By Brian Dick
Birmingham City have been linked with a move for Augsburg right back Daniel Opare.
Reports emerged in the Ghanaian press on Monday that the 26-year-old could be set to link up again with Jeff Vetere.
Blues’ newly-installed director of football has worked with Opare in the past.
Here’s what you need to know about him.
Who is he?
Born in the Ghanaian capital Accra in October 1990 the defender quickly rose through the ranks with his national team and inevitably ended up in Europe through Ajax’s contacts.
He played in Ghana and Tunisia before moving to Real Madrid Castilla – effectively Los Blancos’ youth team, in February 2008.
He has since had a mini-tour of Europe playing in five different countries in the last three years.
A bright prospect
He was a very bright prospect, in November 2007 World Soccer Magazine listed him as one of the 50 Most Exciting Teenagers on the Planet.
He also won the Fifa U-20 World Cup with Ghana in 2009. He played with the Under 17s, Under 20s and just three weeks after his 17th birthday received his first senior call-up from Ghana’s coach, Claude Le Roy for a friendly against Togo.
Other international success
He was in the squad for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations – but didn’t play. He did, though, make one apperance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. That was his 16th and most recent cap.
In July 2010 he left Madrid having failed to make the breakthrough, to sign a three-year deal with Standard Liege.
He spent four years in Belgium, and made 88 appearances by which time he was attracting the interest of Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea – and Porto.
He chose the latter and barely played.
Indeed he ended the 2014/2015 season on loan at Besitaks – for whom he played in the Europa League alongside Kerim Frei. Both featured in the penalty shoot-out win over Liverpool in February 2015.
Negotiations to keep him in Turkey broke down and upon his return to Portugal he was demoted to the reserves.
At that point he negotiated his release and moved to German outfit Augsburg where he signed a three year deal in 2015.
Smooth sailing since?
The BBC claim Opare turned up late to the final training session before he was due to make his Bundesliga debut in March 2016 and that he was suspended and forced to train alone.
It all blew over though and Augsburg sporting director Stefan Reuter told the club’s website: “Everybody deserves a second chance. He made a mistake, which he has realised.
“He has apologised to his team-mates and as far as we are concerned, the case has been solved.”
Opare apologised for what he described as a “mistake – because I did not hear my alarm.”
And in July 2016 he was involved in an angry training ground bust-up with Raúl Bobadilla after both reacted to heavy tackles.
As in Portugal he ended the 2016/2017 season out on loan – this time with French outfit RC Lens having played just four league matches for Augsburg.
Where would he fit in at Blues?
Well, right back is hardly a position of priority at present. Emilio Nsue had an excellent end to the season once Harry Redknapp took over.
Indeed he was arguably Blues’ best player in their victories over Huddersfield and Bristol City and demonstrated he is top-end Championship full back.
Behind him Josh Dacres-Cogley will be hoping to build on his breakthrough season. It will be interesting to see how the 21-year-old performs in a more stable team and in a more suitable position. He certainly has the athleticism and desire to continue his progress.
Slightly further back, in the Under 23s, there’s Wes Harding who is desperate for a first team chance.
The strength of the rumour
It seems based purely on the fact Vetere is now at Blues and once signed him for Real Madrid Castilla.
As we said, right back not exactly a priority for Birmingham at the moment.