is composed, elegant, and a lethal prospect in wide areas, as evidenced by his 19 goal contributions this season, while his ingenuity in the final third will surely have caught the eye.

Born in England, Olise is eligible to represent either Algeria or Nigeria.

9. Amine Gouiri

For so long tipped to be the next big thing in French football, there was some surprise when Olympique Lyonnais agreed to cash in on the 20-year-old in July.

They received decent recompense for their youth product - OGC Nice parted with €7 million to take him to the Riviera - but surely there was still room for Gouiri to grow into the talent he'd always threatened to become at OL.

Two goals on his Ligue 1 debut for Nice suggested that Lyon were premature to allow him to leave, and Gouiri has gone on to impress both domestically and in Europe.

Despite only turning 21 in February, the Franco-Algerian hitman ends the season with 16 goals across Ligue 1 and the Europa League.

He's no one-dimensional frontman either, having also registered seven assists, testimony to his ability to bring others into the game and enhance the overall menace of Nice's attack.

Now in an environment where he is truly appreciated, Gouiri should go from strength to strength next term.

10. Aurelien Tchouameni

AS Monaco fans briefly got a glimpse of what Tchouameni was capable of following his January 2020 move from Girondins de Bordeaux, with the midfielder making three substitute appearances in Ligue 1 before the season was prematurely curtailed due to Covid-19.

Observers of French football knew he was a talent following his rise to prominence with the Bordelais, but this year, he's taken his career to new levels at the Club of the Principality.

The 'monster' of Monaco claimed the division's Youth Player of the Year award earlier this month - following in the footsteps of the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and last year's winner Kylian Mbappe -- having caught the eye with his commanding midfield showings.

He's now being linked with a £34 million move to Chelsea, and his agility, tackling ability (third most effective in the division this term), and capacity to drive through the heart of the park make him a fearsome talent.