As most European elite football divisions break for the festive season, we take a critical look at the performance of the popular Ghanaian players in Europe for the year 2015.
Emmanuel Agyemang Badu – 6.5/10
“Agyemang Badu to make a move to the English Premier League” has been a regular feature in every transfer window for the past 3 seasons. But once again, Badu will end 2015 in the Italian Serie A.
The beginning of 2015 was not so good for him. After losing his place in Ghana’s 1st XI to Afriyie Acquah at the 2015 AFCON, he returned to Udinese with an average form, failing to become the automatic starter he had been for some time now. He made an encouraging come back to make 10 starts in the 2nd round of the league.
It was believed Agyemang Badu would make his long-awaited dream move to the EPL in the summer when Watford, the sister club of Udinese, gained promotion to the Premier League but Badu stayed in Italy because the club could not afford to lose 2 experienced central midfielders having sold Allan to Napoli. With Allan out of the club, Badu started the 1st game of the 2015/16 season away to Juventus helping his team defeat the defending champions.
After that victory, the club’s form took a nose dive but Badu kept on putting in fine displays. His high point of the season was when he carried the team like a talisman to cripple Milan’s midfield. Udinese was down by 3 goals. He scored an early 2nd half goal and inspired his team to fight on but they lost 3-2.
With age getting the better side of club legend and talisman Antonio Di Natalie, Agyemang Badu Emmanuel has grown to become a key player at the club, helping them fight back from an abysmal early season form.
When he is fit, Badu has started every game this season scoring 3 goals as a defensive midfielder. Should he continue with his form, he is likely to be the player Udinese will cash in on during the next summer transfer, following the trend of Alexis Sanchez, Kwadwo Asamoah, Mehdi Benatia.
Afriyie Acquah – 7/10
2015 has been a very good season for the Ghanaian box-to-box midfielder. He doesn’t seem to be affected by the off-the-pitch scandals with his wife. He became a starter for the Black Stars in the year, starring at the 2015 AFCON.
On the club side he left bankrupt AC Parma to the then high-flying Sampdoria. He was one of the best midfielders in Italy, forming a strong midfield partnership with Soriano to help them qualify for the Europa League.
In the summer of 2015, he was on the move again, trading Genoa for Turin to join Torino FC. Not only has he been a regular but a key player at Torino, putting in stellar displays week in week out.
Godfred Donsah – 6/10
Donsah had a breakthrough season playing for now Serie B club Cagliari.
Even though his club was battling for survival, the 19 year-old distinguished himself and made the most of the opportunities afforded him by coaches Gianfranco Zola and Znedek Zeman.
He was a subject of interest from the big Serie A clubs and some clubs in England but he opted to join Bologna as it guaranteed playing time to help develop his career.
He began the season as a regular but a muscle injury side-lined him followed by a changed in coach but he has now worked his way back into the starting XI winning the heart of coach Roberto Donadoni.
Kwadwo Asamoah – 0/10
2015 will go down as a bad year for the versatile Ghanaian midfielder. His football career was threatened by several injuries.
Though his club won a domestic double and reached the final of the UEFA Champions League, he spent almost the entire year on the treatment table making only 4 appearances in the year. He is now fit and hoping to get his career back on track in 2016.
With the arrival of Brazilian left wing back Alex Sandro, he is now going to be deployed as a central midfielder more often because Juventus lost 2 key players in Pirlo and Vidal in the summer transfer window.
Kevin Prince Boateng – 3/10
Another Ghanaian player who had a year to forget is German- born Kevin Prince Boateng.
Now unattached the then Schalke 04 was suspended by the German giants together with Sidney Sam for bad behavior and poor performance.
The attacking midfielder was linked to several clubs both in Europe and the US but all attempts to secure a move failed with rumors attributing it to his failure to fitness test due to chronic injury troubles.
Now, clubs he is training with his former club Milan and according AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani, the suspended Ghanaian international will become a Milan player again starting from 4th of January next year on a 6 month-contract.
Typical of Milan, they have given a troubled former player a 2nd chance to revive his career.
KP Boateng will be his own enemy should he fail to make most of this opportunity.
Alhassan Wakaso – 6/10
Just like his elder brother, Black Stars midfielder Mubarak Wakaso, Alhassan also plies his trade in the Iberian peninsula for Portuguese side Rio Ave.
2015 has been a successful year for the young defensive midfielder as he has now become a regular in the starting XI of the Primeira Liga side.
In the 1st half of the year or the 2nd round of the 2014/15 season, he started 16 games and made 2 substitute appearances.
This season, he has maintained his form and already started 12 games already in the Primeira Liga.
In the Taça de Portugal (Portuguese FA Cup), he has played in 3 games so far helping his club reach the quarter finals.
His highest point of the year came on 15th December when he scored an important equaliser against Vitoria Setubal to take their cup game to penalty kicks which his club Rio Ave F.C won.
Alhassan Wakaso is on the up and one will not be wrong to call for his inclusion into Ghana’s senior national team the Black Stars.
Samuel Inkoom – 4/10
Another Ghanaian player in the Portuguese Primeira Liga is former World U20 champion Samuel Inkoom.
He spent the first half of the year on the US with DC United in the Major League Soccer but failed to make a single match day squad not to talk of making the bench.
Fortunately for him, he had a chance to end his torrid spell in the US when he secured a move back to Europe signing for Boavista Porto FC.
Though he has not been a major hit, he has managed to start 7 league games so far this season.
Inkoom will hope for a better 2016.
Bernard Mensah – 6/10
The young Ghanaian had a breakthrough season in 2014/15 especially in the 2nd half of the season starring for Portuguese side Vitória Guimarães SC.
He made 16 starts from January to May where the European season ended.
His performance did not go unnoticed attracting interest from most of the elite European Clubs.
Diego Simone’s Atletico Madrid was able to convince him to sign for them and quickly loaned him to Getafe where they thought he could have playing time.
The 21-year old midfield has struggled for game time at the Madrid-based club. He is yet to start a league game but has made 4 substitute appearances.
Even with limited playing time at Getafe, 2015 will go down as a successful year for the young midfielder having secured a big move to La Liga side Atletico Madrid.
Mubarak Wakaso – 3/10
He has been the best performer for the senior national team of Ghana in recent times but his club form has been a sharp contrast to that of his national team.
Mubarak was on loan at Celtic in the Scottish Premier League from Rubin Kazan. In Scotland, he made only 5 appearances with only one of them coming in 2015 the year under review.
Wakaso had wanted to trade Europe for the Gulf region and he almost signed for Al Ittihad but the deal fell through the last hour.
His parent club Rubin Kazan then loaned him to newly promoted la liga side UD Las Palmas.
Just like his other loan stint, he has not been unable to command a regular starting berth with only 4 starts so far this season.
Come 2016, Wakaso will hope to replicate his national team form at club level.
Razak Braimah – 6/10
Ghana has exported thousands of players to Europe over the years but goalkeepers rarely make such moves. Razak Braimah is a part of a select few keepers the nation has plying their trade in Europe.
Braimah has spent his entire professional goal keeping career in Spain switching between the nation’s 2nd and 3rd division. The Cordoba player was on loan at Mirandes in the 1st half of 2015 where he managed to start 18 games and keep 7 clean sheets. His parent club Cordoba recalled him for the 2015/16 season having been relegated from La Liga.
He has been able to command a starting berth and has been in post for the Spanish segunda division side 14 times with 7 clean sheets.
In total, he has started 32 Spanish segunda division games in 2015 in his time at Mirandas and Cordoba and he has recorded 14 clean sheets.
Jonathan Mensah – 3/10
Jonathan Mensah will mark 2015 as one of the difficult years in his football career.
His club Evian got relegated from the French Ligue 1, he became a fringe player and to make matters worse, he was banned for four months by FIFA in a breach-of-contract case, that meant that Mensah was still contracted to Udinese when he joined Evian four years prior claiming to be a free agent.
In the entire calendar year he played only 3 times for his club- 2 in Ligue 1 and only one this current season in Ligue 2.
John Boye – 6/10
The lanky Ghanaian centre back is among the few Black Stars players in Europe playing regular football this year.
He started the year on the roster of Kayseri Erciyesspor in the Turkish Super League after the disappointment of losing the 2015 AFCON title to Cote d’Ivoire in February.
His club got relegated from the Super Lig at the end of that season.
Fortunately for him, during the summer transfer window he switched clubs and joined Sivasspor to remain in the Turkish elite division.
Though his club is struggling in 16th position, just a spot above the relegation zone, he has been playing more regularly.
The central defender has 4 goals to his credit in the current season.
Enoch Kofi Adu – 6.5/10
The Malmo FF midfielder has been a regular participant of the Uefa Champions League for the Swedish giant.
This year was no exception as he started all 6 games for Malmo in their UCL group against Real Madrid, PSG and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Before that he played 5 games in the UCL qualification phase to get his club into the main competition.
Kofi Adu has developed into a ‘regista’ or a playmaker who sits at the base of midfield to control games like the legendary Andrea Pirlo and Sergio Busquets.
His club did not excel as expected though in the Swedish League failing to retain the title they won in 2014.
Frank Acheampong – 5.5/10
Nicknamed “The Ghanaian Messi” during his days at King Faisal Babies in the Ghana Premier League the young winger is now with Anderlecht in the Belgian Jupiler League.
He got to play for the Black Stars in the early part of the year 2015 but on his return to his club, he lost his position in the starting XI but regained it during the Playoffs amongst the top 6 to determine the winner of the league title.
He started 9 out of the 10 games but his club could not retain their title.
This season, he has started only 2 league games and has made 7 sub appearances.
His highest point of the season was scoring in the Europa League at Monaco to help Anderlecht qualify to the knockout stage of the competition.