One cannot help but admire the ‘opulence’ of Stade Rennais Coach Guy Lacombe. The Boss of Les Rouges et Noirs has finally fulfilled his passion of owning a ‘ super-fast private jet’ for the net four yeas. When I first heard the news, I thought club chairman Frédéric de Saint-Sernin had invested in an SR71-1 to aid in their traveling. But no, Lacombe had opted rather for ‘The Baby Jet’. Among Ghanaians that the new ‘Baby Jet’ of Les Rouges et Noirs is thought of as being faster than the 3.3 mach (more than 2,200 miles per hour) speed of the SR71-1.
Stade Rennais are acquiring Ghana’s’ Baby Jet’ Asamoah Gyan (Jersey No. 25) for four years. I was glad when I heard the news. Gyan’s moment of glory is surely not far from now. I told myself. This move should come as good news for the young Ghanaian forward. France can be a good place for a young talents like Gyan to draw attention to himself for a possible move to a much bigger stage in future. Stade Rennais is not a bad team to play in, placing sixth in the French Ligue 1 is commendable.
But it doesn’t appear to me that Lacombe signed Gyan because of an impressive set of performances for either Udinese or for Ghana in recent seasons. Injury worries killed most part of Gyan’s season. In a season he was tipped to shine, Gyan played only 13 games last year mostly in the an awkward right wing position. He managed 34 shots at goal all the same and got just 12 on target resulting in 3 goals.
Gyan therefore has loads of work to do. Getting on the purchasing list of Lacombe is more than a good start. No one should however expect Gyan to jettison his way to the Rennais first team without a fight. There would be work to do at Les Rouges et Noirs . He will have to convince Lacombe that he is not just worth tons of potential but much better than aging lead-striker Mikael Pagis who scored a meager 12 goals out of a whopping 31 appearances and his young deputies Jimmy Briand, Julian Estaban and Jires Ekoko.
Gyan’s chances of consistent first team play becomes even brighter if one considers Stade Rennais’ other striking options in age-worn 34-year old Sylvian Witord and 30-year old Daniel Moreira. Clearly, if Gyan turns on the style, Stade Rennais will be smiling all the way to the top of Ligue 1 with their new signing.
Guy Lacombe’s team’s attacking record last t season was not impressive. Of the 46 times they conceded, they managed to respond only 47 times. Their lead striker scored 12 times. Now that is not impressive. What is even more interesting is the fact that they scored only after 30 minute of play and close to 40% of their goals are scored 20 minutes to full time. They scored four goals per month and averaged about 2 goals per game. The dearth of goals at the Route de Lorient must have informed Gyan’s purchase.
But is Gyan what Les Rouges et Noirs need to better their attacking lot. Can he improve the proportion of shots on target and the number of goals scored? I say a big YES! Gyan posses the speed, the technique and the skills to make Ligue 1 defenders ‘suffer’ to use the words of former Ghana Coach Ratomir Dujkovic.
Gyan is Gracious on the ball, dribbles well , passes well and he is a thorn in defenders flesh and tormentor of the 18-yard box when he is in full swing. In spite of his numerous abilities and heavy potential, Asamoah Gyan has been guilty of wasting too many chances when in Ghana Jersey. He is also guilty of going down easily and pulling diving tricks, but Gyan has not descended the learning curve and that’s what Stade Rennais can bank on.
If you are a believer in superstition, then you can join me down that lane to predict Gyan’s jersey number ( 25) to be his lucky number and a possible signal of how many goals to expect from the flamboyant ‘Baby Jet’ this Ligue 1 season.
If you are in doubt then let us refresh our memories. When he was at Liberty Professionals (in Ghana), at that time, fresh from Accra Academy, Gyan, whose packs plenty of talent in goal celebration (dancing, shinning his boot, carrying his boot to name a few others) banged in 10 goals in 16 games. While on loan at Modena, in 2003, ‘Martin Darling’ as he is known by close associates for his feminine outlook was on target 15 times. He scored 8 times in the Serie A in 2006/2007 and 3 times in 2007/2008. For Ghana, Gyan scores once in every other game with 13 goals in 27 matches.
History is on Gyans side. Several quality players have evolve from the Ligue 1. Mention can be made of our very own ‘Matador’; the best defensive Midfielder in the world Michael Essien, Didier Drogba and a host of many others. Gyan’s future is bright. Should he play to his potential, he may find himself rocking the entire France before one can say B-a-b-y J-e-t!!!!!