Arsenal have been linked with a move for £10 million pound rated Afriyie Acquah, a young Ghanaian midfielder who has impressed so much in his short time in Serie A that he has drawn comparisons with Michael Essien.
Nothing much new for Arsene Wenger you would think, but the 20 year old from Sunyani has taken a different career path than most from the streets of Ghana to Serie A, via Belfast.
Acquah was living on the streets of Sunyani when he was spotted by the Glentoran Academy, an initiative set up by Christopher Antoh Forsythe, a homeless boy from Ghana adopted by a Belfast school teacher who supports the Glens and linked up with the Glentoran Community Trust after returning to his native country.
He spent a year with the Belfast club, and since then has gone from strength to strength, and is already a full Ghana international.
Next year he is due to represent Ghana at the African Nations Cup, and Arsenal are planning to send scouts to watch him before deciding whether or not to follow up on their interest, if all goes well a deal could occur next summer.
Five things you need to know about Acquah:
1. Acquah is was born in January 1992. Four days after his birth, Paul Merson scored an equaliser for Arsenal in a 1-1 draw against Wimbledon in Selhurst Park in the old first division.
2. He currently plays for Parma, where he is on a season long loan from Palermo with who he signed for in 2010. The Palermo sporting director has described him as the next Essien – both clubs will be entitled to a share of any transfer fees should he be sold after this season.
3. When he was informed he was to go out on loan from Palermo, Acquah contacted Glentoran which he regards “as a second home” to see if he could return but as Community Trust member Sam Robinson told the BBC last year, “he’s out of our league now.”
4. A robust central midfielder, his strength, vision and comfort on the ball have lead to one of his mentors to say he could become a future Ballon D’Or winner.
5. He’s already made a mark at international level, scoring in just his second ever match for the Black Stars last October in 1-0 win away to Malawi.