NorthEast United FC have made probably the biggest signing of Indian Super League 5. The northeast franchise acquired the service of Ghana’s all-time top-scorer at Fifa World Cup – Asamoah Gyan – on Thursday.
With Bartholomeu Ogbeche leaving for Kerala Blasters after an incredible last season where he scored 18 goals in 12 appearances, NEUFC were left with a choice between Gyan and the Nigerian Obafemi Martins.
But the Highlanders chose the 33-year-old Ghanian who has been the most capped player and a former captain for Ghana. “I know Asamoah from the time he played in Udinese, he was a big star in the Serie A, he has played 3 World Cups and played for many clubs around the world, he will provide experience to the team, and hopefully he can do great things for the club together with his teammates,” new coach Robert Jarni said on Thursday.
He holds the record of scoring the fastest goal in the 2006 edition of Fifa World Cup when he put the ball into the Czech Republic net just 68 seconds after kick-off. Since his debut in 2003 at the age of 17, Gyan has been an integral part of the national team and has won two Africa Cup of Nations runners-up medals.
He equalled Cameroonian Roger Milla’s African record of five goals with the strike against Germany in the 2-2 draw at the 2014 World Cup.
“I am extremely excited to start this new chapter in my career. I have heard great things about NorthEast United FC and the Indian Super League, and I am thrilled to be a part of it for the upcoming season. I am confident that we can better the wonderful season the club had last year.”
Apart from his feat with the national team, Gyan has the experience of playing top-level club football with his stints with Rennes in Ligue 1, Udinese in Serie A and with Sunderland in the Premier League. He has scored 14 goals in 48 appearances for Rennes, 11 in 39 for Udinese and 11 in 36 appearances for the English club.
Gyan will also be bringing with him the experience of playing in Asia. In fact, his best club performance was with Al Ain where he netted in 65 goals in 73 appearances for the UAE club between 2012 to 2015.
The Ghanaian striker will be an important addition to the new Croatian coach Jarni’s scheme of things after NEUFC had to let go of Ogbeche who had been exceptional of the franchise last season. He will also have Brazilian forward Maximiliano Barreiro, who is another of NEUFC’s foreigner signings this season.
With no Indian striker in the squad, the Highlanders will bank heavily on the foreigner duo to deliver in front of the goal.
It will also be a chance for Gyan to add to his remarkable career after the Ghanaian was left with no contract since July 1 after his contract with the Turkish club Kayserispor came to an end. He is expected to join the squad early next week.