The dexterity with which the “new Messi” of Ghana football out doored himself was a delight to apprehend.
Many years after his impressive debut, the question asked by many football fanatics remain, was he able to live up to expectation or was advertised beyond his natural capability.
Moving from Cheetah FC to Portugal as a relatively unknown player, the pacey winger signed for Fc Porto but had to be loaned to Rio Ave due to lack of playing time.
The nimble footed player after successive display returned to his mother club where he had gained popularity in Portugal and his motherland for the right reasons, his contribution to the team ensured he helped his team win the national championship.
The name Christian Atsu became a household name in Ghana and the expectation on him to become a kingpin in the national team was the least expected from any football fan after that imposing performances for the black stars. Spreading like wild fire, rumours were rife the Ada born player was heading to Stamford bridge to share dressing room with the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry etc.
The move had divided opinions from a country of 25 million coaches, one school of taught believed the budding player should take time and nurture his craft with a relatively unknown team to avoid the pressure that comes with playing in the top echelon of elite European clubs. The latter believed in the old adage “opportunity comes once” hence the earlier he grabbed the chance the better. As expected, he was sent on loan to Dutch side Vitesse where he will make twenty-eight (28) appearances with 5 goals to his credit.
As expected, the skillful winger made the squad to the world cup in brazil where he played in all three matches in the abysmal display at the tourney. In the build up to the 2014 season, the blues announced the player will be joining the toffees for another loan deal.
The Timing of the African cup of nations meant the player will have his season truncated for him to honour national team duties, his decision to play for the black stars will prove to be one of his best moment of his carrier as he earned the best player of the tournament as well as the best goal of the tourney in what will be described as one of the best outings of the national team in recent times after annexing silver.
Paradoxically, the ex Feyernod football academy trainee will be loaned to newly promoted Bournemouth which turned out to be his worst move as he only made two appearances in cup matches without a single show in the premier league. A move to the Spanish side Malaga was nothing short of impressive from his previous loan deals.
The journeyman was on his was again to English side Newcastle which proved a bit futile eventually forcing a permanent deal to the magpies in 2017 for an amount of 6.2 million pounds.
Fast forward in his Newcastle carrier, the winger has had a roller coaster performance to the surprise of many after a promising start to life at the St. James Park. He was initially not registered for the 2020/2021 campaign and was made to play with the lower tier of the club however, luck shined on his fortunes as he was restored to the squad after a couple of injuries to first team players.
The agony of the Ghanaian international meant he had since lost his position in the national team with no sign of a call up due to club inactivity. For those who believe the national team is a spring board for players to advertise their capabilities to be identified and poached by clubs, the question posed by many football fans is, could the handlers of the national team extend a helping hand to the lad for a call-up to rebuild his carrier as was done to Stephen Appiah when he was club less prior to the 2010 world cup.
The evidence is very clear the player will only get into oblivion if he does nothing to shake-up his football carrier to ascend to the expectation which was put on him nine years after making his debut.