If you look back to the world cup in South Africa, and you ignore anything related to the England circus, and if you also look beyond the brilliance of the Spanish national team, I think one key thing we will all remember is the performance of Ghana. It was a World Cup in Africa and it was only fitting that a team from that continent performed well, Ghana were the team that stepped upto the mark. They were never going to win the tournament but they should have gone further than they did, they only exited in the quarter finals because of what can quite frankly only be deemed as cheating by everyone’s least favourite footballer Luis Suarez.
One of their many stars was Asamoah Gyan, a relatively unknown player before that tournament, but his 3 goals and electric performances brought him to the attention of a wider audience. He played for Rennes but overnight he became one of the hottest properties in world football, it was perhaps a bit strange that it was Sunderland that took a punt on the player, smashing their transfer record and signing him for £13million on a 4 year contract.
As debut seasons in the Premier League go, Gyan did not disappoint, he scored 10 goals and not only that he became a favourite of the Sunderland fans and also (partly because of his nations cruel elimination from the World Cup) a favourite with fans of other clubs around the country. Things however quickly deteriorated, after the surprise departure of his strike partner and friend Darren Bent the 25 year olds form suffered and his second half of the season was nowhere near as productive as the first.
There were rumours of upset and frustration and many suggestions that he would leave Sunderland last Summer, but initially this never happened, and in fact he released a statement assuring the club and supporters that he was going nowhere, 3 days later however as we all know, he departed. Maybe that is not too surprising, the real shock came though when it became clear that he was moving to Al Ain in the UAE, hardly a hotbed of competitive football. If he had gone to Tottenham, Valencia, Juventus, Milan or a whole host of other big clubs you would probably understand it, but the United Arab Emirates?
At the time he was lambasted by supporters, the media and even his own manager who stated that he had gone chasing money, agent involvement was mentioned as well as clandestine meetings when the striker was away on international duty, the player always refused to comment, trying to give the impression he was going for the challenge, but this isn’t a David Beckham situation, approaching the end of his career and going to prolong it in the USA, this is someone who was/is about to enter their prime.
It is perhaps with no surprise today however that various newspapers are carrying quotes from the Ghanaian confirming that money was a massive reason behind his move, and he states that he did it for the wellbeing of his family, now this for me, raises an interesting point.