Young players will either flourish or flounder in 2017 as their fledgling careers reach critical junctures - Isaac Darko picks out six Ghanaian youngsters to keep tabs on
The new year is just around the corner.
And that means the transfer window is getting ready to reopen.
But sometimes, splashing the cash simply isn't the answer. Sometimes, it's better to look closer to home.
With that being said, Pulse Sports' Isaac Darko picks out six young talents who could make 2017 their big breakthrough year, and have a chance of establishing themselves in the first-team setups of their respective clubs.
Position: Lateral defender/winger
An outrageously talented prospect. Adjapong has featured four (4) times in lateral defence for Sassuolo in the Serie A this season.
Despite his tender age, the youngster has earned raving reviews from football mavens in the country.
Adjapong progressed to the Sassuolo first team squad from their youth ranks and his precocity earned him first team opportunities from last season.
He made his Serie A debut in March 2016 against Juventus, replacing Matteo Politano after 89 minutes in a 1-0 away defeat.
Born to Ghanaian parents in Modena, Italy, Adjapong received a call-up from the Italian national under-19 football team in August, and has since made two appearances for them.
Club: Arsenal F.C.
After signing from Chelsea as a 14-year-old, Nketiah has impressed evryone at the club with his natural finishing ability..
This was palpable last season when his 24 league goals (28 in all competitions) saw him end the season as the top scorer in the Barclays u18 Premier League.
His movement and pace often sees him play on the defender's shoulder abd is often compared to Jermain Defoe because of his ability to shoot accurately from all angles.
He is already having a good time at Arsenal, and if he continues to progress at this rate, he could be in with an outside chance of the first team sooner than later.
Isaac Hemans Arday
Lyon boss Bruno Génésio is keeping a close eye on Isaac Hemans Arday 's development and with good reason.
The 19 year-old defender is considered one of the best talents of his age.
Hemans Arday made big strides in 2016 – signing his first pro contract in June, graduating to Lyon's senior team, and making his Lyon team B debut in November against Auxerre II. His progress should continue in 2017.
He was marked out as one to watch after his displays for Lyon's youth teams last season.
Club: M.K Dons F.C.
Comments from Charlton Athletic manager Karl Robinson sum up Brandon Thomas-Asante's potential.
"I’ve been aware of his talent for a number of years and he has developed a lot as a player and as a person – he’s a good character and is great to have in the dressing room.
“We gave him an opportunity to join the first team in pre-season and he took that chance with both hands. There’s more to come from him but knowing him like I do, he’s eager to keep working hard, pushing on and, ultimately, be the best he can.
“Brandon is an exciting player with a lot of potential and I’m relishing the chance to try and help him continue to develop at MK Dons.”
In September 2016, the 17-year-old put pen to paper on a one-year deal with the option of a further 12 months, which will enable him to continue his development at Stadium MK.
Thomas-Asante, who has been with the club since the age of 12, made his senior debut in the opening-day victory over Shrewsbury Town. He has gone on to make a further four appearances in the first team.
Thomas-Asante was one of 13 academy players and graduates that featured in the thrilling EFL Cup win at Newport County, while he also netted the winning penalty in the recent Checkatrade Trophy tie against Barnet.
Club: Pescara (On loan at Novara)
Next off Black Stars' conveyor belt of central midfielders is set to be Ransford Selasie.
Given the way Selasi, 20 in August, has been fast-tracked through Italian football, a Black Stars debut call up ahead of schedule would be little surprise.
His performance for Pescara last season caught the attention of Favanz Sportz Consult, an Italian-based Ghanaian sports firm, who named Selasi picked as the best Ghanaian player in the Italian Serie B.
The Ghana youth star played 20 matches for Pescara in the quest to secure promotion to the Serie A, however, the Ghanaian has been farmed out on loan to Serie B side, Novara.
Club: Inter Allies
The most experienced on this list, Abdul-Halik Hudu had a very remarkable season with Inter Allies, making 19 appearances where he started 17 and ended the campaign with a goal on his debut season.
2017 could be the year the talented attacking midfielder really starts to make a name for himself.
Jet-heeled, skilful Abdul-Halik Hudu is also a bit of a dying breed of a wide man who likes to get to the byline and get crosses in.
He was voted as the Inter Allies' Fans’ Player of the season and was named the most Promising Player of the 2015/16 Ghana Premier League