Sunderland’s record signing Asamoah Gyan has admitted he faces a stern task to justify his £13million transfer fee. The Ghanaian forward completed a move to the North East on deadline day, but the transfer raised eyebrows with its vast price tag, and Gyan is well aware that expectations from him will be high.
The 24-year-old told BBC Sport: “It has been my dream to go to England and it is one of the best moments of my career. I am somebody who can soak up the pressure. Sunderland is not like Chelsea who can buy players for £15m, but they did which suggests the coach has a lot of confidence in me and sees the calibre of player I am.
“As a spearhead people will expect you to score goals. Secondly they bought me with a huge amount of money and most of the fans will be expecting extraordinary things. But I can deal with the pressure.”
Gyan’s confidence is admirable, but whether he can live up to his promises is another question. Top players aside, It is rare that players come in from abroad and make an immediate impact in the Premier League, and you do feel that Sunderland have paid over the odds for a player with no experience of playing in England.
But what Gyan does have going for him is his physical qualities and exemplary attitude. While English fans won’t have seen much of Gyan, in the World Cup he was superb , showing some lethal pace and strength coupled with excellent finishes.
The worry for Sunderland fans will be that Gyan follows a long list of players signed on the back of a good World Cup. A quick look over his past reveals a forward who although never clinical has always chipped in with goals, but has struggled with injuries. In the 2007-2008 season Gyan, then at Udinese, was struck by injury and missed virtually the whole campaign.
But a move to France followed and Gyan scored 14 times in 48 games for Ligue 1 club Rennes. That sort of record demonstrates the sort of role that Sunderland boss will be looking Gyan to play. I suspect that Gyan will be the forward to do the dirty work, letting Darren Bent be the clinical goal-getter.
The problem with this though is that Gyan might not get the glory to justify his price. Football fans are fickle and often don’t recognise players who bring the subtle qualities of the squad together. But I hope for Gyan that Sunderland fans take note of what he brings to the team, should he not score the goals his price tag demands.