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Ghanaians in the English Premier League

Published on: 08 August 2017

Weekends are about to 'get lit', as the kids say, in Ghana, with the English Premier League returning, to add to the Ghana Premier League action already on the go.

This weekend there will be an added incentive for Ghanaian football fans, with the opportunity to follow four key national team players as they take part in the most popular league in the world.

It is not exactly the era of Michael Essien, John Paintsil, and Sulley Muntari, but the Ayew brothers (Andre and Jordan), Christian Atsu, and Jeffery Schlupp will provide an interesting local perspective on the EPL season.

The number of Ghanaians linked to English Premier League clubs is not reflected in the number of Ghanaians due to line up in the league as the season begins. Afriyie Acquah was linked to Newcastle, Agyemang Badu was said to be a target for Hull City, and recent reports claimed Majeed Waris was heading for West Ham.

Instead, it is the same faces who will be flying the flag of Ghana but with renewed ambition and hunger. With a religious following in Ghana, and ubiquitous everywhere there is a television set, thriving in the English Premier League is sometimes the easiest way to earn cult status in the eyes of Ghana football fans.

The Ayews, Atsu, and Schlupp will thus hope the reviews are positive. For Schlupp, ignored by Black Stars selectors for some time now, this season is about achieving consistency after the last two seasons, as he has not tied down a regular starting place.

Atsu needs to find a foothold as well. Long touted as the next big thing from Ghana, he has delivered at international level while badly underperforming at club level.

In four years on the books at Chelsea, he didn't make a competitive appearance. And in two loan spells at Everton and Bournemouth, he made a total of five appearances in the Premier League. He finally came good during a loan spell at Newcastle United, before making the move permanent, having helped them return to the Premier League.

Having looked good in pre-season for Rafa Benitez' side, the 25-year old will hope this is the season his club form backs up the general belief in Ghana that he is one of the finest football talents to emerge from the country.

For much of his first season in England, Andre Ayew left no-one in doubt about his skills. He was brilliant for Swansea City, with goals, assists, and a general work rate that would earn him a big money move to West Ham United. Injuries wrecked a season in which he scored six goals for the Hammers, and with a full pre-season behind him he could be on to a good season.

The jury is still out on his younger brother, Jordan Ayew. There were signs towards the end of last season that he belongs in the top flight, with his form for Swansea impressive after gaining a path back into the Premier League. Now he has to add the consistency and goals to continue to impress.

By Michael Oti Adjei, KweséESPN

Comments

This article has 3 comment(s), give your comment
  • jose says:
    August 08, 2017 02:51 pm
    Is Amartey no longer a GhanaIan?
  • AmarhEmma says:
    August 08, 2017 02:55 pm
    Nice piece but please Danoelis the most active Ghanaian player last season EPL and this Pre season? Daniel Amartey in your article .
  • Sabato says:
    August 08, 2017 05:50 pm
    So all of a sudden, Michael Oti Adjei has forgotten that Daniel Armartey is playing in the premiership.I shock sef. Michael pls come again.