Asamoah Gyan: the truth?

Asamoah by addick-tedKevin

Gary Al-Smith is a respected commentator on African football.

At, he has given a detailed and quite depressing account of the events leading to yesterday’s bombshell announcement that a player signed as a world-class striker for £13m little more than a year ago was on his way to play his football in the fabulously rich but, in terms of football quality, lowly environment of the UAE.

I have lived in Abu Dhabi and twice visited Al Ain, where Gyan will play.

Much of what has been done in that emirate and its fellow members of the UAE is to be admired. A great nation has risen from the sand in under 40 years.

I defended the Abu Dhabi takeover of Man City on the grounds that it was hypocritical to complain about such ownership originating in the Gulf and not bat an eyelid when rich Americans buy English clubs, Sunderland included.

A saviour is a saviour. Money is hardly a warm and elevating presence in football, but it is there and we have to get on with its consequences (or stop bothering with the game at all).

The Gyan move has a lot to do with money – Gary gives his Al Ain deal as being worth $200,000 a week whereas Niall Quinn had rightly sent him packing when he put in a demand for a pay rise at Sunderland – though disenchantment and disillusion play their part, too. It reflects poorly on several of those concerned.

Follow the link above to Gary’s article in full but here is a flavour:

… it was a culmination of Gyan’s feelings since the start of the year.

The player had moved from Rennes to Sunderland on a club record 13 million pounds on transfer deadline day last summer … There was a buzz around the Stadium of Light.

At the time, Gyan had the reliable Darren Bent as a strike partner and they were expected to fire the Wearside team into the top eight of the Premier League, at least.

And then in January Bent left for Aston Villa, insisting it was for “footballing reasons” and not money. Gyan started feeling lonely upfront, netting just twice between Bent’s departure and Ghana’s game with England.


According to Bruce, who spoke to the media after today’s defeat to Chelsea, this game was crucial in Gyan’s attitudinal calendar. “Since that game at Wembley, all the parasites, as I call them, hover around. People are in his ear constantly trying to engineer a deal for him. Certainly since the England game, when he played at Wembley so well on the night, something has been troubling him.”


… even more poignant were the sentiments the player expressed while in Ghana in May. “Sunderland’s team spirit that I know is not the same. Things are not organised. I’m not too happy there. ”

The club had been in a mini-crisis. Between February 12 and the end of the season, the Cats had won only three out of 12 games, a situation that that had seen morale drop to dangerous levels.


Steve Bruce. He was completely in the dark about it all. It’s the reason he said today that sometimes football leaves a sour taste in the mouth. He had taken a personal liking to Gyan and was worried about his poor showing in the opening games of the season thus far. “I had a conversation with him 48 hours ago and he shook my hand and assured me he wanted to stay at Sunderland,” the coach said today.

“Within a few hours things changed. It’s disappointing and the whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth.”


The conclusion is simple: he was not happy; he felt Sunderland’s motivations had waned and he wanted a good deal.

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23 thoughts on “Asamoah Gyan: the truth?”

  1. ifos says:
    September 11, 2011 at 11:02 am

    “Bendtner is far more physically suited to the battering ram role of a lone striker, and yet he too will soon tire of the thankless task Bruce has recently asked of his forwards, and if that’s the case will he stay?”

    I have yet to read one quote from him that says he is hoping to.

    All I have managed to pick up on are quotes about him being happy to be here and that he will not return to Arsenal because of the way that (he felt) he was being snubbed.

    Not one quote about him wanting to stay with SAFC, or seeing the loan deal as a “suck it and see”.

    So, I believe, he is hoping to have a good season personally that will result in a permanent move to a club that (he feels) match his ability and ambitions.

    I could be wrong, but…..!

  2. Bill Taylor says:
    September 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    “This is my last word to or about Phil Johnson and his strange obsession with me.”

    Please don’t flatter yourself!

    No obsession with you, only a desire to see what was, at face value, an article that was an anathema to any, genuine, supporter of SAFC explained.

    You have chosen not to do that and resorted to name calling and insults.

    For a “professional” journo’ that surprised me.

    I will let others draw their own conclusions for your choosing to do that!

  3. I’ve just clicked “like” on that last comment. It’s only of interest or entertainment value to ONE of the immediate participants. And that ain’t me. This is my last word to or about Phil Johnson and his strange obsession with me.

  4. Is drawing at Liverpool and Sweansea and losing to Newcastle and Chelsea really a crisis? If we had lost to Liverpool and Chelsea which to be honest was the expected outcome , and then drawn against NUFC, in a derby match which we all know can be very unpredictable, and drawn at newly promoted Swansea( newly promoted teams at home early in the season can be tricky) would people still be bleating on the way they are? For goodness sake get of the manager’s back, give the new players time to settle in and if things are not going well after ten or twelve games then start complaining.

  5. Bill Taylor says:
    September 11, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    1) “I’ve just seen Phil Johnston’s comment and while normally I’d ignore it as the bleating of an ignorant man”

    2) “The fact is that Phil either misread or misunderstood what I said in first place and now he’s obsessed with it.”

    Tsk, tsk William!

    You wrote an article that I thought showed your true colours and then proceeded, in your normal manner, to attempt to use childish insults when I questioned your subsequent use of “we” and “us”.

    What you FAILED to do was respond in an adult manner and explain how I had misunderstood your words, despite my requests for clarification.

    Please see the links below.

    I won’t hold my breath whilst waiting for a response!

    • I preach free speech so, subject to considerations of the law and ordinary decency, no one is banned and nor is any subject. I’m not even sure how I could effectively ban anyone.

      But can I just say we have enough to worry about without wasting time and effort on internal squabbling that is probably of no interest or entertainment value to anyone beyond the immediate participants?

  6. Me thinks he didn’t want to play for such crap team and looked for better. He sure found it lol. Christ even Bent jumped ship. I fear its Relegation this year for the mackems.

  7. Like I said after the Newcastle game we are a shambles Chelsea didn’t need to get out of. Second gear on Saturday Bruce has not got a clue let’s start from back to front the keeper needs changing to many mistakes the midfield was gardner did nothing again cats ran around like a chicken with no. Head on colback has not. Got a clue and won’t cross the Halfway line and never makes a forward pass Larson tried SESS cud not keep the ball and bentner huffed and puffed but didn’t blow the house down Bruce get out now before you kill our club do you never play 4 4 2 is it because you sickening our strikers is. That’s why they all want to leave get yr P45 as you go out of the door…

  8. I’ve just seen Phil Johnston’s comment and while normally I’d ignore it as the bleating of an ignorant man, the fact is that when Phil talks about football he’s worth listening to. I don’t suppose he cares but I usually tick “like” on his comments. For some reason, though, he has a bee in his bonnet about me that causes him to natter on like an old woman. It does him no credit.
    For the record, I’m not trying at all to re-ingratiate myself. I wrote what I wrote several weeks ago and I live with it. It’s got nothing to do with editors; my words were not changed. The fact is that Phil either misread or misunderstood what I said in first place and now he’s obsessed with it.
    If Colin ever wants me off this blog, it’ll only take a word from him. But I very much doubt if he’ll do it on Phil Johnson’s say-so.

  9. Comments from Steve Bruce to the effect that he knew nothing about the Gyan loan deal really leave me wondering whese SAFC are headed. If he did not know then others within the club must be acting without his knowledge – the chairman and/or owner must surely have known. Where does that leave the manager. Ellis Short, a wealthy man. used to success, must be near the point of taking some sort of action. Changes have already took place at boardroom level – manager/chairman replaced next? As an aside I was at Swansea. I wasnt the only one who thought Gyan was saying goodbye to the fans at the end of the match – maybe all is not what it seems. Next few weeks could be very interesting.

  10. He’s too wrapped up in his own ego. We need to sign players with a good work ethic. Gyan is a primadona. I hope his career grinds to a halt!!

  11. Lets make no mistake about it, this is all about money, nothing else!!
    Well done to the club for booting these mercenaries into touch!!!
    Its alright some saying we should give in, but if you cant see that the clubs future is at stake when paying exorbinate wages, your a fool!!

  12. I agree with the Levy comment–it would have been handled differently.

    The problem I think is the new legal and commercial team at SAFC. they are too preoccupied with selling the “brand” overseas and are not protecting the assets (players) they have at the club.

    Are they really a match for rapacious super-agents and their fly boy clients?

    In the Gyan case they appear to have been caught out by developments and made poor decisions, haven’t made contingency plans, so nothing has been learnt from the Darren Bent fiasco.

    The comment by Bruce on not retaining unhappy players makes a nice soundbite but is naive in the extreme,especially with £13m + wages invested. SAFC have been right royally rolled over by all other parties –Gyan lands a big signing on fee and $200,000 a week, his agent probably made a killing on facilitating the move and the Arabs get a good young player rather than their usual crop of washed up “superstars”.

    I think all involved at SAFC need a bollicking Mr. Short. My club is a laughing stock!!!!!

  13. Bill Taylor says:

    September 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t suppose Al-Ain might be looking for a manager, too? Slightly shop-soiled but brain in perfect condition – never been used.

    I see that you are still attempting to re-ingratiate yourself.

    If I was you, I wouldn’t waste my time – your article displayed your character (or lack of it)!

    I’m now waiting for your standard defence – “They were not my words, they were those of my editor!


    Colin out! (Joke)

  14. This article and all of the above comments have, in my view, one thing in common (whether intended or not) that SB is unfit to manage SAFC and that the club need to “grow some”, when dealing with players of the Bent/Gyan ilk.

    I read many views that claim that the club is in a “no win” position and MUST protect their initial investment by “getting a good deal for the club” and many who espouse the opposite viewpoint i.e. “let him rot in the reserves”.

    What I have NEVER read is how each scenario is the way that utilising the latter view can affect the player, his reputation, ability to play for his country and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) his current and future earning power!

    In the Gyan situation SAFC would have had to pay his salary for the next 3 years and then risk (by playing hardball) the initial fee .

    Gyan, though, and his agent would also have had a LOT to lose, if the club adopted that stance!

    I wonder how keen he would have been to disrespect the club so much (as with Bent) if he was left in NO doubt that he would never kick a ball again in the Premier League (if he maintained his disinterested/disruptive stance) and how his agent would have reacted when he realised his “cash cow” had no short/medium term value?

    Given that scenario I cannot believe that he (or his agent) would wish to jeopardise any of that, especially, given the %’s of player’s incomes that are bonus related!

    Also, which club would offer a large salary (other than one that was performance related) to a player that had not played at senior level (or international level) for 3 or 4 years?

    Not many, I would suggest!

    So, do player have the ultimate power?

    IMHO, only if they attempt and are then encouraged and allowed to exercise it by inept management!!

    Love Levy or loathe him I think 1 thing can be guaranteed – He would have handled both scenarios in a, totally, different manner!

  15. I am not really clear on how players go on loan agreement doesnt the management of sunderland have a say on whether to approve the loan contract or not so long as Gyan remains their player.
    Well whatever the issue as to Gyan departure being it for money as some claim for pride or unpleasure at sunderland can be argued all day but the fact still remain: Does sunderland really want any thing from the league? NO
    Look at the likes of the big clubs investing so much into attacking players (strikers and forwards) chelsea man utd man city liverpool all boast of about 3 reliable strikers or forwards as some choose to call them.
    It was a bad decision for sunderland to let Bent go it took a lot from sunderland after and the same looks to be happening in letting Gyan go as well. I thought this was the best time for Bruce to hang on to Gyan and try his partnership with Bedtner or Park. I would have love to see sunderland play 3 attacking with these like they did against chlesea with gyan welbek and bent.
    I dont know if the loan deal is finalised but if not bruce should really hold to Gyan.

  16. One up front has not worked in this country since Clive Allen at Spurs, and it will not work at SAFC with the midfielders we have. Gyan’s move is about one thing and that’s money. Bruce is right about the “parasites” who do nothing other than try to increase their earnings by moving players around. Gyan had the opportunity to be a very rich man and a hero on Wearside. He chose to be an even richer man with no freinds.

  17. I don’t disagree with Michael’s post about the ‘first signs of trouble’ attitude, however, there are other issues at our club, for strikers in particular.
    Once Bent left Gyan was often up front on his own, and this wasn’t the Ghana lone striker role, where the ball is played to feet and 3-4 midfielders are quick to support, this was a lone striker role being asked to chase aimless balls; to fight off 2-3 defenders on his own, there’s no-one else to mark, before someone finally decided to help him; asked to flick the ball on into space and then really have to chase it himself anyway because there is rarely anyone there. If I’m being honest it must be depressing being a forward at our club.
    Bendtner is far more physically suited to the battering ram role of a lone striker, and yet he too will soon tire of the thankless task Bruce has recently asked of his forwards, and if that’s the case will he stay?
    Finally the comments by Bruce after the Swansea game: to personally single out Gyan as the reason we didn’t win was awful management, behind closed doors by all means say what needs to be said, but the public criticism of one man in a team of 11 was poor, and suggested a manager under pressure and looking for excuses.
    Does it excuse Gyan leaving in this way, no. Does it help to explain it? Possibly.

  18. Being presented with a fait accompli then trying to make the best of it is not how to run a business.

    Losing your principal striker after the close of the European transfer window, through the machinations of agents, is not the way to run a business.

    Allowing contracted players to seek loan deals independently is not how to run a business.

    Reports that the player met officials from another club after the Brasil vs Ghana without the permission of SAFC and without them making a complaint to the FA is not how to run a business.

    A softly softly reaction, especially after the Bent transfer sends out messages of weakness and damages the club’s standing and is not how to run a business.

    Isn’t it time some agents had their licences suspended or revoked and sued for damages by a football club? Isn’t it time a player was sued for breach of contract?

  19. Interesting article. My own speculation is that Gyan came in on higher wages and this unsettled Bent. Then when Bent had gone Gyan’s agent realised we were even more desperate to hang onto our sole striker and demanded more money. Quinny et al refused to give into such demands and we lose the player. The fans took to Gyan as we did to Bent, but supporters have little influence when money dictates; SAFC rightly won’t give into escalating demands but good strikers are in short supply so we struggle.

  20. So Gyan leaves at the first sign of difficulties. What a coward, Has no body told him that life ,let alone football is full of ups and downs and there comes a point when you have to deal with them face on. Just what sort of state would football be in if everbody asked for a move when the team is going throigh a bad patch?He can say what he likes but I suspect we all know the reason he left. And it has very little, if anything , to do with football.

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