Ever heard of Frank Acheampong?
Well he was touted as Africa’s hottest talent a couple of years ago and is frequently called just ‘Messi’ due to their remarkable similarities in playing style. Acheampong is just 5ft 6ins tall and plays either out wide or as an attacking midfield player and his main asset is his dribbling ability.
For a while now I have followed his Twitter page with interest; waiting to see when he finally got his chance to chine in Europe. His unconventional career so far has seen him start his footballing life in his homeland with stints at King Faisal Blues and Berekum Chelsea before making an odd switch.
In February 2011 he agreed a deal to sign for Buriram United and has spent the last two years playing in the Thailand Premier League with good effect.
Such was his form he even earned a national team call-up; featuring as a starter against China in August 2012. His logistical location in Asia may have made it an easy decision to pick him for the game in Shaanxi Province but still featuring for the Black Stars must have been a privilege.
He has also represented the Under-20 side as captain scoring five goals in his 8 appearances at that level.
In regards to his move to European football it is obviously something that would see his game develop and there have certainly been plenty of enquiries in the past. A move to Serie A side Palermo was on the cards in 2010 but never came about while Celtic also tried to sign him with talks breaking down.
Most tellingly may have been his stint under the watchful eye of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour in Abu Dhabi. The Premier League champions owner is a personal fan of the talented dribbler and wanted to consider the possibility of bringing him to Manchester; however you imagine work permit issues would certainly hinder such a move.
But finally the 19-year-old is getting the chance to shine in Europe after agreeing a loan-spell with Belgian giants Anderlecht.
He has certainly already made an impact; scoring in the NextGen Series game with Olympiakos last month. He has also fired two goals in a 3-0 win against AC Milan in the clubs triumphant Viareggio Cup Final since arriving and has started to push for a place in the first team squad since Dieumerci Mbokani’s suspension.
The club currently have a buying option and judging by the storm he has already caused in Brussels in a little over a month you can be sure that the Belgian giants will be pursuing that avenue come June.
Here is a video of Acheampong in action…
image: © jikatu