Two Ghanaians players moved from Spain to the Premier League in the 2020 summer: Thomas Partey y Mohammed Salisu. The first one, more known and through a controversial exit, joined the Arsenal. On the other hand, Salisu signed for Southampton FC; however, he has not made his debut with ‘The Saints’ six months later. What has happened to this promising left foot central defender?
His progress at Real Valladolid:
Mohammed Salisu was born on April 17th, 1999 in the Ghana´s capital city, Accra. He was formed at the Africa Talent Football Academy in his home country and his outstanding conditions attracted Real Valladolid´s attention, as they signed him for their second team in 2017. He was 18 years old and his two seasons at the third division in Spain were not easy. However, coach Sergio González gave him the opportunity to make his debut with the first team in the Copa del Rey.
The poor performance by Valladolid´s defensive line and the confidence by the Catalan´s coach turned into Salisu´s addition to the first team last season. The youth Ghanaian became a starter since the first moment along with Kiko Olivas. He played up to 31 games and scored a goal. This has been Valladolid´s best year defensively in the last five seasons: 43 goals conceded (they are registering 32 in 21 games in the current season), which proves that his performance made n impact.
He has promising abilities being 21 years old: imposing physical, excellent heading and more than decent ball treatment. This is how Mohamed Salisu became one of the most promising defenders from LaLiga. They were very happy in Valladolid due to his value growth, but there was also a big concern about his contract: his release clause, as it was only worth 12 million euros, way down the level shown on the field.
The uncertainty with his physical shape:
He had several offers from European elite clubs throughout the entire season, even Manchester United were interested in him. He actually ended up signing for a south English club, the Southampton. They paid his release clause and Salisu became Valladolid´s most expensive sale in their history. They have always have good eyes at St Mary´s Stadium for signs, it could be compared to Sevilla FC in Spain.
“He has an incredible potential and wants to learn fast. He is exactly the type of player we need”
Ralph Hasenhüttl, Southampton´s coach
However, nothing far from reality, Salisu has not made his debut yet. Half a year later, “the summer market´s bargain” generates uncertainty. What has been the reason for it? His poor shape. The Ghanaian defender joined Hasenhüttl´s team while he was recovering from some muscle issues. His adaptation and the difficulty to get back on track kept him away from the pitch between September and December. He was called up for the first time on December 7th, but he is currently the four option for his position.
And just when it seemed that he was going to have more minutes, Salisu suffered a muscle injury with no returning date at the end of the year. He would not be the first one and last footballer to hold back his progression due to an injury. He has gone from a promising player in LaLiga to a forgotten player in the Premier League, at least for now. However, we must be patience; the Ghanaian is capable of succeeding with Southampton and joined a bigger club if the injuries allow him to play.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.