Four A grade black stars who could make it in the EPL – Atsu, Ayew, Annan & Asamoah
Within the last few weeks, The Daily Mail, among other outlets, have strongly hinted at the possibility of Porto wide player Christian Atsu making a move to Tottenham Hotspur in the near future. In this article, Goal.com’s West Africa correspondent Ed Dove considers Atsu’s credentials, and also looks at three other Grade A Black Stars who could one day make the leap to the English Premier League.
One of the brightest Black Stars is Christian Atsu Twasam, for whom a move to the Premier League may become a reality imminently. Since planting himself in the White Hart Lane hotseat, Tottenham’s new manager Andre Villas-Boas has indicated his desire to enlist Joao Moutinho, captain of AVB’s former club Porto. While there is still scope for the Portuguese midfielder to make the switch to North London, various sources indicate that it may be Christian Atsu, Porto’s young Black Star, who makes the move first.
The left sided attacker spent last season on loan at Rio Ave, and impressed in his temporary stint at Big River, winning the club’s Player of the Season award in the process. Still only 20, the diminutive winger is probably one for the future, but after scoring on his Black Stars debut against Lesotho at the beginning of this summer, there are many who feel that he is ready to take a step up in his career. The player’s new nickname, ‘Messi’, certainly suggests that he is capable of great things.
As well as technique, speed, and a tactical nous that belies his youth, Atsu can also weigh in with the odd sublime goal too; a deft finish against Benfica last season proving what he can do in the big games. It was AVB who first promoted Atsu to Porto’s first team back in May 2011, and an impending reunion at White Hart Lane could well suit both parties.
Unlike Atsu, Marseille’s André Ayew is a player who has already established himself at a top European side, and whilst the midfield dynamo still has more to achieve at Stade Vélodrome, he may be off to another European superpower before very long. Ghanaweb reported recently that Internazionale were favourites to snap up the Black Star, but at Goal Ghana we believe that a move to the Premier League might be even more appropriate for the man nicknamed Dédé.
Standing at only 5 foot 9, Ayew may on first glace appear to be too slight to be truly effective in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League – but the Black Star has a bite that’s bigger than his bark – only this week OM boss Elie Baup had to intervene as Ayew incensed Mathieu Valbuena with an over-zealous tackle.
With Ayew’s popularity among his teammates in decline, and bigger dogs sniffing around, he may be departing the South of France sooner rather than later. Both Manchester United and Arsenal have reportedly shown interest in the left-sided midfielder, and a move to the Premier League may be on the horizon.
During the Afcon tournament earlier this year, Schalke midfielder Anthony Annan won a whole host of new admirers after stoically playing on despite his mother’s death after a short illness. At the time the player could have been forgiven for taking his eye off the ball, or even leaving the Black Stars’ camp and returning to his family – even the late Ghanaian president John Atta Mills was on hand to offer his condolences to the dynamic midfielder.
Annan didn’t leave the camp though, and in fact, his performances didn’t even suffer, as he manfully took up his place at the base of the Black Stars midfield, repelling attack after attack as Goran Stevanovic’s team made to the Semi-Finals. Whilst many in Ghana were disappointed with the team’s performances, Annan largely escaped criticism, the tournament demonstrating why he is such a prized asset to this Black Stars side.
Despite having two years left on his contract in Gelsenkirchen, it seems likely that Annan will not be sticking around in the Bundesliga. Manchester United were once linked with the player, but more recently it has been clubs such as Belgian giants Anderlecht which have reportedly shown interest. With his tenacious style and boundless energy, the pintsized midfielder could also be a hit in the Premier League – Annan could well become a star at a mid-table side looking for a little more bite and a little more passion in the middle of the park.
Ok, ok, so I realise that Kwadwo Asamoah has recently signed for Juventus, I realise that the young midfielder is overjoyed to become a part of such a significant club, & giddy at the prospect of playing alongside Andrea Pirlo in midfield, I realise that the chances of him arriving in the EPL in the near future are about as high as Sunderland unveiling a statue of Asamoah Gyan…but just imagine it…
Imagine in a few years time, imagine Asamoah after a clutch of Serie A titles, after having established Juve as a European powerhouse once again, after having pulling the strings in Ghana’s midfield as the Black Stars play their way to a World Cup Semi Final in Brazil 2014…imagine the talent that could then be unleashed upon an English audience.
Combining pace, power, and creativity, as well as a sublime footballing technique, Asamoah has been destined for the top since his early days at Liberty Professionals. His tutelage in Italy began back in 2008 as Udinese brought him over to Europe in a convoluted deal. Several consistent years in northeastern Italy has now brought him to Turin.
Whilst things didn’t completely work out for Black Stars great Stephen Appiah at Juve, fans in Italy and Ghana are hoping that Asamoah can become an international superstar at La Vecchia Signora. Perhaps a few glorious years in Italy may lead to a move to the Premier League, certainly a handful of top teams will be keeping tabs on the Old Lady’s latest Black Star.
Four A grade black stars who could make it in the EPL – Atsu, Ayew, Annan & Asamoah.