The uneasy feeling in certain quarters that Sunderland had been held over a barrel in paying a jaw-dropping fee of more than £13m for Asamoah Gyan is not one shared by the club's record signing. The Ghanaian was belatedly unveiled yesterday following his arrival from Rennes just 20 minutes before the closure of the transfer window last month.
"Sure, I think so," was the striker's confident, if a little immodest answer to whether he thought, in the words of the ubiquitous shampoo advertisement, he was worth it. With his lucky No 3 shaved into his hair, the 24-year-old, whose outgoing, honest and disarming showing on Wearside won him plenty of admirers, added: "As a player I do my job, it's for others to value my price-tag. With the quality I have I think I'm worth that but I know as a forward I'll be expected to stick the ball in the net."
Backed into a corner by their over-reliance on Darren Bent, the decision to sanction the sale of Kenwyne Jones without a ready-made replacement and an untimely long-term injury to Fraizer Campbell, Sunderland were in a weak if non-existent bargaining position. As a result Rennes more than doubled their money in two years on a player who sprang to prominence for his World Cup exploits with Ghana, but who had a modest goals-per-game ratio in France, finding the net once every three-and-a-half matches.
It is his last-gasp penalty miss against Uruguay that prevented the Black Stars becoming the first African semi-finalists that he will be remembered for most this summer, despite some eye-catching performances and three well-taken goals. His likely Sunderland debut will come in Wigan's DW Stadium tomorrow, where he will form a £24m forward line with Bent.
"I think I did a great job in the World Cup, and the penalty is in the past now, it's just part of football," Gyan added. "The Premier League is the best in the world, and I can't wait to get started. I'm just here to do my best and make sure the team does well. I think I have the qualities to make an impact here."
Striker's hidden talent
Dripping in bling, Asamoah Gyan recently performed a cameo in Castro de Destroyer's (dubbed Ghana's answer to 50 Cent) single "African Girls".
Complete with full dance routine, he raps about his love of African women: "No retreat, no surrender, Linda, Barbara, Monica, Jessica, Pamela, Sarah, Gifty, na Diana Baby you dey make my mind dey scatter"... and joins in the chorus: "I swear my African girls dey be, dance to the groove and feel the heat"
Watch it in full: tinyurl.com/37dkub2Reuse content