Richmond Boakye 19 Striker Juventus (on loan at Sassuolo)
When we included Richmond Boakye in this list last year, we received a great number of tweets and emails asking why we had selected a player that, at that stage, was only a semi regular performer in Serie B. We expect to receive a similar number of queries this time around as Boakye is still plying his trade in Serie B. But that’s only half the story.
After receiving glowing reports from contacts that knew of a very youthful Boakye in Italy and his native Ghana, we made a point of catching up with a young striker during a number of cameo appearances for Genoa. While the edges were rough, we liked what we saw. And that faith has been entirely justified with at radical upturn in fortunes for the player over the last twelve months.
While the brief appearances for Genoa highlighted a talent, it was abundantly clear that Boakye was not yet ready for a full season in Serie A. As a club, Genoa maintain a degree of pride in a system that identifies and develops talented young players from a global catchment, but need to be realistic about who can play each week. While not quite operating at the same level as Udinese, the idea of nurturing a youthful talent into becoming an admired, and therefore valuable, commodity is central to the club’s being. Not able to offer immediate first team outings, the next best thing for Genoa was to farm their player out on loan and a spell with Sassuolo in Serie B looked a perfect fit.
Boakye was duly loaned to second tier outfit for a year and it was here that he really shone during the 2011-12 season. Boakye’s performances were good, and he finished an impressive campaign with 12 goals from 34 matches, second only to Gianluca Sansome in the scoring charts for the Modena club.
Boakye’s form did not go unnoticed and it wasn’t just international recognition that came his way during the summer. Enamoured with the Accra born strikers ability, Juventus paid €4m to secure his services and immediately reinstated a loan move back to Sassuolo for the current season. Juve are a much more coherent organisation these days and there is a clear intention that the young striker will pull on the famous black and white striped jersey when ready.
The return to Sassuolo was an excellent move on Juve’s part. The player has clearly developed well, and, had it not been for Sampdoria’s intervention (Samp defeated Sassuolo in the Serie B play offs), Boakye and his current club may already be playing in Serie A. At time of writing Sassuolo have been the outstanding team in Serie B, but several fellow hopefuls, such as Livorno and Hellas Verona remain close.
As 2012 draws to a close, Richmond Boakye is playing well next to fellow Ghanaian hopeful Raman Chibsah and scoring regularly alongside Leonardo Pavoletti and Andrea Cattelani. With the opportunity to maintain his progress in familiar surroundings, there is no need for Juve to rush their new acquisition just yet.
"Already a full international for Ghana, the 19 year old won four trophies as part of a great generation of talent in Genoa’s youth ranks, forming a superb partnership with Stephan el Shaarawy that defences at that level simply could not live with." - Adam Digby (ESPN, Sports Illustrated)
C Has the potential to become an explosive forward at the very highest level. Be excited Juventini