Asante Kotoko Transfer News: Can Kotoko afford Caf Champions League top scorer Tiago Azulao from Petro de Luanda
Asante Kotoko are preparing for Africa next season after now knowing their fate that they will lift the Ghana Premier League title first time since 2013-2014.
The Ghana Premier League side lead the table with 52 points 8 more above second place Bechem United who failed against Eleven Wonders to capitalized on Kotoko’s slip at Real Tamale United last Sunday.
The Ghanaian side are monitoring a couple of reinforcements ahead of the 2022-2023 Caf Champions League campaign. They are aware that they need to strengthen some key areas of their setup- goalkeeping, right-back, central defense, wingers and forwards.
In light of that, the likes of Ghana Premier League stars Boris Junior Mandjui, Yaw Annor and Konadu Yiadom have been linked with the Kumasi based side. Not them alone as ASFA Yennenga shot stopper Rabin Ousmane Sanon, Coton Sport de Garoua defender Ngomo Takougoum, Eding Sport attackers Herve Bonny Elame and Kevin Alphose Assiga are reportedly on the shopping list.
Despite their attempt for incomings, the Ghana Premier League side could see departure of key men which they need to find their perfect replacements to be able to mitigate loss impacts on African campaign.
Black Stars goalkeeper and first choice Ibrahim Danlad, Mudasiru Salifu, Sheriff Mohammed, Augustine Agyapong and Franck Thierry Mbella Etouga are reportedly on their way out at the end of the season- but Kotoko have not issued any official confirmation on the future of these stars.
Having been linked with European clubs, there is a big possibility that these players could still remain at Kotoko but the situation of Franck Mbella Etouga is quite different who will definitely leave the Ghanaian giants at the end of the season.
The Cameroonian International has attracted several interests from European clubs after causing many ‘sit upright’ moments in the Ghana Premier League just a year into his 3-year deal at Kotoko.
Mbella, 20, has struck 17 times as the Ghanaian top flight goal-king including two hat-tricks and three doubles making him the only player to have that feat in Ghana football this season.
Given his impact so far with a further potential of breaking a Ghana Premier League all-time top scorer in a single season, it will be a devastating story if no club comes chasing for the Cameroonian’s signature. At the receiving end, Galatasaray, St. Etienne, Metz, Stade Rennais and Al Ahly have shown interest in the forward but French Ligue 1 side St. Etienne, who are currently the side on the negotiation table with Kotoko, look favourites for Mbella .
With the Cameroonian forward likely to depart the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kotoko may need not just any forward but a competent one to lead the lines next season.
Two strikers, Herve Bonny Elame and Kevin Alphose Assiga, from Cameroonian Elite Owo league leaders Eding Sport have been linked with a move to Asante Kotoko if Mbella leaves but Petro Luanda’s Tiago Azulao appears the perfect man to replace the Cameroon ace.
Azulao, 34, has emerged a legend at Petro Luanda netting 82 goals in 126 league goals between 2016 and 2022. He was resigned in October 31 of 2020 from Cyprus.
The Brazilian International has made 11 appears in this season’s Caf Champions League while grabbing 6 goals to become the top scorer of the competition.
The 34-year old has helped Petro Luanda in fight for the Angolan Garibola title this season, leading the table with 58 points 2 more above second place and defending champions Sagrada Esparanca.
The Brazilian International has been tipped for a new challenge at the end of the season, and Ghana Premier League side Asante Kotoko could weigh options to sign him as the perfect Mbella replacement.
Kotoko may face competition to land Azulao if any move is launched after North African clubs are also keeping checks on the Brazilian. It’s understood that Azulao may have already sparked a transfer war among top sides in North Africa.
His power, skills and ability to flourish in a lone striker system have been admired in the North.
Azulao is valued €50,000, and this amount will not be a major obstacle for Kotoko to land the Petro Luanda deadly attacker. With this figure, Kotoko have the financial strength to buy him despite his age (34years) and at the same time purchase another young forward to learn on the Brazilian during next season’s African football.