Ivory Coast’s penalty shootout triumph over Ghana was arguably the best thing that could have happened at the Africa Cup of Nations for Manchester City.
After a difficult couple of weeks in the Premier League the Sky Blues will welcome back a buoyant Elephants duo of Wilfried Bony and Yaya Toure with open arms after Herve Renard finally ended the Ivorians' AFCON hoodoo.
But the Ivory Coast pair were not the only African stars to impress in Equatorial Guinea – here are five players who could be worthy of a move to the blue half of Manchester come the summer.
Riyad Mahrez – Algeria
Pre-tournament favourites Algeria may have underwhelmed but one man who came out of the tournament with his head held high was Mahrez following a series of fine displays for the Desert Foxes that also included a memorable goal in their crucial 2-0 win over Senegal.
City will already be familiar with the 23-year-old winger, who currently plies his trade with Leicester City, and though the Foxes have struggled for form all season the former Le Havre star looks likely to extend his Premier League stay regardless of whether the Midlands side survive the drop.
Full of pace and skill on the ball, Mahrez’s crossing ability and eye for not only a killer through pass but also a shot on goal would make him a bargain purchase for the Citizens come the summer.
Serge Aurier – Ivory Coast
Though the likes of Bony, Toure and Gervinho dominated the headlines for the Ivory Coast, arguably their most exciting player was located a little further back in the team.
At 22, Aurier already has the makings of a world-class full-back and showed why time and time again at the Africa Cup of Nations where his fine tackling and aerial abilities kept the Ivorians strong at the back while his pace and crossing caused problems in the final third.
On loan at PSG from Toulouse, City would be wise to move heaven and earth to sign the African star and could even be persuaded to use the seemingly unwanted Bacary Sagna as bait in any deal.
Thievy Bifouma – Congo
One of the joint top scorers at the Africa Cup of Nations and a young striker who thrived in an otherwise unfashionable Congo outfit, Bifouma could do little to prevent his national side’s late collapse against Congo DR in the quarter-finals but left the tournament with plenty of plaudits.
A skilfull and versatile forward presence who remains a work in progress, Bifouma is current on loan at Almeria from Espanyol in Spain and spent time with West Brom on a temporary basis, scoring two goals in six Premier League outings.
Hard working and capable of operating both out wide or in a central attacking role, he could prove a bargain buy for City and certainly has a good record at international level with six goals in 12 appearances.
Kara Mbodji – Senegal
Already linked with the likes of Newcastle United by the Daily Mail and West Ham by the Mirror in the past year, Mbodji’s versatility – he can operate as either a centre-back or as a defensive midfielder – makes him a valuable option for any Premier League team facing a bumper schedule of domestic and European commitments.
Part of a Senegal side that was unlucky to exit the tournament in the group phase having picked up four points from three games, the 25-year-old also highlighted an eye for goal in Equatorial Guinea, netting against South Africa to rescue a point for Senegal.
Already adjusted to life in Europe, having spent the past two years with an underachieving Genk, the Belgians look likely to cash in on their prized asset this summer.
Andre Ayew – Ghana
One of the few big names to live up to the hype at AFCON 2015, Ayew has been agitating for a move away from current club Marseille for months with the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham reportedly keen on the 25-year-old attacker, according to the Daily Star.
However, after a tournament in which Ayew shone from start to finish for the Black Stars, we think Manchester City should be taking a closer look at the son of former L’OM great Abedi Pele who is looking to leave Ligue 1 in the summer.
A versatile forward presence capable of holding up the ball, bringing others into the game and finishing off moves with aplomb, Ayew’s work-rate and defensive contributions are also likely to endear him to the Etihad faithful and could add an extra dimension to City’s attack.