Thursday, 8 December 2011

Africa awaits Adomah's return

If you believe the hype, then it may not be long until Albert Adomah's journey from trainee painter/decorator to Premier League footballer is finally completed.

Now 23, Bristol City's flying winger has been linked with a move away from Ashton Gate in the January transfer window after some impressive displays in the Championship for Derek McInnes' side. Fulham, West Brom and Everton are just some of the names reportedly in the frame to sign the player who was born in Hammersmith to Ghanaian parents and won his first international cap for The Black Stars earlier this year against Brazil.

As footballing fairytales go, Adomah's story is hard to beat. Aged 15, he joined a youth project being run by his local council and - via youth side Old Meadonians - was eventually picked up by non-league Harrow Borough.

Almost 100 appearances in the hard-knock school of the Ryman Premier Division (7th tier) followed as Adomah supplemented his football by enrolling in a course to study Decorative Finishing and Industrial Painting at the College of North West London - incidentally also where former England international Stuart Pearce studied as an electrician in the days when it was simply known as Willesden College. 

Having caught the eye of then-Barnet manager Paul Fairclough at the end of 2007, Adomah signed a first professional contract in January 2008 and proceeded to score on his League 2 debut against Hereford United. In the two and a half years that followed, he became so popular at Underhill that legendary BBC commentator John Motson - a lifelong Bs fan - became his matchday sponsor

A move to a higher level was almost inevitable and Adomah eventually signed for Bristol City at the end of his contract in May 2010. A stunning debut season saw him voted as the club's Player of the Year and the reward was an improved three-deal to keep potential suitors at bay, plus the realisation of a boyhood dream to play for his parent's homeland.

Swansea City were among the clubs to try and tempt City over the summer but their resolve to keep him will be severely tested over the next six weeks or so. Given the club's well-documented financial problems (they reported losses of an estimated £11 million last year), boss Derek McInnes may demand a fee of around £5 million to prise him away, although a starring role for Ghana at the African Nations Cup in January may push the price up even further.

The international retirement of AC Milan's Kevin Prince-Boateng has certainly increased the likelihod that Adomah may be selected for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. That would create a major dilemma for a player who admitted that he couldn't stop grinning to himself when he made his debut for The Black Stars against the Selecao at Craven Cottage in September.

But with The Robins now beginning to draw clear of the Championship relegation zone, they may have to get used to being without Adomah's services for longer than just a month.

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