Name: Richmond Boakye
Club: Elche (on loan from Juventus)
Almost missed off the SFG shortlist altogether had it not been a suggestion from Football Radar’s William Abbs (@FRFutbolWilliam), Richmond Boakye is yet another youngster from the West African nation of Ghana’s productive factory of wonderkids, and yet now we wonder how we ever almost missed him. Arguably the obvious successor when Asamoah Gyan’s monopoly of the striker role in the Black Stars squad comes to an end, Richmond Boakye offers the sort of out-and-out striker ability that his rivals for the position lack, and would be a shoe-in assuming his development continues as planned.
After being picked up by Genoa following an impressive tournament in Italy for his domestic side DC United, Boakye’s talent can almost be justified simply by the time he has spent outside of his parent club set-up, recognised by the lower leagues as talented enough to help out – and he is certainly justifying this current tag.
Employed by Sassuolo for two seasons running in Serie B, Boakye averaged about a goal every three games during both of his seasons, with the second of these seasons seeing them crowned champions and promoted to Serie A. Clearly seen as a reliable goalscorer who can hack it outside the youth team games, Spanish side Elche have taken him on this season, as part of their conquest to cement themselves as a mainstay of La Liga. Scoring with his first ever shot for the club against Almeria, the fitness problems of Manu Del Moral and Coro have seen Boakye get a more regular run in the side, justifying his selection by continuing his scoring ratio of a goal approximately every 3 games (at the time of writing). A late- equalizer against Real Madrid this season will certainly go down as a personal highlight for him I’m sure, as he got on the end of a cross to head the ball into the back of the net and almost earn a vital draw for Elche (before Ronaldo scored a winner in the 96th minute).
Said by William Abbs to have an impressive heading ability, this skill is equalled to by the other end of his body, with the gangly nature of his legs making him deceptively skillful and pacey. An absolute demon with the instep of his right foot, he has scored a number of wonderfully finessed goals from both inside and outside the area that makes it seem like he’s constantly holding the R1 button on FIFA, with simply the number of goals he has consistently got each season so far impressive in itself. On the scoresheet a couple of times for the Ghana national team as well, following an impressive campaign with the U20 team (in which they finished 3rd in the 2013 World Cup), Juventus’ new co-ownership of him with Genoa could see him profit from their striker issues if his goalscoring continues into the future.
By Sam Crocker (@sam_crock)