Ghana midfielder Afriyie Acquah has finally secured a permanent move away from Hoffenheim and will turn out for Torino next season, has he finally found a stage upon which he be deliver on his promise.

Afriyie Acquah

Ghana midfielder Afriyie Acquah has finally secured a permanent move away from Hoffenheim and will turn out for Torino next season, has he finally found a stage upon which he be deliver on his promise.

EDITORIAL    By Ed Dove     Follow on Twitter

Earlier in the summer, Andre Ayew was the primary focus when it came to Ghanaian players moving to Serie A.

The forward, whose Olympique de Marseille contract comes to an end at the beginning of July, had been linked to both Milan clubs, while AS Roma were close to a deal before talks stalled.

Ultimately, Dede ended up signing for Swansea City, rather than following his father?s footsteps into the Italian top flight.

Abedi Pele left French football in 1994 when he swapped Olympique Lyonnais for Torino. This summer, another of his compatriots has signed for the Granata.

It had been expected that Afriyie Acquah would complete a permanent move to Serie A this summer.

Only 23, the midfielder is now representing his fourth Italian top-flight side, having previously featured for Palermo, Parma (twice) and latterly, Sampdoria.

Palermo sold him to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in January 2013, only to return to Serie A on a temporary switch to the Stadio Ennio Tardini six months after the move.

On the eve of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, he ended his spell at Parma, before signing for Sampdoria until the end of the season.

Acquah?often featuring in tandem with compatriot Alfred Duncan?impressed with Samp, and many had expected that the Blucherchiati would secure the player?s signature on a long-term deal this summer.

Instead, after two years and two appearances on the Hoffenheim bench?but zero league outings?he has finally called time on his career in German football, signing for Torino on a four-year contract.

The Turin outfit will be well aware of what they are getting in Acquah, indeed, while with Parma, the Ghanian once won a penalty from his new employers after a darting run through the middle of the park was unfairly halted by Kamil Glik.

The Black Star is a veritable powerhouse in the middle of the park; it?s a term that?s used often, but in Acquah?s case he offers a lethal mix of upper-body power and ferocious strength in his thighs and his calves.

The result of the former is a tenacious midfield operator who can out-muscle and out-fight opponents who may otherwise outsize him. The latter gives him a devastating long-rage strike and the ability to power through an opposition midfield.

Beyond the physical capacity, however, Acquah is no technical dunce, and his finishing skills?notably with both feet?as well a fine passing ability can make him a key creative influence in the heart of the park. This latter quality is surely a legacy of an early-career spent operating as a No. 10.

While Samp will have to look elsewhere?perhaps to Freddie Duncan?for their midfield dynamism next year, Torino will be delighted with their near-?3 million coup.

Acquah is, obviously, a completely different player to Abedi Pele, while he ought to much more central to Torino?s starting XI than his new rival, Kwadwo Asamoah, is over at Juventus.

The midfielder has been more often linked to two other African greats, and Torino will be hoping that he can emulate either one of the duo.

From a Ghanaian perspective, it?s not hard to see why Acquah has been dubbed the ?new Michael Essien?, whose driving contributions into the final third so often made a difference for Chelsea and Ghana.

However, I question whether Acquah?s ball-winning abilities will ever be as great as Essien?s in his pomp.

Perhaps he will prove to be more akin to Yaya Toure, the player who has heralded Acquah as his heir apparent at Manchester City.

Acquah?s combination of technique, agility, acceleration and power are not dissimilar to Yaya. Similarly, while not possessing the same stocky build of Essien, he has a similar upright dribbling style to the Ivorian?who defeated him in the 2015 Afcon final.

Similarly, while Toure is proficient at driving through the heart of the park, he is also adept at knowing when to dwell on the ball and recycle possession during contests. Acquah also boasts this quality, in a way that Essien?at least not before his post-injury decline?never did.

If Acquah can finally settle at Torino, and enjoy several campaigns of stability and consistency, then it is not unthinkable that he may one day find his way to the Etihad Stadium.


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