Right then. Asamoah Gyan.
Of course I have my doubts about Reading potential signing one of the world’s highest paid players, which Marc perfectly summed up yesterday. I totally get where he is coming from, and I usually have doubts about any transfer we make, least of all this summer. Upon the signing of every one of our 11 new players, I have had at least one concern. But for me, the positives of bringing in Asamoah Gyan outweigh the negatives.
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first – Gyan’s wages. It seems as though Shanghai SIPG will the pay the majority of, if not all of the Ghanain’s reported £227,000 per week salary, with Reading then coughing up a loan fee of between £2-3 million. Now yes, this would put him amongst the club’s most expensive ever players, but in reality this is a minimal fee in today’s market. Especially when you consider this an experienced striker who has played at World Cups, African Cups of Nations and holds multiple goal scoring records.
Of course, the question is do the club have this sort of money? I’m confident that the Thai consortium, who worked so hard to reduce the club’s debt and improve our financial position, would not then put our position in jeopardy once more. They would not be backing Stam and paying this fee for Gyan if they did not have the money available. I hope.
There have been comparisons between Gyan and the likes of Yakubu and Les Ferdinand, both strikers at the end of their careers. It may surprise you, but Asamoah Gyan is only 30 years old. This is the same age as Stephen Quinn and Joey van den Berg. Gyan should be nowhere near retirement, and still be good enough to consistently bang in the goals. And it appears that is very much the case, smashing in 113 goals in 104 games for previous club Al Ain in the UAE. Yes, this should of course be taken with a pinch of salt as the league is most certainly much more easy, but these are still stunning figures. I think it is highly unlikely that Gyan is ‘past it’ or ‘too old’.
Question marks over the former Sunderland man’s attitude have also been raised since he has been linked with a move to the Madejski Stadium. For me, there are many reasons to suggest that Gyan will not be another Royston Drenthe, if you believe the Ghanain’s words in the last couple of days. Speaking to Sky Sports, he claimed: “I just want to prove myself again in England. I am ready to go.” If this desire is genuine and he really does want to show the nation more of what he can do after just a single season at Sunderland, then he’ll be motivated to do well in every game.
With the African Cup of Nations coming up in January 2017, Gyan will also be desperate to show why he deserves a place in the Ghana squad to appear at his seventh finals. He’ll know that if he doesn’t perform at Reading, there is no chance of him featuring in Gabon. Thirdly, the 30 year old’s contract at Shanghai SIPG is up at the end of the season, so he will be keen to put himself in the shop window or impress Reading enough to sign him permanently on a huge wage cut. So on paper, it looks as though Gyan will be motivated.
Gyan also gets brownie points for his charity work, embarking on building an Astro Turf pitch at his Alma Mata Accra Academy, whilst he also has his own charity – the Asamoah Gyan Foundation. He also spent $335,000 on projects including a children’s hospital and clean water movements. He was even named the fourth most charitable footballer, albeit by a Ghanaian sports website!
Finally, and perhaps the most pertinent reason why Asamoah Gyan would be a good fit for Reading would be that we need a striker. It’s the only position that Jaap Stam is likely to invest between now and when the transfer window shuts tomorrow, and Gyan could be the man. And he’s not just any striker. I’ve already mentioned his goal scoring exploits, whilst he is most certainly not a piece of dead wood we are picking up – we have seemingly beaten both Sunderland and Fulham to sign him. Gyan has pace, something none of our current options possess, whilst he is also comfortable playing the lone striker role having played their pretty much his entire career, so would fit perfectly into Stam’s system.
It’s not quite a no brainer, but it seems to me like an impressive signing. I hope I’m right.