1. Mbwana Samatta
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The Tanzania superstar was pivotal for Genk during the qualifying rounds, finding the net against both Buducnost Podgorica and NK Lokomotiva as the Belgian side reached the group stage. He has also impressed domestically—scoring against Lokeren (twice) and Oostende in the Jupiler League—and can be an eye-catching presence offensively for Peter Maes’s side in the group stage.
2. Younes Belhanda
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Mario Balotelli will doubtless steal the vast majority of the headlines for OGC Nice this season following his move from Liverpool, but Belhanda has the quality to ensure that he grabs some of the attention as well. The Morocco winger has returned to France after three years away with Dynamo Kyiv and Schalke, and if the club of the Riviera can help the North African rediscover some of the form that made him a title-winner with Montpellier in 2012, he will represent an addition at least every bit as valuable as Balotelli.
3. Sofiane Boufal
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While one Moroccan arrived at Nice during the transfer window, another departed, as Boufal completed his move to England, signing for Southampton in a club record £16 million transfer. The playmaker, who is currently recuperating from injury, can be mesmerising on his day and, if he can find a measure of consistency, has the potential to be Saints’ key man.
4. Eric Bailly
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He may only be 22, but the Ivorian has taken to life in the Premier League with consummate ease, playing with the intelligence and the maturity of a much older player. He has the physicality to thrive in England, and should also deliver the goods in the Europa League—unless Jose Mourinho opts to exclusively use his second-choice centre-back pairing in the continent.
5. Dino Ndlovu
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The South African forward left Anorthosis Famagusta in the summer in a low-key move to Azerbaijani side Qarabag in mid-August. He may well need time to acclimatise, and little’s expected of the Eastern Europeans in the Europa Leauge, but Ndlovu has the class to trouble some of Europe’s finer defences! He scored once in the group stage with Maccabi Haifa in the 2013-14 season, and can build on that tally this time around.