Wellington Phoenix to sign Ghana’s Jeffrey Sarpong

The Wellington Phoenix are set to announce the signing of Ghanaian Jeffrey Sarpong for the upcoming A-League season in New Zealand.

Radio Sport understands the 27 year-old attacking midfielder is arriving in the capital August 24, 2015.

Jeffrey Sarpong is a former Dutch under-17 and under-21 international who came through the ranks of the famed Ajax academy. In June 2009, he changed nationalities from the Netherlands to Ghana, the home nation of his father. He has yet to represent Ghana at international level.

Sarpong played alongside the Phoenix’s Dutch midfielder Roly Bonevacia at Ajax and Bonevacia is believed to have been instrumental in bringing him to Wellington.

Sarpong will link up with the Phoenix after buying out the final year of his contract with Dutch side NAC Breda and becoming a free agent. Sarpong joins Bonevacia, Spaniards Albert Riera and Alex Rodriguez and Fijian Roy Krishna as the five allowed overseas players on the Phoenix roster for the 2015/16 A-League campaign.

Pace and impressive close control are the hallmarks of Sarpong’s game. At 1.76m tall, he is more a winger than a traditional centre-forward, but Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick will hope to convert him into a more prolific goalscorer as he did with Nathan Burns last season.

Sarpong joined Ajax when he was just seven years old, and after representing the Netherlands in the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru (where the team finished third) he signed his first professional contract. At the time, English Premier League side Chelsea were also very interested in securing his services after watching his performances at the World Cup.

Sarpong debuted for Ajax in 2006, but had limited opportunities over the next three seasons, making just 23 appearances for the first team. However, under new coach, Dutch legend Marco van Basten, he did enjoy a good run in the side at the start of the 2008/09 season before being loaned out to N.E.C. for who he made 16 appearances in all competitions in 2009/10.

In August 2010, Sarpong signed a three-year deal at Spanish La Liga side Real Sociedad. Despite a promising start at the club, Sarpong made just 23 appearances over two seasons.

He joined Dutch side NAC Breda on loan midway through the 2011/12 season, playing 11 league games before returning to Spain. With opportunities limited at Real, he joined Spanish lower league side Hercules, playing 13 matches. Upon his return to Real Sociedad, he terminated the final year of his contract by mutual consent.

After trialling with English sides Stoke City and Sheffield Wednesday, Sarpong re-joined NAC Breda on a three-year deal in April 2013. At the end of the second year of that contract, he was released after buying out the final year of the deal.

Sarpong had recently been trialling with English Championship team Blackburn Rovers, appearing in a pre-season friendly against Tranmere Rovers and scoring in a 2-0 win.

A Wellington Phoenix spokesman said the club would be making no comment on any potential signings.

Source: Jason Pine

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